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“…The question of God’s character haunted every scene and every act and every drama of the Bible. It wasn’t just the story of Noah’s flood or Joshua’s conquests that unsettled me. The book of Judges recounts several horrific war stories in which women’s bodies are used as weapons, barter, or plunder, without so much as a peep of objection from the God in whose name these atrocities are committed. One woman, a concubine of a Levite man, is thrown to a mob, gang-raped, and dismembered as part of an intertribal dispute (Judges 19). Another young girl is ceremonially sacrificed to God after God grants a military victory to her father, Jephthah, who promised to offer as a burnt offering “whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites” (Judges 11:31). Earlier, in the book of Numbers, God assists the Israelites in an attack against the Midianites, and tells the Israelites to kill every man, woman, and child from the community. They kill all except the young virgin girls whom the soldiers divide up as spoils of war. Feminist scholar Phyllis Trible aptly named these narratives “texts of terror.”
“If art imitates life,” she wrote, “scripture likewise reflects it in both holiness and horror.”
Texts - Terror - Woman - Sort - Postscript
Rereading the texts of terror as a young woman, I kept anticipating some sort of postscript or epilogue chastising the major players for their sins, a sort of Arrested Development–style “lesson” to wrap it all up—“And that’s why you should always challenge the patriarchy!” But no such epilogue exists. While women are raped, killed, and divided as plunder, God stands by, mute as clay.
I waited for a word from God, but no word came.
Tension - Convictions
It was as though I lived suspended in the tension of two apparently competing convictions:...
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