Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Of Biblical Proportions

At this point, you may have realized that I have an affinity, one might even say a love, for the Bible. Not a “knock on your door and introduce you to Jesus” love or a “you should read the Bible every day because it is the literal word of God and will keep you safe from sin” love, but a “No thanks, random Bible guy on the street, I already own five different copies of the Old Testament” love (and please don’t ask me about preferences, each edition has its strengths and weaknesses). It’s a full-blown, biblical critical, literary analytical, socio-political, Wellhausen love. In the format of this blog, I’ve incorporated my fascination with the Bible tangentially, as my posts tend to reflect the content of the blogosphere and for some reason that I cannot fathom, not many bloggers devote their time to pondering the nuances of biblical grammar. That said, today was my lucky day, biblically speaking (thanks for the tip-off, Annie).

Lot’s Daughter created a blog in which she reflects on her experiences as, you guessed it, Lot’s daughter from Genesis. She’s only posted thrice, but they are a powerful example of the genre that Storahtelling attempts in its live performances. Although a little uneven, the first-person perspective works because Lot’s daughter’s writing is strong and her emotions are rawly reflected. Usually, I am wary of overly creative interactions with the text because they tend to detract (even distract) from a deeper understanding of its meaning. I’d much rather open a lexicon a do a little inter-textual analysis, if you know what I mean. But Lot’s Daughter offers a perspective that I’ve found it difficult in the past to consider and, in doing so, humanizes a unnamed character. Her work is reminiscent in method and in effect, if not in tone, of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent.

Speaking of which, the second site that ticked my biblical fancy was the Big Pharaoh Blog, which posted a piece on the riots and sexual assault in Cairo over the weekend. You would not think that this horrible incident would have biblical implications, but the title of the post made me gasp out loud: Dina Blamed for Mass Sexual Assault. The reason I did a double take is because the post title could have been taken straight from the Bible; the biblical Dina was the cause (without personal agency) of a mass sexual assault. After Shechem rapes Dina (Genesis 34:2), Jacob agreed to their marriage on the condition that the men of the town get circumcised. While the men of the city lay recovering, Simeon and Levi massacre everyone and retrieve Dina (about whom not another substantive word is spoken). In fact, the actual post reports that “the weekly newspaper El Esboua is blaming Egypt's top belly dancer for the mass sexual harassment that took place in front of a downtown movie theater.” Not biblical, but maintaining the theme of blaming women for their sexuality, removing their agency, and using them to justify violence. How far we’ve come, right?

2 comments:

the BFG said...

How far, indeed. Public belly-dancing in Cairo.

sherbs said...

remember all the women who the Bible hates? I do. Especailly Judges 19-21. Oh, and Michal. Oh, and every single woman in wisdom liturature. (Not entirely true. The Bible does like a few women but on the whole, hates people--they just keep messing up, men, women, children)

But man, I love me them peals. They're like chocolate. Maybe better. I haven't decided yet. Especially since the doubling of the second root letter is the same in all semetics in the second conjugation form. Mmmmm....