Marriage, Love, or Consensual Sex? Feminist Engagements with Biblical Rape Texts in Light of Title IX

  • Susanne Scholz
Part of the Religion and Radicalism book series (RERA)


In this chapter, Susanne Scholz reviews some definitive works by feminist biblical scholars working with biblical rape texts; specifically, she uses the Title IX federal law (which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education programme or activity) as the focus of this discussion. Scholz explores whether the Title IX debates around US campus rape ought to have an impact on how feminist biblical scholars interpret biblical rape texts. After reviewing the impact that Title IX has had on the way many US colleges and universities respond to campus rape, Scholz surveys feminist theories of sexual violence since the 1970s. She then evaluates the contributions of feminist exegesis on biblical rape texts since the 1980s. Within this body of work, she identifies certain scholars who have relied on decontextualized, empiricist-scientific, and historical-linguistic approaches to biblical exegesis, which, she suggests, has produced “rape-prone” interpretations. This leads her to ask the question: would an alternative, more contextualized hermeneutical approach, which critiqued rape-supportive language and advocated for rape victim-survivors, be of value within contemporary Title IX debates on campus rape? Scholz is conscious of the fact that federal laws alone cannot eliminate the epidemic of sexual violence on campus and in wider society. At the same time, she identifies serious limitations to current feminist exegesis of biblical rape texts due to their reliance on a “cop-out” hermeneutics. This, she suggests, must be challenged if feminist biblical interpretation is to have a meaningful impact on the contemporary crisis of campus rape.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne Scholz
    • 1
  1. 1.Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA

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