The Biblical Nuptial Bed as Rape Scene
Although female virginity is clearly prized in the Hebrew Bible, the reasons for this prizing are far from clear. The bloodied sheets test of Deuteronomy 22, however, suggests that the valorizing of virginity is tied up with male violence—a connection made stronger when Deuteronomy is read alongside Genesis 19. Both Deut. 22:20–21 and Gen. 19:4–11 highlight the ways in which the biblical construction of female virginity is imbricated with male sexual aggression. Whether this connection of virginity and violence reflects something about the origins of this culture’s concerns with female virginity or is simply the consequence of some other set of concerns, one should not read Deut. 22:13–21 without the implications of Gen. 19:4–11 informing one’s understanding.
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