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Chain Reaction of Violence: An Analysis of the Rape Narratives in the Old Testament

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2024, 30(1), pp.111-140
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology

백승훈 1

1숭실대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the history of interpretation of the three rape narratives in the Old Testament (Gen 34; Judg 19; 2 Sam 13), the violence against women itself has been marginalized. On the one hand, these sexual crimes against the three women—Dinah the daughter of Jacob (Gen 34), Tamar the daughter of David (2 Sam 13:1–22), and the unnamed woman who was handed over to be raped and slaughtered by her husband (Judg 19:1–30)—have been understood as just a small part of larger narratives. On the other hand, some scholars have tried to reveal the patriarchal and even misogynistic ideology of the narrators behind these rape narratives. While the history of the reception of these texts has been affected by interpreters’ androcentric agenda, it is not the case that the Bible is completely androcentric and thus not interested in the agony of the victims of sexual violence. By exploring these tragic narratives, this study demonstrates that there is a similar frame of a chain reaction of violence in the narratives: the initial sexual violence against women → indifference and mistreatment of the victim → severe social conflict → additional violence against other victims including women. These biblical narratives are firmly against sexual violence against women through their common structure of evil chain reaction of violence which is activated by the initial rape.

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