Father’s Day C. A.D. 30: Two Daughters Celebrate -- By: Ginger O’Neil

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 14:2 (Spring 2000)
Article: Father’s Day C. A.D. 30: Two Daughters Celebrate
Author: Ginger O’Neil

Father’s Day C. A.D. 30: Two Daughters Celebrate

Moving Beyond “The Blood Taboo.”

Ginger O’Neil

For her book Merging with Martha in a Microchip Age (self-published), Ginger O Neil researched the status of women in Christianity and Judaism, centering on sociology, anthropology, geography, and the writings of Jewish women. Her first novel, A Touching Performance (Barbour/Heartsong) was published in March.

In so many ways, my dad showed his love for me. Coming home from his weekly out-of-town business trips, he always had a surprise gift for me in his suitcase. His encouragement accepted no gender limits for me to achieve any goal I would seek as an adult.

Even when I became that adult—a married woman with children—he greeted me with an affectionate, supportive hug whenever or wherever we met.

Such a father-daughter bonding, especially one that would suggest that a woman could be on a par socially and spiritually with men, would not have existed in Jesus’ day.

The Talmud, which ancient women did not have permission to study, states unequivocally that females are spiritual inferiors to men. Until recently, a synagogue prayer recited by men stated thanksgiving for not being born women—or gentiles.

Although ancient Jewish men loved their daughters— and valued them—once menarche occurred father-daughter bonding took a tumble, due primarily to what sociologists, anthropologists, and biblical scholars call the “blood taboo.”

No clearer introduction into an examination of this subject exists in the New Testament than the chapter I refer to as “The Account of the Two Daughters” (Luke 8:40-56). One was the daughter of an official, the other an adult woman Jesus called “daughter.”

Few readers today of Scripture have an understanding of the stigma attached to female blood flow in menstruation and following childbirth. In Old Testament times, females experiencing this “normal” blood flow were termed niddahs, a term of such foul uncleanness as to be employed by Ezra (9:11) and Ezekiel (16:22, 36:17) when describing the disgraceful condition of the Israelites in their most unrepentant state. (Neither niddah nor menstruant is used in most Christian translations of the Bible since Christians have little familiarity with the blood taboo dictums.)

Because a niddah’s touch defiled any male over thirteen years, she would have to leave her household and go to a...

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