4 Pages

Status Role

T he books of Ruth and Esther are the only book-length narratives in theHebrew Bible revolving around female characters. No other female char-acters in the Hebrew canon dominate the narrative scene for more than one chapter, not even the extraordinary character of Deborah, in the book of] udges. It is for this reason that I would like to explore in the next pages the characters of these heroines and the underlying literary and ideological patterns of both books, the only ones to be entitled with women's names, with a view to detecting what light they may throw on the status and role of females in the Semitic, or more precisely Hebraic, culture of the period in which they and the authors of these books lived.