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Denison Journal of Religion

Abstract

DePreter argues against the common argument that women have little or no power in the biblical narrative. DePreter acknowledges that the stories of the Hebrew Bible occur during a time of patriarchy, but she does not agree that women are stripped of their power because of this. Women of the Bible are often criticized for seeming to represent a stereotype of cruelty and manipulation. DePreter argues that this should not be attributed to women's nature but rather to a marginalized group doing what they have to do to fulfill the covenant. This is seen most apparently in the stories of Sarah and Rebecca. Sarah schemes to get rid of Hagar and her son, and Rebecca helps one son to masquerade as another in order to be chosen by his father. On first impression these acts could seem to come from selfishness or favoritism, but it is important to note that God does not punish either of these women for their actions. It seems prudent to conclude that the result is what God desired, and the women had to use manipulation only because the culture of their time did not allow for them to solve the problem more directly. The women of the Bible are not cruel nor are they devoid of power, rather their status as part of the marginalized forces them to use manipulation to do their part in fulfilling the covenant.

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