Lillian Klein (Abensohn)

Lillian Klein (Abensohn) received her Ph.D. in English literature from University of California, Irvine Campus, and her M.S.B.A. from Boston University. She taught literature, specializing in Bible, at the University of Maryland, Munich Campus, for twenty years before returning to the United States to teach at American University. She is the author of The Triumph of Irony in the Book of Judges and From Deborah to Esther: Sexual Politics in the Hebrew Bible as well as many articles published in A Feminist Companion to the Bible. Since her retirement from academic teaching in 1997, she has also achieved recognition as an artist in oil on canvas.

Articles by this author

Peninnah: Bible

Peninnah represents a woman who accepts social paradigms without examining them, thus acting out the type of jealousy between co-wives known from the matriarchal texts of Genesis. Unlike the fecund second wives in Genesis, Peninnah has no voice in the text and is mentioned only in three capacities: as second wife to Elkanah, as mother of an unspecified number of daughters and sons, and as tormentor of Hannah.

Hannah: Bible

The narrative in 1 Samuel 1–2, in which Hannah is protagonist, is set in the late premonarchic period (eleventh century b.c.e.). It opens obliquely with the introduction of her husband, Elkanah, who is identified by name, location, and extensive genealogy. Elkanah’s two wives conclude the exposition, and they are presented without genealogy. The significance of the women lies in their relationship to Elkanah and in their childbearing capacity: “The name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children” (1:2).

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Lillian Klein (Abensohn)." (Viewed on August 21, 2019) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/author/klein-lillian>.

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