b-hebrew digest: September 28, 1999

Bill Rea cctr114 at its.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Sep 29 18:42:52 EDT 1999

Peter Kirk wrote:-

>I wasn't trying to compare the situation to Blackadder at all, except 
>to illustrate the use of the term "wench" for Henry's "woman as seen 
>from a reductionist/objectified male viewpoint". But then you are 
>right to see that this is actually a female viewpoint and the word 
>chosen should be appropriate to that. The women would be interested in 
>the girls as servants and simply ignore how the men used them.

As long as you don't interpret "female viewpoint" to mean 
20th century feminist viewpoint. As an example, in cultures where
polygamous marriages are common, often the senior wife is intimately
involved in choosing the second or subsequent wives. This doesn't
fit with a western feminist's viewpoint, but it is clearly a
valid femine view. 

I would not be at all surprized if the women of the poem were *not*
ignoring how the men were using the defeated women, but were actively
giving their approval to the raping which was going on. The passage
seems to read that way to me.


Will Wagers wrote about the use of "bitch":-

>Here,  Afro-Americans use this apparently derogatory word as a common
>term for *woman* or *girl*. They call male friends--*dogs*. So, I don't
>think your analysis applies.

An interesting usage, but one which I feel is not appropriate for the
general audience. It's just too easy to misunderstand even if you gave
a detailed footnote about its usage.  If you were preparing a Bible
translation specifically for your Afro-American community, then maybe
it's a possible word to use.  But if it's a common, not derogatory, word
then I think it misses the point of the Judges passage for the same
reasons I gave yesterday. Sisera' men aren't having a picnic lunch with
a couple of "maidens" in the park, they are siezing the sexual property
of the defeated as part of the spoils of war.

Bill Rea, Information Technology Services, University of Canterbury  \_ 
E-Mail b dot rea at its dot canterbury dot ac dot nz                 </   New 
Phone   64-3-364-2331, Fax     64-3-364-2332                        /)  Zealand 
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