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2013, Vol.19, No.3

  • 1.

    Re-reading ‘the Abraham-Sarah Story’ from the feminist-theological perspective

    Lee Hee Hak | 2013, 19(3) | pp.14~41 | number of Cited : 8
    Abstract PDF
    From the story of Abraham, a Hebrew patriarch, Abraham appears as a perpetrator of discrimination and violence in many cases. He abandoned his wife Sarah twice, and then handed her over to another men(Gen 12:10~20; 20:1~18). Moreover, he conspired with his wife to drive Hagar out to the desert(Gen 16). He was the indirect perpetrator who kept silent at the violence that his wife had done. Abraham forced Hagar and Ishmael into the desert again and led them to suffer deadly threats(Gen 21). Abraham and Sarah inflicted the merciless violence upon the slave woman and her son. The Old Testament texts mentioned above are saying the message in common. Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael, who were the victims of oppression and violence, were rescued by God. God does not want anyone to be oppressed by distorted society or the strong. God was the one who rescued Sarah from Pharaoh of Egypt. Thus, Sarah was the first object of salvation, pointing to the salvation of Israel. God solve her problem of sterility and also changed her unbelieving ridicule into true pleasure(Gen 21:6). He consoled Hagar who had been driven out to the desert with tears, and also gave her a message of redemption. He did not discriminate her on the basis of her Egyptian origin or slavery. While God continued to be the problem solver, Abraham was the perpetrator of violence. God is the only the one who are able to resolve the problem of class discrimination as well as sexual violence. He takes care of the oppressed people all the time. To experience the true liberation in the situations of oppression and pain is possible only when God directly interferes with the scene of history. Abraham, who lived in the Patriarchal age, was a victim as well as an offender under the discriminating social structure. He was not evil in origin but social structure made him act as such. That is why it appears that the biblical text defends him. Although he was related to many discriminatory thoughts and behaviors, he was the first noble patriarch of Israel!
  • 2.

    The Arguments of Women Liberation in the Deuteronomic Reforms

    Han, Dong-Gu | 2013, 19(3) | pp.42~66 | number of Cited : 3
    Abstract PDF
    The 8th century BCE was a time when Israel‘s national and economic power reached at its peak. In contrast, however, it had brought forth social upheaval as well. The rich were able to accumulate their wealth, taking advantage of their social positions and economic power. Meanwhile, the socially underprivileged were suffering harder persistently. When Assyria had invaded the Syria-Palestine regions at the late 8th century BCE, the social and economic polarization was escalating. The overall crisis was evidently appearing. The political breakdown of northern Israel led its people to migrate into southern Judah, in which, in the mean time, people in the rural area were moving to the urban. In this historical context, the deuteronomic revolution carried out to protect the nation from the military invasion and, at the same time, to make the nation a coherent society. Various parts of society underwent reforms, and women under oppression also somehow enjoyed liberation. In the context of the nation's crisis(under Assyrian threats in this case) the socially weak suffered more hardship. Women were of course placed in socially weaker position than men, and there existed threats of sexual harassment toward women. The Israelite history has shown both oppression to women and protection for women. Particularly there were concerns of women's social safety in the deuteronomic movement as part of caring the socially disadvantaged. The present article examines the history of women's oppression and also their liberation, along with exegetical analysis of the relevant passages in Deuteronomy that imply liberation of or protection for women. The social background of the passages is also dealt with in terms of social history. Special attention is paid to a prohibited command for the king, “He must not take many wives” in Deuteronomy 17:17aα in order to explore its meaning in a social history. The attempts of social reforms in the deuteronomic movement were more than humanitarian purpose caring the weak in society; it had historical significance. Under the military threats from Assyria, the deuteronomic reform tried to create coherence in society while eliminating anti-community traits in Israel. In one sense, liberation of women was meant to control the king's authority.
  • 3.

