Added: April 28, 2007 – Last updated: September 5, 2015


Author: Susanne Scholz

Title: 'Back Then It Was Legal'

Subtitle: The Epistemological Imbalance in Readings of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Rape Legislation

Journal: Journal of Religion & Abuse: Advocacy, Pastoral Care, and Prevention

Volume: 7

Issue: 3

Year: 2005 (Received: January 1, 2005, Accepted: June 1, 2005, Published online: October 12, 2008)

Pages: 5-35

ISSN: 1521-1037 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1523-9179 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Ancient Near East | Prosecution: Laws; Representations: Bible / Book of Deuteronomy


Link: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)


Author: Susanne Scholz, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Abstract: »The article examines the epistemological imbalance that currently exists in the area of biblical and ancient Near Eastern rape laws. The imbalance reflects a larger development in western intellectual discourse in which we are moving from an empiricist-positivist epistemology to a postmodern epistemology. The former is characteristic of the modern western worldview and assumes objectivity, value neutrality, and universality. It is primarily interested in the historical quest. The latter recognizes the contextualized, particularized, and localized nature of all exegetical work, and emphasizes the readers' responsibilities in the meaning-making process. Three sections structure the investigation. A first section examines how empiricist-positivist readings present Deut. 21:10-14 as a law on marriage and not on rape. A second section analyzes Deut. 22:22-29, and shows how this biblical passage emerges as adultery laws within the modern paradigm of interpretation. A third section focuses on ancient Near Eastern legislation to demonstrate that the laws address the rapes of women, children, and certain kinds of animals when a reader, living in the contemporary global rape culture, searches for rape in the ancient legislative materials. A conclusion acknowledges the current impasse between modern and post-modem epistemologies in reading biblical and ancient Near Eastern legislation and suggests that currently this imbalance cannot be evened out.« (Source: Journal of Religion & Abuse)

Note: Scholz, Susanne. »'Back Then It Was Legal': The Epistemological Imbalance in Readings of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Rape Legislation.« Bible and Critical Theory 1 (2005).

Wikipedia: Hebrew Bible: Book of Deuteronomy; Laws regarding rape