A Study of Documentary Sources Relating to Women's Right to Divorce in Ancient Judea

Brittany Crockett


This paper examines the concept and treatment of divorce in ancient Judea as a historical reality rather than a theological issue, focusing particularly on the idea of the wife as the active party in the divorce. Did women in Judea have the right to initiate divorce? It seems the answer might have been yes. The implications of several key documentary sources, including various marriage and legal contracts relating to divorce are discussed. The paper concludes with a brief look at several scriptural precedents for divorce. Both the historical merit and historiographical problems with these ancient sources are addressed.

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