    Womanist Theology, Study of the Old Testament History Books: Lee Kyoung Sook’s Theology

    박신배 | 2013, 19(3) | pp.67~95 | number of Cited : 2
    Abstract PDF
    I purpose to study the feminine theology of the Old Testament History books. First I investigate the womanist theology, feminism, feminist criticism, the relationship between Korea culture and Women. Lee Kyoung Sook’s Theology is not the theology of Old Testament History Books (Deuteronomistic History and Chronicle History Study) but the womanist theology in the liberation of women. Therefore I try to research Lee Kyoung Sook’s approach to the Old Testament, by knowing that the woman’s value and God’s creation purpose, the reason of a new Being in the New Testament, the order of the church. Also I find out that the feminist theology can integrate all areas of theology, especially eco-theology. Moreover, I intend to succeed to the woman tradition of the Old Testament, such as Sarah, Hagar, Deborah, Esther, Ruth, Rahab, Huldah and last Maria of NT. etc. The meaning of Old Testament Theology in the perspective of Womanist theology needs to be studied. It is a possibility that the womanist theology could be the core of the life theology from woman liberation theology to eco-theology, Tong-Il theology. Now it is freshly produced that womanist theology contributes to develop the order of the church and creation in the perspective of liberation.
  • 4.

    RenéGirard on Jephthah’s Daughter’s Sacrifice

    Yoon-Kyung Lee | 2013, 19(3) | pp.96~122 | number of Cited : 4
    Abstract PDF
    Feminist theologians have ascribed the primary cause of the tragic death of Jephthah’s daughter to her father’s hasty vow. But this paper addresses that Jephthah’s vow itself was not the real cause. Rather, his vow could be considered to be a pious religiosity, considering the context of the battlefield. The real problem of his vow should be found in the very result of human sacrifice. Yet this paper presents that the daughter’s sacrifice was not the problem entirely of an individual, her father, but that of both her father and the community of the Gileadites through the interpretive lens of René Girard. This narrative reveals two aspects of mimetic crisis behind the scene. One aspect is between Jephthah and the Gileadites, and between the Gileadites and the Ammonites. Jephthah wants to be the insider of the Gileadites. In turn, the Gileadites want the political, military and administrative constitution like the Canaanites. This mimetic desire inevitably results in military conflicts. Jephthah’s daughter was entangled in such a mimetic crisis. She was sacrificed and then, annually her death was commemorated by Israelite women. This paper presents that the annual commemoration is not a simple lamentation for her death but, more importantly, to expose that the daughter was a scapegoat for patriarchal mimetic violence.
  • 5.

    Vashti, Esther, and Zeresh: Women’s Leadership in the Book of Esther and Its Complicated Legacy

    Yoo,YeonHee(Yani) | 2013, 19(3) | pp.123~151 | number of Cited : 2
    Abstract PDF
    This essay attempts to evaluate women's leadership presented by the narrator of the Book of Esther. The narrator presents distorted images of women's leadership through the description of Vashti, Esther and Zeresh. Vashti is a woman leader who is independent and has high self-esteem. But she is an example of a lousy woman who does not support her husband and makes him look bad in public. This kind of woman deserves punishment and women readers are not to emulate her. Esther is helpful to men and gives everything good to men, although she has to risk her safety. She is an ideal woman leader to the narrator. Zeresh is also helpful to men. She offers counsel to her husband when asked. But she speaks against her own interests. The readers have been divided in regard to interpreting the biblical women. Some feminist readers praise Vashti for her independence and criticize Esther for working for men in their terms. Others give credit to Esther for using what is available to her with wisdom and courage to meet her ends despite the limits of the times. Most scholars do not even deal with Zeresh. We see Zeresh as the brain behind her husband's political activities. All these women are separated from one another and never talk to one another. Each is like an island drifting alone in men's sea. The narrator makes the reader compare and contrast the women characters and take a side. Focusing on a woman character or comparison or contrast among them only results in separating them even more. Women readers will also be divided into two. Seeing Vashti as a better leader than Esther risks the same danger. The women's leadership described by the narrator misleads the readers. It leaves complicated heritage to Korean church women. Most Korean preachers not only follow the narrator, but intensify and magnify it in the patriarchal context of the Korean church. Their understanding of biblical women's leadership is in direct proportion to modern women's leadership status in the church. In fact, among women in the church there is separation and conflict among Vashitis and Esthers. Thus, sensitive readers can see the need for the women character in the Book Esther and church women need to be incorporated into one respectively. We see Vashti in Esther when the latter breaks a royal rule. We see Zeresh in Esther when the latter acts like a sage. Church women also have all these women in them, being Vashti rebellious against the opaque church management, being Esther obedient to the end, and being Zeresh speaking against her interests. A healthy incorporation of the three will strengthen the church.
  • 6.

