Advertisement

Rape Culture Discourse and Female Impurity: Genesis 34 as a Case Study

  • Jessica M. Keady
Chapter
Part of the Religion and Radicalism book series (RERA)

Abstract

In this chapter, Jessica Keady contributes to ongoing discussions about the multiple ways in which religious texts, traditions, practices, and beliefs intersect with contemporary cultural ideologies and discourses that support rape culture and gender violence. She compares biblical conceptions of rape and impurity with more contemporary rape culture and purity culture ideologies, focusing on the construction of literary rape in the biblical text of Genesis 34—the rape of Dinah. Keady argues that biblical rape texts such as Genesis 34 serve as a lens through which we can examine and critique ancient ideations of gender violence and purity; they also allow us to trace the ways in which these ideations continue to shape and inform contemporary understandings of rape. Through her close reading of the text, Keady argues that this rape narrative offers a means of critiquing ancient ideations of gender violence and purity; it also allows readers to trace the ways that these ideations continue to influence contemporary attitudes towards rape. She demonstrates this by weaving into her discussion of the Genesis text a number of contemporary accounts of gender violence, which evoke dominant discourses of female defilement and shame embedded within today’s rape and purity cultures. Through this intertextual engagement, she encourages biblical readers and interpreters to perform acts of “political resistance” to biblical ideologies that sustain these toxic cultures, and to evaluate the significance and influence that such ancient ideologies continue to have today.

References

  1. Baaz, Maria Eriksson, and Maria Stern. 2013. Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? Perceptions, Prescriptions, Problems in the Congo and Beyond. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  2. Bechtel, Lyn. 1994. What if Dinah Is Not Raped? (Genesis 34). Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 19 (62): 19–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blyth, Caroline. 2010. The Narrative of Rape in Genesis 34: Interpreting Dinah’s Silence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brayford, Susan. 2007. Septuagint Commentary Series: Genesis. Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brownmiller, Susan. 1993. Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape. New York: Fawcett Books.Google Scholar
  6. Buncombe, Andrew. 2016. Stanford Rape Case: Read the Impact Statement of Brock Turner’s Victim. The Independent, September 2. Accessed 2 July 2017.Google Scholar
  7. Clines, David. 2009. Concise Dictionary of Classical Biblical Hebrew. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press.Google Scholar
  8. Douglas, Mary. 1993. In the Wilderness: The Doctrine of Defilement in the Book of Numbers. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar
  9. Einhorn, Bruce, and S. Megan Berthold. 2011. Reconstructing Babel: Bridging Cultural Dissonance Between Asylum Seekers and Adjudicators. In Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony, ed. Benjamin N. Lawrence and Galya Ruffer, 27–53. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fantz, Ashley. 2016. Outrage over 6-Month Sentence for Brock Turner in Stanford Rape Case. CNN International Edition, June 7. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/06/us/sexual-assault-brock-turner-stanford/. Accessed 30 June 2017.
  11. Feinstein, Eve Levavi. 2014. Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ferreday, Debra. 2015. Game of Thrones, Rape Culture and Feminist Fandom. Australian Feminist Studies 30 (83): 21–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fox, Everett. 1983. In the Beginning: A New English Rendition of the Book of Genesis. New York: Schocken Books.Google Scholar
  14. Frymer-Kensky, Tikva. 1998. Virginity in the Bible. In Gender and Laws in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East, ed. Victor Matthews, Tikva Frymer-Kensky, and Bernard M. Levinson, 86–91. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Fuchs, Esther. 2000. Sexual Politics in the Biblical Narrative: Reading the Hebrew Bible as a Woman. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  16. Goldhill, Olivia, and John Bingham. 2015. One in Three UK Female Students Sexually Assaulted or Abused on Campus. The Telegraph, January 14. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11343380/Sexually-assault-1-in-3-UK-female-students-victim-on-campus.html. Accessed 30 June 2017.
  17. Graff, E.J. 2013. Purity Culture Is Rape Culture. The American Prospect, January 4. http://prospect.org/article/purity-culture-rape-culture. Accessed 30 June 2017.
  18. Gravett, Sandie. 2004. Reading ‘Rape’ in the Hebrew Bible: A Consideration of Language. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 28: 279–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Graybill, Rhianon. 2015. Current Focus On: Teaching About Sexual Violence in the Hebrew Bible. Oxford Biblical Studies Online. http://blog.oup.com/2016/02/hebrew-bible-sexual-violence/. Accessed 30 June 2017.
  20. Grecian, Nell. 2016. Brock Turner Is Reinforcing Rape Culture. Huffington Post, July 9. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/nell-grecian/brock-turner-rape-culture_b_10350650.html. Accessed 30 June 2017.
  21. Hankore, Daniel. 2013. The Abduction of Dinah: Genesis 28:10–35:15 as a Votive Narrative. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co Ltd.Google Scholar
  22. Keady, Jessica. 2016. Rape Culture Discourse and Female Impurity: Genesis 34 as a Case Study. The Reader 115 (5): 18–20.Google Scholar
  23. Kilmartin, Christopher. 2007. Men’s Violence Against Women: Theory, Research and Activism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Klopper, Francis. 2010. Rape and the Case of Dinah: Ethical Responsibilities for Reading Genesis 34. Old Testament Essay 23 (3): 652–665.Google Scholar
  25. Lees-Massey, Caitlin, Jessica Morris, and Dean Tanner. 2016. A Complaint of Rape. 24 Hours in Police Custody. Television Programme. London: Channel 4.Google Scholar
  26. Li, Winnie M. 2016. Thanks Brock, You Gave Us Victims a Voice. The Independent, June 10. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/thanks-brock-you-gave-us-victims-a-voice-a7074006.html. Accessed 30 June 2017.
  27. Matthieu, Jennifer. 2015. The Troubling Connection Between Rape and Modesty Culture. Time, July 8. http://time.com/3918215/modesty-culture-rape-culture/. Accessed 29 June 2017.
  28. Rashkow, Ilona. 1990. Hebrew Bible Translation and the Fear of Judaization. The Sixteenth Century Journal 21 (2): 217–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Scholz, Susanne. 2000. Rape Plots: A Feminist Cultural Study of Genesis 34. Studies in Biblical Literature 13. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  30. Shemesh, Yael. 2007. Rape Is Rape Is Rape: The Story of Dinah and Shechem. Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 119 (1): 2–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stiebert, Johanna. 2013. Fathers and Daughters in the Hebrew Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wenham, Gordon J. 1994. Genesis 16–50. Dallas: Word Books.Google Scholar
  33. Wright, Benjamin. 2015. Cardiff Rapist Who Forced His Victim to Marry Him Is the First Person Jailed Under a Forced Marriage Law. Wales Online, June 10. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/cardiff-rapist-who-forced-victim-9426008. Accessed 30 June 2017.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica M. Keady
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WalesTrinity Saint DavidUK

Personalised recommendations