Carol Meyers

Carol Meyers, the Mary Grace Wilson Professor Emerita in Religious Studies at Duke University, specializes in biblical studies, archaeology, and women in the biblical world. She has published more than 450 articles, reports, reference-book entries, and reviews; and she has authored, co-authored, or edited 22 books including Rediscovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context, a landmark study of women in ancient Israelite society. She has served on many editorial and academic boards, was associate editor of The Torah: A Woman’s Commentary, and was recently President of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Articles by this author

Rebekah: Bible

Rebekah is the second matriarch in Genesis and shares two problems with Sarah, the first matriarch: barrenness, and being passed off as her husband’s sister. But her story is more extensive; she is a dynamic character in a long narrative describing how she becomes Isaac’s wife. Her agency continues when she bears twins and secures the birthright for her favored son.

Jochebed: Bible

Jochebed, wife of Amram and mother of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, is mentioned by name only in Exod 6:20 and Num 26:59, both genealogical listings. Jochebed, whose name (Hebrew yokheved) apparently means “YHWH is glory,” is notable as the first person in the Bible to have a name with the divine element yah, a shortened form of YHWH.

Eve: Bible

The first woman, according to the biblical creation story in Genesis 2–3, Eve is perhaps the best-known female figure in the Hebrew Bible, although she never appears after the opening chapters of Genesis. Most of the negative traits associated with her, including sin, seduction, and subservience, are part of Jewish and Christian post-biblical interpretations and are not present in the Bible itself. A close look at the Eve narrative in its ancient Israelite context shows Eve to be a partner with Adam as they begin their agrarian life outside of Eden.

Zillah: Bible

Zillah is one of the first women mentioned in the Bible. The unusual appearance of Zillah and two associated females in the male genealogies of Genesis 1–10 may be linked to the special role of her children.

Women with Hand-Drums, Dancing: Bible

Several biblical passages mention women (e.g., Miriam) celebrating victory with drums, dances, and song. Examining those passages in light of archaeological materials and comparative Near Eastern texts indicates that women, rather than men, were percussionists in ancient Israel and likely participated in religious and secular musical activities.

Wife of Lot: Bible

Lot, his wife, and his daughters are urged to escape the violence in Sodom that ensues when the local people want to rape two visitors to Lot’s house. Lot and his family are told not to look back when they flee, but Lot’s wife does look back and is turned into a pillar of salt. This gripping narrative contains elements of folklore and provides an explanation for the salt formations along the Dead Sea.

Naamah: Bible

Naamah is one of only three women included in the genealogies of the early chapters of Genesis. No vocational role is ascribed to Naamah; however, her name may signify that she is the archetypal founder of vocal music.

Mother of Micah: Bible

The story of Micah’s mother in Judges 17 is short, but it offers a key insight into ancient Israelite women’s important role as a leader in household worship.

Midwife: Bible

Midwifery is one of the oldest professions, and several biblical narratives refer to midwives. In addition, in one psalm God is metaphorically depicted as a midwife, delivering a person from danger. Israelite obstetrical practices were probably similar to ones known from other ancient Near Eastern texts.

Adah 1: Bible

The Hebrew Bible character Adah appears in Genesis and is one of the two wives of Lamech. Her sons are in the seventh generation of naturally born human beings, and they are the founders of the civilized arts.

Rahab: Bible

A Canaanite woman living in Jericho, Rahab is a prostitute who is also a biblical heroine. Rahab, who begins as triply marginalized (Canaanite, woman, and prostitute), moves to the center as bearer of a divine message and herald of Israel in its new land. She is remembered in Jewish tradition as the great proselyte, as ancestress of kings and prophets, and, in the New Testament, as ancestress of Jesus.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Carol Meyers." (Viewed on April 13, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/author/meyers-carol>.