Interpreting/Minimising OT Verses

I have another last-minute, religion-based essay to do for some dumb/lazy American college kid.This one's moderately interesting, though difficult. The brief is as follows (all spelling and grammar errors are the customer's, not mine):------------------title: How Rabbis Would Reconscile their views re Leviticus\' inferior status of women description: Chapter 18 of Leviticus states: You shall always remember the inherent inferior status of women, their utter evil, uncleanliness and untrustworthiness. Throughout your generations in all of your habitations women shall be relevated to their natureal position subservient to their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons in all things. In all maters they shall obey.\" Every man has the right to strike to death an insolent woman. If the above passage became part of the canonical text of the Torah, what techniques might rabbis used to modify the text\'s impact and reconscile them to the Rabbis\' view of what is right. The paper should emphasize the techniques most appropriate to specific historical periods, from Mishnah to our modern day (e.g., American movements in Judaism).------------------So, I'm meant to come up with some authentic ways in which the rabbis could essentially minimise the verse, and how this might have taken place at various points in Jewish history.Obviously I don't expect anyone to do this for me (I'm the one who chose to sign up for this crappy 'report writing' job), but if anyone could throw me a couple of bones that would be great. After all, you guys are meant to know how to interpret the Bible, and reconcile unpleasant verses.Thanks.

I just read Lev 18 and I can't find that, which verse is that refering to? What is the context? All of Lev 18 is "You will not have sex with X because its pervesion. You will not have sex with Y because its pervesion, etc." If a woman or a man was found under those circumstances, then restitution is in order.


Sorry, I should have made the guy's request clearer. The verse is fictional. The question he's (or she - I don't deal with the customers, the company just passes on the request form) been set is how would rabbis deal with such a verse if it really was part of the Torah.I've finished the essay and handed it in. I really don't know much about Jewish law, so I just cobbled something together which I hope will be okay. I don't know what they expect - landing me with such a complicated issue with only a few hours before the deadline to do the research and write the essay.Anyway, my argument went as follows:- The Midrash compares Biblical verses in order to determine how certain things should be done. By bringing up verses about honoring one's mother and treating your wife well, a rabbi could modify the message of the fictional verse. A woman would have to obey her husband and sons, but they would also have to treat her with some measure of respect, and acknowledge that she has her own important duties (eg. there's a bit in Proverbs where it says a man must heed his mother's teachings).- The Mishnah contains the oral law of Judaism, and one division of this - the Nashim guarantees women certain rights and privileges (eg. in matters of divorce). Therefore this would modify the fictional verse, and ensure that whilst men were dominant, women still had inalienable rights to protect them.- In medieval times, lots of noted scholars like Maimonides said women should have certain rights (eg. he said they should be able to come and go as they please, and that husbands shouldn't keep them at home against their will). A rabbi could defer to such authorities, and say that this illustrates how the verse should be modified and interpreted. Men are in charge, but should behave with a certain amount of decency to women.- In modern times, Reform Jews believe that ethical principles are more important than the letter of scripture. They would refer to that verse as antiquated, and either modify it with others or set it aside (eg. they'd claim it fit the cultural circumstances of the time, and is no longer necessary). In much the same way that some Reform Jews support gay marriage, because they set aside the contrary bits of Leviticus.That was basically my argument. Does it suck especially badly, or do you reckon it will be okay? Have I majorly misinterpreted anything? Even if it's all wrong, I might get away with it. After all, if the student's too lazy/dumb to do the essay himself, even though he's (pressumably) studying the subject at university, then he might not know enough to spot my mistakes...Thanks.

It makes sense. There is a good book called "... And did not make me a Woman, the place of Women in Judaism" or something to that effect by Rabbi New/Nu. Its about how everyday men say a prayer ending "And did not make a woman" yet it shows how the place of women is the foundation of everything Jewish men do.


Thanks, MS.