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Rape

Marrying a Beautiful Captive Woman

If an Israelite wishes to marry a woman taken captive in war, she becomes part of the Israelite polity and is protected from future re-enslavement. Uncomfortable with the Torah’s permitting this marriage, the rabbis declare it to be a compromise to man’s “evil impulse,” an idea reminiscent of Jesus’ claim that the Torah allows divorce as a compromise to humanity’s “hard heart.”

Prof. Rabbi

Shaye J. D. Cohen

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Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Channah, Daughter of Mattathias: Instigator of the Maccabean Rebellion

1 Maccabees recounts how Mattathias instigated a rebellion against the Greeks out of zealotry against Jewish idolatry. Later midrashim tell how Mattathias’ daughter Channah goaded her father and brothers into fighting the Greeks to protect her from being raped by the local governor.

Prof.

Rachel Adelman

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Who Is the Victim in the Dinah Story?

We can not imagine anyone but Dinah as the victim, but does the Torah? Do the Rabbis? Understanding the story of Dinah and its reception in historical context can help us reflect on the role of women in ancient Israel and the meaning of sexual violence in a patriarchal society.

Dr.

Alison L. Joseph

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The Debasement of Dinah

Historical-critical scholarship, combined with philology demonstrates that we have been reading (and critiquing!) “The Rape of Dinah” story based on anachronistic assumptions.[1]

Dr.

Shawna Dolansky

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The Rape of the Unbetrothed Virgin in Torah and Assyrian Law

A Comparative Analysis

Dr.

Eve Levavi Feinstein

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Critiquing the Moral Failings in the Bible

A Time-Honored Tradition

Dr. Rabbi

Eugene Korn

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The Story of the Concubine at Gibeah: A Satire on King Saul

Why is the Benjaminite city of Gibeah portrayed as another Sodom—and who is the anonymous Levite from Ephraim who arrives there with his concubine?

Dr.

Sara Milstein

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Marrying Your Daughter to Her Rapist

Are the Torah’s laws perfect or do they reflect biblical times and can adapt as society develops? The punishment of a rapist is a good test case for thinking about morally problematic biblical laws.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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