Battered Love (Overtures to Biblical Theology) by Renita Weems

By Renita Weems

Weems's pioneering examine explores the complicated ways that the Hebrew prophets' portrayals of divine love, compassion, and traditional dedication frequently grew to become linked to battery, infidelity, and the rape and mutilation of ladies. She wrestles with the prophets' rhetoric and sexual metaphors to discover Israelite social constructions, asking, "What is implied approximately girls, males, and God through the language that the prophets use to explain the covenant among Yahweh and Israel?" This provocative paintings via a number one African American biblical student delves deeply into problems with intimacy and gear, violence and keep watch over, seduction and betrayal, and is a searing indictment of the axial issues of Israelite religion-its covenantal and prophetic traditions-and their authority this day.

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First, the prophets insisted that the bond between God and Israel was that of a relationship. In fact, all five metaphors taken together insist that God can be known only through an intimate, meaningful relationship, not through abstract contemplation devoid of commitment. Second, the prophets maintained that the relationship between deity and people was not an egalitarian one but was one of hierarchy and authority. In other words, God and Israel were not equals. , parent and child, master and slave).

But attributes are not the only things that are associated with Israel when the metaphor vine is evoked. , annoyance, frustration, impatience) is also transferred to Israel. In that way, attributes and attitudes combine to determine not simply how one is to understand Israel but, most significantly, how one is expected to react to or feel about Israel. What makes metaphorical speech especially effective as a form of social rhetoric is precisely its ability to reorganize our way of thinking about-and reacting to-the subsidiary subject in new and different ways, drawing connections between the two subjects where connections had not been seen before, calling attention to some attributes and not others, and deliberately rousing certain kinds of emotional responses in an audience.

1 Two centuries later, after reminding the people that their devotion to God had been once like that of a bride to her new husband (Jer 2:1-3), the prophet Jeremiah compared Jerusalem's impending ruin to the humiliation a woman experiences when her skirt is snatched up over her head and her sexual parts are bared before the public (jer 13:20-27). To the prophet Ezekiel's thinking, Jerusalem's recent ruin was like the downfall of a loose woman who, despite her husband's love, compassion, and lavish indulgences, had betrayed her husband's kindnesses, pursued lovers as dissolute as herself, and as a result rightly deserved to be left to the vilest impulses of her lovers (Ezekiel 16; 23).

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