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Signs of VirginityTesting Virgins and Making Men in Late Antiquity$
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Michael Rosenberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190845896

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190845896.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 August 2021

Bloodied Sheets

Bloodied Sheets

The Biblical Nuptial Bed as Rape Scene

(p.31) 2 Bloodied Sheets
Signs of Virginity

Michael Rosenberg

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   Hebrew Bible, Lot, bloody sheet, Deuteronomy, virginity

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