Saturday, 20 October 2012

Sacred Witness 1


Author: Susanne Scholz
Title: Sacred Witness: Rape in the Hebrew Bible
Publisher: Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press, 2010
Details: 279 pages; solid notes for the most part; no bibliography but index of authors, index of bible and other ancient texts and index of subjects. Nonetheless, a bibliography of cited sources would have been helpful.

I am going to do a number of blogs on this book over the next few weeks. It is an important book and in many ways, I can appreciate what she was trying to do. However, it epitomizes many of the issues that I have dealt with in one way or another in this blog. For example, the Bible is normative and "sacred", thus limiting the available options in her analysis - but more of that later. Already it is clear that there are serious methodological issues coming out of the introduction.

I often start academic books on contentious issues by reading the conclusion, and various parts of different chapters. Of all things, my first gut reaction was: "well, this woman was never raped." I wasn't exactly sure why that was my first thought but a few weeks later when I started the book from the beginning, it turns out that I was right. When I finish the book for the second time, I will reflect on this once more and come up an answer.

"The personal is still political". As a survivor, I come to this issue from a wholly different place than those who only know about it secondhand. It is going to be an interesting exercise.

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