Monday, March 29, 2010

Week 10.1 -Adultery

A lady or two left the classroom during this discussion/lecture tangent in, as I perceived (biased as I am), denial. The tangent was original from a discussion on the Woman Caught in Adultery passage found in John 8:1-11. It had started off as a linguistic discussion on the Hebrew baraz translated into the English "caught" and a cross-referencing to Numbers 5:13. Apparently there are Rabbinical traditions that take this to be a physical catching. In other words, rape. We usually read it in our English equivalent of "to be caught"as the woman being "discovered in adultery."

The discussion turned, shortly, to adultery. The fact is, only a woman commits adultery. Biblically. A man is never spoken of as committing adultery. A man only commits adultery if he sleeps with another man's wife (Deuteronomy 22:22).

Go ahead. Look it up. I'll wait.

How many examples can you think of off the top of your head of men sleeping with women they aren't necessarily married to without any consequences? The rest of the context of Deuteronomy furthermore makes it clear the male preference. Especially verses 28-29. Keep in mind at this time it is common for a man to have multiple wives.

Furthermore, it was discussed in class that if a woman is raped, though she has not sinned, she is still considered adulterous. Again drawing from Deuteronomy 22 and other verses and examples she can not marry, she is not a virgin. How terrible for the woman!

With the Woman Caught in Adultery in John 8, notice there is no man present. Reread 22:22 and you'll see both the man and the woman must be stoned. Which rules out her being, as the English would render it, discovered in the act of adultery. So, she must have been raped and our physical rendering of "caught" must be applicable here. So, why are the religious leaders wishing to stone her? Probably because of the formulated tradition that a woman is an adulterous whether it is willing sex or forced sex. This isn't new. There are other nations who do not blame men for rape but the women. The question is, is this a right and good theology? Should we be basing our theology of adultery on the Bible?

I would not, that's for sure. And who's to say I can't have multiple husbands, but a man can have multiple wives? Well, that's another discussion.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah,
    You write, "there are other nations who do not blame men for rape but the women" Yep, you're correct. Our country unfortunately also partakes in such nonsense. If you're interested in articles and studies about victim blaming you can check out (this sight uses curse words which many would find offensive, just a warning) and search their sight for "victim blaming" or an equivalent phrase. One recently provided quotes from a fringe "Christian" group. Frightening...