In the Cairo Genizah we find thousands of documents related to marriage and family life. These serve as unique and rich material for the research of the family life of the Jews of Egypt in the medieval period. It was common among the Genizah people to agree on certain conditions to apply during marriage life. These conditions were inserted and written in the pre-nuptial agreements. Most conditions are in favour of the women and served mainly to protect them from their husbands’ misbehaviour. In this article I will compare various Jewish marriage documents, found in the Cairo Genizah, with parallel Arabic (Muslim and Coptic) sources. I will concentrate on those agreements that contain stipulations that were explicitly written in order to protect the wife from their husband’s bad behaviour. Both Muslim and Jewish societies had to deal with the same problems concerning the status of women, and we will be able to find out what measures were taken by each society, and their approach toward married life and women’s status.
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© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Religious studies