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This groundbreaking study looks beyond biblical texts, which have had a powerful influence over our views of women's roles and worth, in order to reconstruct the typical everyday lives of women in ancient Israel. Carol Meyers argues that biblical sources alone do not give a true picture of ancient Israelite women because urban elite males wrote the vast majority of the scriptural texts. Also, the stories of women in the Bible concern exceptional individuals rather than ordinary Israelite women. Drawing on archaeological discoveries and ethnographic information as well as biblical texts, Meyers depicts Israelite women not as submissive chattel in an oppressive patriarchy, but rather as strong and significant actors within their families and in their communities. In so doing, she challenges the very notion of patriarchy as an appropriate designation for Israelite society. Carol Meyers holds the Mary Grace Wilson Professorship in Religion at Duke University. A specialist in biblical studies and archaeology, she is a prominent scholar in the study of women in the biblical world. She serves on the boards of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, and the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation and has also held numerous leadership positions in the Society of Biblical Literature.