[b-hebrew] Deut. 22:22-29

Bill Rea bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz
Sun Jan 20 16:52:08 EST 2008

Rev Bryant wrote quite a bit which I'll not quote.

Let's go back to the beginning which seems to be lost. The original
context of this thread was that Karl challenged Yitzhak to provide
evidence of a shift in morals between the times of the Hebrew Bible and
now. I can't recall if Yitzhak responded with a specific example but I
remembering reading his responses. Even though I knew I was wasting my
time I put up a specific example.

Forgive me if I get your affliation wrong, but I suspect you are
a conservative Christian as am I. Here's how the NIV translates
this passage. I chose this over other possibilities because its
been translated specifically for the Evangelical market.

>28If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and
>rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay the girl's father
>fifty  shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated
>her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

If I were translating this I wouldn't use the word ``rape'' even though
I agree that's what it means. This is different to our view. One can
argue about who's view is right, but the can be no real doubt,
philosophical presuppositions not withstanding ;-), that there is
a shift in how we view this crime. Both the writer of Deuteronomy,
whoever you conceive him to be, and our present 21st century
Western culture consider this to be a crime. Our response is different.
We jail them, they forced the rapist to marry their victims with
no possibility of divorce. Further, my other example, which was for
comparison, is that of the seduction of a married woman. Both
our culture and theirs views it as morally wrong. But we differ
on its criminality. The Deuteronomist has declared it a criminal offense
and prescribed the death penalty:-

>22 If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who
>slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from

NIV doesn't portray this as rape, and I agree with its view -
it would be unsupported by the underlying Hebrew text.
I'm no lawyer but I would be very surprized to see this on our
statute books as a crime. Again, it is a change of moral values.
You can argue about who's right and who's wrong in their view,
but you can't deny a change in view.

I suspect part of Karl's problem might be this passage from
Exodus 22, again from the NIV:-

>16If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps
>with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. 17 If
>her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the
>bride-price for virgins.

Here the translators have not used the word ``rape'' because the
underlying Hebrew text is different. This is the consensual case. But
again their view is different to ours. If someone shags your daugther,
assuming she's over 16, that just too bad. To the writer of Exodus,
whoever you consider him to be, that's a crime with a fine to be paid and
a marriage to be forcefully entered into but for which the father has the
right of refusal to give her. In the refusal case the fine must still
be paid. Our moral values have shifted. To our law makers this is not
a crime. I find it strange we are even arguing this.

Karl redefined the scope of the question after he'd been given a clear
example. That's shifting the goal posts after the goal had been scored.
There's other examples I could have proposed. You raised homosexual acts.
That's a crime in the books of Moses. Most westerners accept it as within
the normal range of human sexuality. It was a crime which has been wiped
from our statute books. I can't remember exactly when but I would guess
about 20 years ago.

Bill Rea, ICT Services, University of Canterbury \_
E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz                </   New
Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax  64-3-364-2332        /)  Zealand
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