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The Bible and FeminismRemapping the Field$
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Yvonne Sherwood

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198722618

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198722618.001.0001

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The Reproductive Rite

The Reproductive Rite

(In)Fertility in the Ashanti and Ancient Hebrew Context

(p.548) Chapter 30 The Reproductive Rite
The Bible and Feminism

Janice Ewurama De-Whyte Sarfo

Oxford University Press

The diversity of beliefs and perspectives concerning reproduction make it a complex experience with economic, social, religious, and cultural layers. This essay presents childlessness in the context of a matrilineal culture; the Ashanti culture of Ghana, West Africa. The other culture under comparative consideration is ancient Hebrew culture, as depicted within the Hebrew Bible. This essay proposes that in ancient contexts, and even in current traditional non-Western cultures, reproduction is primarily the rite of passage for women, and that the notion of women’s reproductive rights is chiefly a construct of modern-day Western culture(s). For many ancient and contemporary cultures reproduction is conceived as the rite of passage and not in terms of reproductive rights. I propose an original term that verbally and visually underscores the centrality of the womb to a woman’s identity in the aforementioned cultures; ‘wom(b)an’.

Keywords:   Ashanti, Hebrew Bible, (in)fertility, matrilineal, rites

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