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Virginity: Women’s Body As A State Of Mind: Destiny Becomes Biology

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Chapter Summary

Discourse about virginity provides an opportunity to examine the relationship between physical and emotional categories, between body and mind, and between biology and culture. This chapter tries to answer the following questions: Why, on the morning after his wedding, would a man report that his bride was not a virgin, whatever definition of the word was intended? Or, knowing full well that she was not a virgin, why would he not convey that information? What if she gave physical appearance of not being a virgin due to nature, or an accident, but claimed that she never had intercourse? How could anybody really tell if a female was a virgin or not? Finally, if a bride was not categorized as a virgin who was expected to bleed on consummation, why would she have to separate from her husband for a week? It concludes with a comparison with rabbinic treatment of adultery.

Keywords: adultery; bride; husband; intercourse; physical appearance; rabbinic; state of mind; virginity; womens body



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