Women's talk - Men's talk Babylonian Talmud Erubin 53a-54a

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When we look closely at the content, style and level of the conversations between women and men in Talmudic sources, we gain interesting insight into women's life and status in the time of when the Talmud was compiled. In examining the sources, we must distinguish between those that represent reality and those that have undergone literary reworking. From the latter, we learn not only about women's lives, but also about prevailing concepts as to the differences between men and women. The Babylonian Talmud, Erubin 53a-54a, which is made up of various collections, contains a large collection of stories about conversations between inhabitants of Eretz Israel, men and women. An interesting finding about this collection is its perfect structure: there is an absolute numerical symmetry between stories about conversations among men (7), and those between women and men (7). The fourteen stories are perfectly organized into three symmetrical subject based collections (4; 5; 5). It appears that hierarchic considerations determined the order of the stories within each collection, and also the order of the collections themselves. The stories and the collections are linked to each other by their content and language. The highly perfect and symmetrical structure of the group of fourteen stories bear witness to highly intelligent and possibly tendentious editing. This latter possibility lead to seek out editorial tendencies and to reveal one of them, which would be the perception of intellectual and communicative abilities as gender determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-445
Number of pages25
JournalRevue des Etudes Juives
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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