Remember in the last blog I mentioned that I usually have 5-10 people at these sessions on the faith community and abuse/rape. Well, this time I had a group of over 60 which was quite surprising. We spent about 15 minutes looking at the Rape of Dinah in Genesis 34 (they were in groups of 6 reading it aloud and discussing it) and then came back together. It is exciting listening to sexual assault and domestic violence advocates share their insights into a Biblical narrative. I then had the group come back together and share their comments. As we talked I tried to fill in the information concerning the theological background, cultural issues, and historical interpretation of the text. One interesting discussion centered around the fact that Josephus (100 AD) and Philo (300 AD) claim Dinah was raped but the Talmud (500+ Ad) suggests Dinah (her name means justice) dressed like a whore and got what she deserved. Even more interesting was how the ancient views were as common as the daily newspaper. Historically Dinah has always been blamed for the rape and the struggle to give her justice continues as Dinah’s sisters are silent today. Dinah, as many victims of rape, remained silent.
I love teaching the Bible. Even more I love it when a group of people look at the sacred text and believe that it is relevant. We talked about how to engage clergy in these texts and victims from faith based communities. However I will always be troubled by the resistance I see in clergy and faith communities to speak out against rape. Nevertheless, I will always be encouraged by those in the community who speak out and are willing to engage God in the word.