Added: October 7, 2006 – Last updated: October 7, 2017


Author: Frank M. Yamada

Title: Configurations of Rape in the Hebrew Bible

Subtitle: A Literary Analysis of Three Rape Narratives

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, Princeton Theological Seminary

Advisor: Jacqueline E. Lapsley

Year: September 2004

Pages: 203pp.

OCLC Number: 936544750 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Cases: Offenders / Amnon, Shechem; Cases: Victims / Dinah, Tamar; Representations: Biblical Texts / Book of Genesis, Book of Judges, Books of Samuel; Types: Gang Rape


Link: ProQuest (Restricted Access)


Author: Frank Yamada, Association of Theological Schools

Abstract: »There are three rape narratives in the Hebrew Bible--Gen 34, Judg 19, and 2 Sam 13. Each displays similar configurations of rape that progresses to further male violence and results in social fragmentation. All three texts make this move to further retributive violence even when a less violent alternative to rape exists in the legal material of the Hebrew Bible. This dissertation argues that Gen 34, Judg 19, and 2 Sam 13 bear a family resemblance to each other in that they move through this similar progression. Each narrative, however, bears this development out in particular ways based on the themes and literary context of each story.
Chapter 1 provides a rationale for doing a study of these three rape narratives and a survey of scholarship on this topic. Though these narratives display similar progression and vocabulary, few scholars have explored the relationship between them. Scholarship on the rape narratives has emphasized modern assumptions about rape or has reduced the dynamics of the stories to cultural patterns such as honor and shame.
Chapters 2 through 4 provide literary interpretations of Gen 34, Judg 19, and 2 Sam 13. Each narrative displays the progression of rape [arrow right] excessive male violence [arrow right] social fragmentation. Within these literary interpretations, however, I also show how these texts move through this progression in ways that are particular to each narrative's literary and thematic context. The rape in Gen 34 is complicated by issues of group boundary negotiation. The sexual violence and subsequent tribal retaliation within Judg 19 is characteristic of the moral and social decline at the end of the book of Judges. The rape of Tamar is determined by issues of royal succession and divine judgment within the Davidic line.
In the conclusion, I summarize the results of the literary analyses within Chapters 2 through 4, and suggest how this study contributes to the study of violence against women in the biblical texts and the examinations of narrative biblical literature more generally.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abbreviations (p. vii)
  Acknowledgments (p. x)
  Chapter One: Introduction, the Problem of Rape in the Biblical Texts and Culture (p. 1)
    Introduction (p. 1)
    Scope of the Study (p. 7)
      Reading the Rape Texts Collectively (p. 8)
    Survey of Research on the Rape Narratives (p. 11)
      Feminist Interpretations of the Rape Texts (p. 13)
      Cultural Interpretations of the Rape Texts: Explorations in Honor and Shame (p. 18)
      Reading Connections Between the Rape Texts (p. 24)
      Summary (p. 26)
    Legal Material on Rape (p. 27)
  Chapter Two: Genesis 34, the Rape of Dinah, the Disputes of Men and the Division of a Family (p. 33)
    Introduction (p. 33)
    The Rape Text Progression (p. 37)
      The Rape of Dinah (p. 38)
        Excursus: Was Dinah Raped? (p. 44)
      Male Responses to Rape: Negotiations and Retributive Violence (p. 58)
        Jacob's Response: Ambiguous Silence (p. 59)
        The Response of Shechem and Hamor: Negotiation With an Ulterior Motive (p. 63)
        The Response of Jacob's Son: Indignation, Deception, and Retaliation (p. 71)
      Social Fragmentation: Severed Ties and Family Dissension (p. 81)
    Summary and Conclusion (p. 85)
  Chapter Three: Judges 19, the Rape of the Nameless Concubine, Hospitality Gone Awry and the Decline of a Nation (p. 87)
    Introduction (p. 87)
    The Context of Rape (p. 90)
      The Narrative Context of Judg 17-21: Social and Moral Decline (p. 90)
      Framing the Rape: Two Hospitality Scenes (p. 93)
        Hospitality Scene One: Excessive Hospitality in the House of the Father (p. 94)
        Hospitality Scene Two: Gibeah and an Old Ephraimite Man (p. 103)
          A Brief Interlude: Setting the Stage for Gibeah (p. 104)
          The Inhospitality and Hostility of Gibeah (p. 106)
    The Rape Text Progression (p. 112)
      The Rape of the Unnamed Woman (p. 112)
      Male Responses to Rape: A Problematic Call to Battle and Civil War (p. 118)
        The Levite's Response: Indifference and an Excessively Violent Call to Battle (p. 119)
        Israel's Response: Civil War and the Near Decimation of Benjamin (p. 125)
      Social Fragmentation: Social and Moral Collapse in a Time Without a King (p. 129)
    Summary and Conclusion (p. 131)
  Chapter Four: 2 Samuel 13:1-22, the Rape of Tamar and the Fragmentation of a Kingdom (p. 133)
    Introduction (p. 133)
    The Context of Rape: Judgment and Succession (p. 135)
    The Rape Text Progression (p. 140)
      The Rape of Tamar (p. 141)
        The Relational Dynamics of Rape in David's House (p. 141)
        Setting the Stage for Rape: The Plot to Seduce Tamar (p. 145)
        Rape and Resistance (p. 151)
          Tamar's Initial Resistance (p. 151)
          Amnon's Rape of Tamar: Love Turns to Hate (p. 156)
          The Post Rape Responses of Amnon and Tamar (p. 157)
      Male Responses to Rape: Dynamics of Love and Hate (p. 162)
        Initial Responses to Rape: Absalom and David (p. 163)
        Absalom's Violent Response: Revenge Against Amnon (p. 169)
      Social Fragmentation: Family Strife and Royal Succession (p. 171)
    Summary and Conclusion (p. 176)
  Conclusion (p. 177)
    Summary (p. 177)
    Implications for Research (p. 183)
  Bibliography (p. 188)

Editions: Yamada, Frank M. Configurations of Rape in the Hebrew Bible: A Literary Analysis of Three Rape Narratives. New York 2008. – Bibliographic Entry: Info

Wikipedia: Bible: Old Testament / Book of Genesis, Book of Judges, Books of Samuel | Crime and punishment in the Bible: Rape in the Hebrew Bible / Amnon, Dinah, Tamar (daughter of David) | Sex and the law: Gang rape