Epistolary Exchanges with Women


Any discussion of women’s letters involves a consideration of levels of literacy, the use of scribes, and an examination of linguistic registers. The use of a scribe does not necessarily mean that the sender was illiterate but possibly means that she was interested in having a more appropriate literary style featured in the letter. The frequency of travel in Geniza society augmented the need for epistolary exchanges, especially for families contending with separations, which were often lengthy. The sample letter presented reflects the strong ties between two sisters as well as their concerns. These women cared for one another deeply and did not hesitate to express their feelings clearly. Correspondence was often problematic as the mail did not always reach its destination; thus, family members constantly worried about one another.

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Correspondence to Renée Levine Melammed.

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Melammed, R.L., Melammed, U. Epistolary Exchanges with Women. JEW HIST 32, 411–418 (2019) doi:10.1007/s10835-019-09320-8

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  • Women’s letters
  • Literacy
  • Register
  • Language