Posted by: Heather | May 3, 2009

God, the First Feminist – Introduction

I’m going to write a book with that title one day; however, I’d have to be careful to define feminism as both willing and doing what is in the best interest of women (not simply allowing anything a woman thinks is in her best interest–generally, rebellion and licentiousness).

First, can we all agree that are such things as signs and interpretations of those signs and that the two are distinct? For example, the words man and woman are signs. Something pops into a person’s head when he reads those words, but it would be a false assumption to say that whatever pops into his head pops into everyone else’s head.

Is it true that because m-a-n appears in each that males are somehow more important than females? If you answered that question, you’re no longer making simple observations about the word; instead, you’re constructing an interpretation of the word based on what you already believe is true about males and females or what you already believe is true about the feelings of the people who first used words like man and woman.

However, it is no more intrinsically true to say males are more important because m-a-n appears in both words than it is to say that females are more important because they are given more letters, for w-o-m-a-n is ever so much longer and grander than m-a-n alone. Both are just interpretations.

Sadly, we cannot probably even agree that there is a difference between a word and its interpretation, but I think returning to that distinction is the first step in repairing the damage done by those who first assume that the Torah of God is a sexist legal system and then go back looking for ways to torture the text into providing evidence against itself. When unbelievers slander God, I can understand. When “believers” do, I get upset. Brethern, these things ought not be!

Here is my wish list of chapters in the book I never wrote, God, the First Feminist:

Chapter 1 The Sabbath
Chapter 2 The Matriarchs
Chapter 3 God’s Property
Chapter 4 Niddah (the Seven Days of Separation)
Chapter 5 Marriage
Chapter 6 Premarital Relations

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