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…)
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.
Weems, Renita J. Battered Love: Marriage, Sex, and Violence in the Hebrew Prophets. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995.
Battered Love: Marriage, Sex, and Violence in the Hebrew Prophets is an engaging introduction to the use of violent sexual imagery in the biblical books of Hosea, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Renita J. Weems conducts a textual analysis and wrestles with this metaphor from a womanist perspective, using traditional readings of the text, such as historical and social-scientific methods, as well as newer approaches, such as gender criticism, literary studies, and ideological analyses. The intended audience is acquainted with Hebrew Bible academic research; however, its introductory approach makes it accessible to budding scholars.