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Critical Review of Mothers and Children in Medieval Jewish History - Essay Example

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In fact, it seemed as though there were no problems in these early years and the book states that Christians and Jewish people were able to get along and live side by side (p. 9). The author states that…
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Critical Review of Mothers and Children in Medieval Jewish History
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Critical Review of Mothers and Children in Medieval Jewish History

Download file to see previous pages... One interesting aspect of the book was the fact that she gathered information from a very wide variety of sources and all of the texts were "written by and for men" (19).
Baumgarten used the following sources for her research: "Halakhic response (questions asked of rabbis), exempla, information recorded in ritual books, comprehensive books of commandments, biblical and Talmic commentary, liturgical poetry, medical tractates, polemical compositions, lists of the dead and gravestones. He also used canon law, municipal records, medical texts, commentaries on the Bible (both the old and new testaments), legenda that gives information about the Jewish community and contacts between the Jews and Christians (p. 17). Her work also was heavily influenced by a book called the "Sefer Hasidim", which provided the information about parent and child relationships and attitudes towards children and family life" (19).
The book is divided into five chapters and they are categorized by the issues that women dealt with: Birth, Circumcision and Baptism, Additional Birth Rituals, Maternal nursing and wet nursing: Feeding and caring of infants and Parents and Children: Conflicting values ("Contents"). These categories provided a way for the reader to compartmentalize the information so that it would not be so overwhelming.
In the first chapter on birth, I found it appalling that women were left out of birth. They were supposed to have children (particularly male children) but the fathers were more important in the process as seen by several quotes from the firt quote opened chapter one and spoke about how it is a mans responsibility to pray for the child at every part of its birth. They leave out the womans part in the process (21).
The second quote is attached to the "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and conquer it" (Gen. 1:28) (28). This suggests, according to the author, that men are in the position ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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