Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives by Phyllis Trible
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While Trible's literary/rhetorical criticism asks a lot of an ancient, multi-sourced text, the endeavor is still humbling in scope and purpose. Published over 25 years ago now, Texts of Terror is still a shining example of feminist Biblical criticism, as well a work of deep faith, hope and compassion. Trible takes four of the most disturbing Biblical examples of sexual violence against women and exegetes them with a Christological lens. Buried under the violence, subjugation and silencing, Trible unearths the following women:
Hagar: Egyptian Slave Woman
She was wounded for our transgressions; she was bruised for our iniquities
Genesis 16;1-16; 21:9-21
Tamar: Princess of Judah
A woman of sorrows and acquainted with grief
2 Samuel 13:1-22
An Unnamed Woman: Concubine from Bethlehem
Her body was broken and given to many
The Daughter of Jephthah: Virgin in Gilead
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken her?
By reading these texts closely and attending to the subject/object of grammar and the often chiasmic nature of the syntax, Trible finds the people and poetry under the stories, and through them, a glimpse of redemption for these texts of terror as they reveal the brokenness of human violence paired with solidarity in Christ's suffering and sacrifice.
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