Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sexual Violence in Ezekiel

Detail from the Balawat Gates

Recently I read a fascinating paper by one of my Ezekiel students, Peter G., on sexual violence in Ezekiel (chps. 16 & 23) and how one might contextualize the horrific imagery in order to understand its place. Peter's paper draws particularly on the work of Daniel Smith-Christopher and that of Gale Yee. Stripping as sexual humiliation of war-prisoners was an experience that Ezekiel and his audience would have been well familiar with (see the sample image above). In part, Ezekiel's imagery reflects the realia of the times. This realia was essentially what God had to work with when it came time for judgment to fall. (This is my own formulation of the matter.) Peter also gets into how oppression and violence often lead to a re-directing of the humiliation so that members within the oppressed inflict it upon themselves (i.e., upon their own comrades). Ezekiel may be unconsciously "re-directing" his own humiliation as a war prisoner in siding so strongly and unsympathetically against the female figures in Ezekiel 16 & 23.


Blogger Iyov said...

This is an interesting post, and I found myself wanting to know more about the thesis.

Ezekiel is so full of shocking imagery -- I recently blogged about Ezekiel 8:17.

Wed Jun 20, 04:25:00 PM GMT-5  

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