God

Painting Women from Judges – Part 3: The Sacred Account of the Levite’s Pîlegeš

This post was originally composed for and published on Feminism and Religion, http://feminismandreligion.com/2015/03/29/painting-women-from-judges-part-3-the-sacred-account-of-the-levites-pileges-by-melinda-bielas/

Reading the story of the Levite’s pîlegeš – found in the Hebrew Bible, Judges 19:1-20:7 – is unlike any other scholastic endeavor I have undertaken.1 The narrative is of a woman who leaves her husband’s house, only to be retrieved by her husband, gang raped on her way to his home, and dismembered upon arrival. This intense violence then escalates to the abduction and rape of more than 400 virgins and the death of many more (Judges 20-21). (more…)

Advertisements

Painting Women from Judges – Part 2: The Woman from Timnah Reframed

(This post was first shared on feminismandreligion.com)

The story of the woman from Timnah, Samson’s first wife – found in the Hebrew Bible, Judges 14:1-15:6 – is often interpreted as yet another wickedly seductive woman who distracts and confuses the heroic judge, preventing him from enacting the deity’s will. I remember the first time I questioned this interpretation: I was an undergraduate student teaching a youth bible study.I asked the high school students in the room what they thought about the Timnah woman and how we might understand the story differently if we read it from her perspective. Neither the students nor I had any idea how to answer these questions because we did not know how to see Samson as anything but a hero. (more…)

Painting Women from Judges – Part 1: Jephthah’s Reflective Daughter

This post was originally composed for and published on Feminism and Religion, http://feminismandreligion.com/2015/02/10/painting-women-from-judges-part-1-jephthahs-reflective-daughter-by-melinda-bielas/

The story of Jephthah’s daughter – found in the Hebrew Bible, Judges 11:29-40 – is a difficult story to read. The first time I read it, I was in my Christian high school Bible class and I could not understand why our teacher did not address the violence done by a father to his daughter. In my experience, Christians dismiss much of the violence done to women in the Hebrew Bible as evidence that ancient fathers, brothers, and husbands really did not care for their daughters, sisters, and wives. Since today men love the women in their lives, the ancient problem is no longer an issue, and we can continue with more pressing issues – or so the unspoken logic goes.

(more…)

My Womb: A Creative Retelling of Genesis 2-4

Adam and EveIt had been one week since G*d[1] looked at creation and said that it was very good. Adam and I had spent the last week exploring the garden, it all was as G*d said, very good. It was the eve of our second Sabbath when G*d pulled me away from Adam for a talk. She[2] explained to me that while Adam was right, that we were of the same bone and flesh, that we were not the same. Adam’s flesh and my flesh were created differently so that we would learn to be unafraid of differences in others, but love those that were different from ourselves. Our differences in flesh were both very valuable, one no greater than the other. After she had explained how differences, fleshly or not, were valuable, she told me why my fleshly differences were indeed very good. G*d had given me a womb like hers.[3] (more…)