    From the Othered Body to the Living Body: Centering the Body Images in the Song of Songs

    Park, Ji-Eun | 2013, 19(3) | pp.152~177 | number of Cited : 1
    Abstract PDF
    This article re-examines our perception of body images of ourselves and others in current society where physical appearance is capitalized and commercialized through the investigation of the body images in the Song of Songs. The human body, which was inferior to the human mind under the Greek dichotomous mind/body scheme, has been revalued and harmonized with the mind by modern Western discourse. However, particular human bodies, along with an over-emphasis on the human body in general, have been considered superior and more beautiful according to a standard set by a certain group of people in our society. As a result, some, particularly those who have bodies that do not fit this standard, are alienated and risk their lives to reshape their bodies through plastic surgery. Women's bodies, rather than men's, are more exposed to suffering from these social expectations and standards. Women's bodies are usually described negatively in the Hebrew Bible as well. However, women's body images in the Song of Songs represent the natural female body rather than embodying social prejudice. Even though women's body images in the Song of Songs may be viewed as grotesque, as Fiona Black suggests, this argument overlooks the question of whose perspective is being reflected. In other words, the distinction between ugly/grotesque and beautiful or between normal and abnormal reflects a social perspective that has been naturalized by a particular discourse. Accordingly, the article tries to generate an unbiased perspective, perceiving the bodies of ourselves and others as they are, without evaluating and judging them through social/othering eyes or distorted eyes.
  • 7.

    Reading of God in the Old Testament with Feminist Eyes

    Lee, Yeong Mee | 2013, 19(3) | pp.178~205 | number of Cited : 1
    Abstract PDF
    The present article aims to examine biblical God of creation and salvation from feminist perspective and draw anti-patriarchal and inclusive images of God of life that may apply for modern Christian era. Although Christian tradition has been highlighting the male image of God, the Father, biblical description of creation and salvation is depicted based on feminie principle of life-bearing and compassionate love of womb. The examination of Mother Goddesses of Ancient times who played major role in creation of the world as life-bearer illustrates the feminine principles of life in creation. This principle of life in creation and the motifs of childbirth are applied in description of creation of the world and Israel in the Bible. The appearance of Goddess in the Bible shows the depreciation of Goddesses’ status from independent creative god to the spouse of male god. They are no longer shown as the creator but play role as one who brings fertility and prosperity. These Goddesses were worshiped among people, especially by women. The Israelite official religion that affirms one God alone for Israel, however, condemns the Goddess worship and supplies the absence of Goddess in their religion with alternative theological symbols such as woman Zion or woman wisdom. The image of God of salvation is then depicted based on feminine principle of compassionate love, rachamim. Thus this study suggests to apply the images of biblical God of creation and salvation, rooted in the feminine principle that embraces the value of life, for imagining the work of God in this time of life threat by nuclear weapons and ecological crisis.
  • 8.

    Divorce in the Old Testament: Breaking the permanent covenant?

