Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 5436
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  • Title: Some Parallels in the Education of Medieval Jewish Women and Christian Women [An abstract precedes this essay in the journal.]
  • Source: Jewish History 5, 1 (Spring 1991): Pages 41 - 51.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Acculturation Ashkenazim Bourgeoisie Cities and Towns Cross Cultural Approach Domesticity Girls Handbooks Households Housework Jews Learning and Scholarship Literacy Private Sphere and Public Sphere Religious Education Social History Social Roles Women in
  • Geographic Area: General
  • Century: General
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  • Abstract: Limited information about the education of Ashkenazic Jewish women during the Middle Ages may be enhanced by comparisons based on our broader knowledge about the education of urban bourgeois Christian women. Preparation of a girl for adulthood was strikingly similar among both groups, and parallels include attitudes about what a woman should be taught, the desirability of limited religious training, and the acquisition of skills necessary to run a household and participate in family economic activities. Didactic writings directed at women from both traditions are remarkably similar. Learned women existed but were so rare among Jews and Christians as to be regarded as anomalous and the stuff of legend. Such Jewish women, generally daughters of the learned elite, led women's prayer groups, taught other women, and assisted their husbands. Learned Christian women were more likely to be single, and wither in the convent or closely connected with the nobility.
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  • Year of Publication: 1991.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0334701X (print); 15728579 (electronic)
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