Written by Women.???

Bruce Gardner b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk
Wed Feb 21 09:51:59 EST 2001

Dear Folks,
                It may not be relevant, but I see that the second century 
CE comentator, Soranus, required of midwives that they be literate, as follows:

"To Soranus, the demands of the profession require a highly competent 
woman; he implies that some midwives are simply unfit for their work. 'A 
suitable person," Soranus writes, "will be literate, with her wits about 
her, possessed of a good memory, loving work, respectable and generally not 
unduly handicapped as regards her senses [i.e., sight, smell, hearing], 
sound of limb,
robust, and, according to some people, endowed with long slim fingers and 
short nails at her fingertips.'...Soranus argues that the best midwives 
should be literate so that they can be knowledgeable about obstetrics and 
pediatric theory".

From: "Rescuing Creusa: New Methodological Approaches to Women
in Antiquity," (Helios, New Series 13(2), 1986, pp. 69-84)

There is also a fourth century BCE representation of a seated woman holding 
a tablet next to a scribe, however to be interpreted.

(Farmer, Scribe, Seated Woman with Writing Tablet. Red-figure south-Italian 
krater perhaps by Asteas. Not listed in ARV(2); see Bieber, History, (1939) 
p. 284 fig. 383 or Pfuhl, Zeichnung und Malerei, II, p.718 and III, p. 361 
fig. 804. First half of the fourth c. bce).

I also recommend the website Diotima and the listserv Anahita. BTW, did 
Sappho not write?


At 14:30 21/02/01, you wrote:
> >
> > Raymond,
> > Where did I mention the song?  Please read what I actually wrote.
> >
> > > We also have a female leader in Judges, to name just one more.
>Well Dave. I am not supprised by your reaction, you must have some twenty
>phrases of this kind as a standard format in your e-mail program. You even
>use them to deny the implication of your words in case this is obvious to
>But, I did misunderstand you? Please clarify which female leader you are
>referring to, and what the implication is of this reference to a female
>leader in a discussion on women writing if it is not Deborah and if it is
>not the song? I just know of one female leader in Judges and I do not know
>of the word "write" (ktb / spr) in connection to her.
>You are currently subscribed to b-hebrew as: [b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk]
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Bruce Gardner
b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk
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