Friday, February 6, 2009

Davis, "Arguing with God"

The section of Natalie Zemon Davis's book, "Arguing with God: Glikl Das Judah Leib" in the larger work Women on the Margins fits very nicely into "categories of difference" in regards to religion, as well as the category of "employment" . Davis points out the stark differences between Jewish and Christian women, tying their employment to their religion. The differences in how Jewish women and Christian women were able to support themselves and their families is striking; Jewish women were able to work in their husband's business, even if their husband passes away, as in Glikl's situation. Whereas for Christian women, while they still entered into small business adventures (Davis lists goldspinning and stockingmaking). But the real difference comes in the fact that she made short-range trades for large sums of money, and she did all her business in person. Christian women, on the other hand, did not take over their husband's business, or do much of anything without a male member of the family present, for the German Jews, women could do things on their own, without a chaperon.

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