Four differing paradigms of male attitudes to women
in Jewish women in europe in the middle ages
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This chapter examines the different approaches to femininity displayed by the men. It presents four paradigms that are the outcome of research blending questions raised within the spheres of gender research and feminist theory with the research methodology of social history. They are the family paradigm, negative male paradigm, Hasidic paradigm, and community paradigm. Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac's entire oeuvre points to the central role of the family and particularly the key position and importance of the woman as the pillar of the Jewish family. In the sections of Sefer Hasidim that describe how a man progresses along the Hasidic path, coping with the female presence, and the constant danger on account of the strong sexual desire is always aroused. In many of the sources the attitude towards women stems from the male sages' conviction that the interests of the community must be given the highest priority.


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