    LeeEunAe | 2013, 19(3) | pp.206~233 | number of Cited : 1
    Abstract PDF
    This paper investigates the understanding of divorce in the Old Testament. This study applies a historical-critical method from a feministic perspective of the so-called ‘divorce law’ in Deuteronomy(Deut 24:1-4) and other texts that deal with the concept of ‘divorce’. Divorce refers to the end of a marriage relationship. In the Old Testament, marriage is often regarded as a covenant between husband and wife. In Genesis, marriage is a permanent covenant commanded by God(Gen 2:23). The purpose of the ‘divorce law’(Deut 24:1-4) is to forbid a woman's former husband to take her back to be his wife. Nevertheless, the text shows that divorce, like marriage, is possible in ancient Israelite society, and that the reasons for the divorce can be founded not only in a wife's sexual fault, but also in the change of heart of the husband. The woman with a ‘certificate of divorce’ was allowed to remarry another man. However, reunion with her former husband is explained as an abomination before God and as an act to bring sin upon the land. The legal institutions of marriage, divorce, and remarriage are interpreted now in terms of their cultic and theological meanings. In prophetic texts such as Hosea, Jeremiah, and Malachi, the marriage-divorce formula is used as a symbol to indicate the covenantal relationship between Yahweh und Israel. The adultery of Judah as a wife caused a breaking of the covenant, namely divorce with her husband Yahweh. However, God wants only the faithfulness of Israel. Malachi gives the Israelite living in the postexilic period the warning against divorcing his Jewish wife to marry a pagan wife. The concept of ‘divorce’ is discussed beyond the dimension of the legislation within the theological and ethical dimensions.
  • 9.

    A study on the Ethical Imperative of the Deutronomic Theology in Job 29

    hangeuncho | 2013, 19(3) | pp.262~292 | number of Cited : 4
    Abstract PDF
    This study aims to demonstrate the influence of the ethical imperative of the Deuteronomic theology for the poor in Job 29. In this paper, I investigated ethical imperative for the poor in the postexilic times reflected in the Book of Job. For the purpose of the study, I used sociological criticism as a tool interpreting the texts. And I studied social classes to locate the position of the needy in the time of the Book of Job. Also I investigated personal situations of the editor and the problems of the society, which are reflected in Job 29. Deuteronomy stresses social and individual responsibility for the poor. But, the post-exilic community did not observe the laws. The Israelites failed to abide by the words of God regarding the poor throughout their history. In this historical context, Nehemiah tried social reform for the poor at the Second-Temple period(Neh. 5:1-15). Historically, in the postexilic period, the community of Judah showed a great gap between the haves and have-nots. But the community failed to overcome the huge gulf between the rich and poor. The Book of Job provides information about the poor's social position and situation in peculiar historical context in the post-exilic times. Especially, Job 29 shows how the ethical imperative of the Deuteronomic theology for the poor was adapted in post-exilic society. In this paper, I have demonstrated considerable similarities between the Book of Job and Deuteronomy regarding the attitudes for the weak and the poor. In the time of the Book of Job, the Judahites did not protect the poor. Particularly, the aristocrats took bribery, by doing so perverted justice. Job 29 demonstrates how Job, the righteous noble, had diligently helped the poor(Job 29:14). In fact, Job 29 goes further than the Deuteronomic laws in terms of showing the authentic meaning of protecting the poor.
  • 10.

    A Reconsideration of the Temple Controversy in Isaiah 66:1-24

    Keun Jo Ahn | 2013, 19(3) | pp.293~322 | number of Cited : 2
    Abstract PDF
    This paper investigates the temple controversy in Isaiah 66:1-24. Paul Hanson discusses that the trito-Isaiah‘s proclamation in Isa. 66:1, "Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool, what is the house which you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?," is based on the conflict between the hierocratic priestly group and marginalized prophetic visionary group in the post-exilic community. According to Hanson, the trito-Isaiah himself among the prophetic visionary group is confronting against the plan of the rebuilding the temple in 520 BCE. However, this sociological critical reading has resulted narrow understanding of the post-exilic community leaving multi-layered texture of the text uncovered. Through rhetorical critical analyses of the text, this paper has found that the main issue has nothing to do with the building of the real bricks temple but to do with the building of the inner sanctuary. This new building project is initiated by Yahweh who will march against the wicked from the sanctuary of Jerusalem as Divine Warrior and look after the righteous in the Mount Zion as Divine Saviour. I have delved deeply into the texture of Isaiah 66 by utilizing such rhetorical critical devices as "Yahweh's throne motif", close reading, and structural analysis. This rhetorical critical interpretation has disclosed the essential issues of the text and further revealed some aspects of the social realities of the post-exilic society, which the socio-critical analyses have failed to found.
  • 11.

