Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Roshah Parua As Non-Braided

There is an interesting theory out there about skeletons found at Masada, and whether they were Roman or Jewish. Since the braided woman's hair found there was detached from the woman's head (not present) while she was still alive, some researcher suggests that the woman must have been Roman and subjected to Eshet Yefat Toar.

Personally, I highly doubt it -- that the woman had been subjected to shearing of hair exactly on the spot where captured. I suppose they assume the hair was detached while she was alive because the skeleton was not present. But all sorts of other possibilities exist. For example, someone moved the woman's body after death, so it would not be disgraced. Or a wig. Etc.

{Update: rereading the article, it is some forensic analysis, rather than absence of the skeleton, that leads to the conclusion that the hair was cut off while she was alive...}

Of interest to me was a remark on PaleoJudaica that
Her braided hair however suggests that she was married, since a woman in the Greco-Roman world changed her hairstyle after marriage to symbolize her unavailability to any man but her husband (Cosgrove 2005)
which would recommend the (minority) reading of Rosha Parua as unbraided rather than uncovered. Joined with the assumption (and reading of the gemara) of most that this distinction was of married vs. unmarried Jewish women.

With this custom manifesting itself of Jewish women, then becoming daat yehudit. (Rabbi Yishmael's scriptural derivation aside.)

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin