In a recent Friends of ASOR podcast, I called Jennie Ebeling, co-director of the Jezreel Expedition in Israel, to talk about her recent Near Eastern Archaeology 79.3 article, “Engendering the Israelite Harvests.”
Ebeling’s article talks about the common belief that women were the preparers of food and drink in the Iron Age (ca. 1200–586 B.C.E.) Israelite household while men were primarily responsible for agricultural field activities. However, various lines of evidence suggest that this indoor female/outdoor male dichotomy as related to food production was not always the reality, especially during the crucial harvest seasons. The Hebrew Bible and other textual sources, iconography, and Middle Eastern ethnography suggest that women not only took part in the cereal grain, grape, and olive harvests, they were also valued for their participation in these seasonal field activities and the festivals that celebrated them. In this article, Ebeling examines the evidence for male and female participation in ancient Israelite harvests and challenges popular assumptions about how men and women contributed to the production of food and drink in ancient Israel.
|Jennie Ebeling is Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Evansville in Indiana and co-director of the Jezreel Expedition in Israel. She earned her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona and has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Lady Davis Trust, and the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research to support research in Israel and Jordan. Her research interests include ancient food and drink technology, women in Canaan and ancient Israel, and religion and cult in the Bronze and Iron Age Levant. Her publications include New Approaches to Old Stones: Recent Studies of Ground Stone Artifacts edited with Y. M. Rowan (Equinox, 2008), Household Archaeology in Ancient Israel and Beyond edited with A. Yasur-Landau and L. B. Mazow (Brill, 2011), and Women’s Lives in Biblical Times (T&T Clark, Int’l, 2010).|
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