    Eschatology in the Book of Daniel revealed through the indication of Chronology

    Chong Hun Pae | 2013, 19(3) | pp.323~347 | number of Cited : 5
    Abstract PDF
    My study starts from my question toward whether Dan 7, 8, 9, and 10-12 drily repeat the same revelation about eschatology. My thesis in this paper is that the view about eschatology in the Book of Daniel is gradually formulated according to the period which Daniel lived in. The common themes in both Daniel 1-6 and Daniel 7-12 are as follows: the exile is allowed by God; the exile comes to its end with the coming of the kingdom of God; the end of the exile does not come through human power; God deposes and sets up kings until the exile comes to its end. In Dan 7-12, the revelation about eschatology is gradually revealed through the historical element and revelatory element. Antiochus IV in Dan 7-12 shows its archetype of both Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar in that the first threatens the life of the diaspora by forcing the worship of the golden statue, and the latter commits a blasphemy. The first faith about eschatology is that the Babylonian empire perishes. While, however, the Babylonian empire still exists, Daniel receives new revelation about four kingdoms, a time, two times, half a time as a climax of persecution, the destruction of the fourth kingdom, and the coming of one like a human-being. It is not easy for Daniel to understand this new revelation. After Babylon destroyed, Daniel understands the end of exile does not come when Babylon destroys, but after seventy weeks. Now Daniel understands a time, two times, half a time is connected to the revelation of seventy weeks. Through new revelation in Dan 10-12, Daniel understands that four kingdoms and seventy weeks are connected each other. Moreover, Daniel receives the revelation about the event in the end of history.
  • 12.

    Death - the most beautiful human Existence: A Study of Death in the Light of Creation and Wisdom Tradition of the Old Testament

    Cha-Yong Ku | 2013, 19(3) | pp.348~375 | number of Cited : 6
    Abstract PDF
    This paper is intended to show how significant the meaning of death is to man, particularly to his present life, through the creation and wisdom tradition of the Old Testament. Gen 2-3, Ecc 11-12 and Ps 104 are selected for the Text to be analyzed. Among them, Gen 2-3 display the creation of man in subtly structured composition. Firstly, the death of man, at least with regard to his existential basis, is already mentioned before the Fall of man. Secondly, the life and death of man are arranged together in contrasting structure. !gh-#[ lkm(2:16) is an illusion to life and is connected with [rw bwj t[dh #[m(2:17), which clearly symbolizes death. This composition progresses to 2:9 and the verse can be divided into #[ lk as available to man and ~yyxh #[/[rw bwj t[dh #[ as unavailable to man. The unavailable trees, which enable man not only to die but also to live, symbolize the presence and the realm of God. Man is not allowed to invade there. Furthermore the concept of eternal life is characterized differently between the Creator and man. The Creator is immortal, whereas man is able to continue his existence only by the childbirth. It is because man is originated from earth and must return to earth. Thirdly, man was created in two processes. God formed (rcy) the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The first process signifies that man has no qualitative difference from animals and the second one means that God is the Giver of man's life. It is expressed based on the concept of ‘ed’ (da, in 2:6) as well as the description of the river, which flowed from the Garden of Eden and separated into four Headwaters. It was set up in the Garden of Eden that death of man is originated from God, the Creator Himself. Therefore, death is definitive to man. Human's limited capabilities became concrete and man was clearly distinguished from God, the Creator. And such understanding about the human nature is in line with other traditions of the Old Testament, especially the concept of the death of the wisdom literature. In particular, Ecc 12:7 and Gen 2:7 form the beginning and the end of the existence of man on the earth. The instruction to a young man in Ecc 12:1 that he should remember his Creator before the days of trouble can be interpreted as he must seize the present life as being stated in Ecc 11. Ps 104 shows the same concept. Thus, death functions positively there and allows man to recognize not only his own limitations but also possibilities before God's existence, which transcends death. God sends man back to the realm of life and helps him maintain a positive attitude towards life. Therefore, death of a man is the most beautiful human existence in the Old Testament and can be seen as an extremely positive feature.