Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: December 1, 2022 - Last updated: May 1, 2023


Speaker: Alice Yafeh-Deigh

Title: "Wife of Promiscuity and Children of Promiscuity"

Subtitle: The Legitimation and Normalization of Sexual Violence and Illegitimacy Disability through Hosea's Marriage Metaphor!

Conference: Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (November 19-22, 2022) - Online Program

Session: S19-306: Biblical Hebrew Poetry. Theme: Reading Biblical Hebrew Poetry and the World in front of the Text (Chair: Beth Stovel)

Place: Denver, Colorado, United States

Date: November 19, 2022

Language: English

Keywords: Ancient History: Israelite History | Representations: Religious Texts / Book of Hosea; Society: Rape Culture / Metaphors


Link: -


Speaker: Alice Yafeh-Deigh, Department of Biblical and Religious Studies, Azusa Pacific University - ResearchGate

Abstract: »The first three chapters of the book of Hosea use a prophetic marriage metaphor that prominently represents God's covenant relationship with Israel as a marriage contract between God, the husband (Hosea), and Israel, the wife (Gomer). There is widespread consensus that whatever the metaphor's referential meaning, it is couched in language that is "disturbing, fragmented, outrageous, and notoriously problematic (Yvonne Sherwood, 1996:11). A substantial body of literature has attempted to address the complex conundrum posed by the prophetic marriage metaphor. This paper joins a growing body of feminist research that has caused a seismic shift in how the first three chapters of Hosea are read and understood. The body of literature does not shy away from addressing the misogynist tropes of the promiscuous woman (1:2) and the sexualized and abusive imageries encapsulated in Hosea 2:2-23. Through an Afro-womanist postcolonial rereading of Hosea's marriage metaphor, the paper argues that in Cameroonian contexts where women are exposed to public humiliation, shame, and a daily violation of their intrinsic human rights, Hosea's marriage metaphor is a problematic text of terror. It also argues that Hosea's prophetic invective about children of promiscuity (2:4) reinforces discrimination against illegitimate children. It strikes a deep and painful chord in many children in Cameroonian social locations where illegitimate children suffer discriminatory treatment based on their birth. Therefore, Hosea's marriage metaphor is not helpful in contemporary Cameroonian socio-religious contexts.« (Source: Online Program of the Society of Biblical Literature)

Wikipedia: Ancient history: History of ancient Israel and Judah | Bible: Hebrew Bible / Book of Hosea | Sex and the law: Sexual violence / Rape in the Hebrew Bible