[b-hebrew] Abraham, Sarah, Lot, etc.: Leviticus 18: 7
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jan 1 15:12:51 EST 2008
You wrote: “Recently you said that Leviticus 18:7 does not mean a daughter
and father are not forbidden to each other, but only a son and his parents
are forbidden to each other. I assume it is because the rule is given with
"you" masculine singular. I asked you if that is the same as in the ten
commandments where it also uses "you" masculine singular. Do you think women were
allowed to break some of the ten commandments? So far, you must have forgotten
to answer me, or you didn't notice my email.”
1. You also wrote recently that you have been unable to change my
opinions about anything. I have little expertise on Leviticus or the Ten
Commandments. So I am open to your insights on those matters.
1. In the Patriarchal narratives, no one ever asks what Rebekah’s
religious views are before she marries Isaac. Ditto for Leah and Rachel before
they marry Jacob. Judah marries a non-relative, whose religious views
certainly could not have been monotheistic. At least in the Patriarchal narratives,
this does not seem to be an issue.
By stark contrast, each woman in the Patriarchal narratives is expected to
do whatever it may take to provide her man with a son, no matter what. The
one woman who fails to do that is Lot’s wife, and Lot’s wife is the only woman
in the entirety of the Patriarchal narratives who is punished.
But on that score, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Er’s
sin must have been that he did not make a concerted effort to sire a son by
his wife Tamar. Onan’s sin is certainly that, after the death of his older
brother Er, Onan did not make a good faith effort to sire a son by Tamar on Er’
s behalf. Both Er and Onan promptly die.
So in the Patriarchal narratives, childbearing issues are more important
than traditional religious views, in terms of who gets divinely killed and who
Moving now to the relevant secular history, note that Akhenaten had no
complaints about Nefertiti’s religious views. Rather, the crisis that Nefertiti
caused Akhenaten was the fact that Nefertiti never bore Akhenaten a son.
Looking at Nefertiti’s age and the ages of the 6 daughters that she bore, a
reasonable assumption is that Nefertiti refused to get pregnant again after
bearing her last two sickly daughters, on the grounds that being well into middle
age, Nefertiti’s chances of bearing a healthy male child at this point were
minimal, whereas having another pregnancy would almost certainly significantly
reduce her life expectancy. Though to us moderns, that position of Nefertiti
seems eminently reasonable, Akhenaten would have thought of that as being
essentially treasonous. Beloved Matriarch #1 Sarah righteously exemplifies the
opposite childbearing view of a woman well into middle age. Lot’s wife,
though, appears to be like Nefertiti on this critical issue, in my controversial
view of the case.
Thus both in the Patriarchal narratives and in secular history, what really
counted for the first historical monotheists was their women’s childbearing
views, not their women’s religious views narrowly defined. In my
controversial view, whatever was of critical importance to Akhenaten in Years 14 and 15
of his 17-year reign is exactly what is invariably focused upon in the
Patriarchal narratives. And Akhenaten’s controversial, unpopular actions are never
castigated in the Patriarchal narratives, but rather are consistently
justified, believe it or not. In my controversial view of the case, the first
historical Hebrew composed the Patriarchal narratives, and his immediate motive for
doing so was to rouse Akhenaten from Akhenaten’s terrible depression over
Akhenaten’s drastically deteriorating family situation, so that Akhenaten would
not fail to defend Canaan (and the new Hebrews) from being overrun by the
dreaded Hittites. My controversial, unique theory of the case seems to be
able to explain all aspects of the Patriarchal narratives, as far as I can see.
But to the extent that you can poke holes in my analysis of the Patriarchal
narratives, I’m all ears.
Since the Patriarchal narratives consistently “march to the beat of a
different drummer”, it would not surprise me in the slightest if you demonstrated
that all the rest of the Bible has a very different viewpoint on the above
3. I never duck a question from anyone about the Patriarchal narratives.
But when you ask me whether I think the Ten Commandments apply to women as
well as men, you have ventured far outside my limited realm of expertise. Why
don’t you post your own thoughts, and then I will learn from you?
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