Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Defaming of Dinah

This post is part of a series examining the “strange woman” doctrine. 

The concept of a “strange woman” is an unofficial doctrine** held by some Independent Fundamental Baptists concerning sexually abused girls: They become human garbage and things to be used, to be dispensed with in whatever way is convenient to those who have charge over them. Note that many doctrines in a high demand group are not formally documented but become part of the oral tradition or the hidden curriculum** of their culture and are often more powerful rules than the formally stated ones.

Ron Williams of Hephzibah House offers a very lengthy sermon about this insidiously taught doctrine causing pastors confront occurrences of sexual abuse in their congregations and in educational settings. (Full sermon transcript available HERE. Audio available HERE.)

As I come to the end of this very long sermon which I think has taken me a whole five years to recover after I transcribed it, I have in my mind that I've basically addressed all of these elements already.  Though I will include some information from a previous post, it does apply here.

Some of these ideas are just so ridiculous when I consider what I as taught about them, I just sit in amazement that any Baptist would have knowingly entertained these ideas -- even in the name of Bible study (hermeneutics).

QUOTE: Part II, Dinah's Preventable Defilement
Genesis 34:1-5 “And Dinah the daughter of Leah which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the country, saw her, He took her and lay with her and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob and he loved the damsel and spake kindly unto the damsel. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying ‘Get me this damsel to wife’. And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter, and now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.”

All this unfortunate incident could have been saved if he [Jacob] had just obeyed God when Dinah was just a four or five year old girl. All this could have been saved, it all could have been prevented. But Dinah, for her part, had responsibility too, she was culpable she had her responsibility.

           Her name:
QUOTE: Part I, Leah's Children Have Better Character
Then verse 21 of chapter 30, Dinah comes along and ominously Dinah means ‘judged’, kind of a cryptic expression for what we’re gonna see coming later.

Why is this presumed to be a judgement against Rachel as opposed to a judgement against Jacob for setting up a home in a foreign land full of pagans?

QUOTE: Part II, Dinah's Preventable Defilement
And she had learned her lessons well; she had learned how to be insecure from her mother. She had learned how to emphasize flesh and to appeal to men by flesh from her father, never mind character.

Notice the use of Gotahrd's favorite term of "appeal."  It may not be easy to tell anymore, but I wonder where the cross pollenation started and whether it was the IFB or Gothard who first created the concept -- a servile subordinates only means of seeking justice.

          Dinah's ascribed fault for her own rape:
QUOTE:  Part II, Far Country Disease
But Dinah, for her part, had responsibility too, she was culpable she had her responsibility.
[. . .]
She violated the principle of Titus chapter 2 and verse 5. Now I understand that Titus had not yet been written, but for our benefit the principal of Titus 2:5 is that we should love out homes. . . Because may I say, if you’re not contented with your home then you’re not going to be contented anywhere.
[. . .]
And if you start thinking that someplace else is better than your home, you’re gonna get the far country disease, and you’re gonna get the same kind of mind set that Dinah apparently got here.

Rashi (an acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) was the “father of commentary” who lived from 1040-1105 and worked on the midrash, the extra-biblical texts that sought to fill in the gaps in other Jewish writings. He wrote the first and definitive commentary on the Old Testament and his is the most published, making all other Rabbinical commentaries that followed his own essentially commentaries on his original work as well.  Rashi disliked both Dinah and Leah, Dinah's mother.

     Rashi believes Dinah's actions were obscene.   Rashi pontificates about Dinah after establishing that he thought Leah was no good so no good could come of the evil Dinah as a consequence. Genesis 34:1 says that Dinah goes out to see the daughters of the land, but we are not told whether her activity is either good or bad. It is clear that Scripture does not define “going out” as evil.
Dinah goes out "to see the daughters of the land."  Isaac chose Rebecca from the “daughters of the land,” the same term used in Genesis 34:1.  Why was it fine for Isaac and wrong for Dinah to associate with them -- especially when so much emphasis within Williams' and Gothard's interpretation is placed on this phrase?

     Magical thinking about a "male covering."  Rashi's interpretation of this passage becomes one of the most primary foundations for the mystical doctrine of requiring a male covering through ownership to provide for safety. Had Dinah stayed at home or had been under the supervision of a male, it is argued from silence that she would not have been raped.  This fringe version of Christianity also distorts the Old Testament and ancient Jewish tradition of a bride's price in compensation for raping a young woman

Despite the fact that Proverbs Chapter 31's Woman of Valor goes out of the home to work, to bring food from afar, and buy land after considering the purchase (without note of a male overseer), many patriarchal Christians still hold this interpretation as valid.  It also neglects the examples of women like Deborah (the judge), Ruth and Naomi who journeyed together, or even Jael (alone with her tent peg).  And what of Zelophehad's Daughters?  Even Rabbi Maurice Lamm points out that Judaism allowed women to leave the home freely on their own, even to work, and that they were their own moral agents.  Ancient Judaism allowed women far more freedom than this stripe of patriarchal Christian.

Take note of this quote from Chattel or Person? The Status of Women in the Mishnah by Wegner (pages 4 – 8):

The Mishnah, a book of legal rules compiled by Jewish sages in second century Roman Palestine, depicts a society whose central character is the free adult Israelite male. Possessor of wives, children, land, slaves, livestock, and other chattels, he occupies a sociolegal status not unlike that of the Roman paterfamilias, his counterpart in the dominant culture of the day.

The Mishnah's socioeconomic system, rooted in private property, considers people and things from the perspective of their relationship to the owner or master...

When faced with the need to classify women, the sages treat them very much as they treat the koy [the mythical offspring of a goat and gazelle – a hybrid of a domesticated and wild animals]. They vacillate between defining women as chattel and as person...

To the Mishnah's framers, the, woman presents an anomaly, a “legal hybrid” that defies logical classification. She is “like” a man, hence a person in some ways, and “not like” a man, hence a nonperson, in others.  
As with the koy, the sages, unwilling to recognize an intermediate category, choose to split the woman into her “chattel” and “person” components, depending on context, and treat her accordingly (pp. 4-8).
[. . .]
They perceive the girl not as a human being possessing or lacking sexual experience, but as a chattel whose owner pays bride-price for an intact hymen – an attitude borne out by the casual assumption that men will routinely violate girls in their power, even those of tender years. As shocking as this seems, its chief significance is the perception of the female as a mere sex object (p. 23).
None of this characterizes New Testament Protestant Christianity, particularly in consideration of how Jesus treated women
These Independent Fundamental Baptist and Gothard doctrines have more to do with what is directly written in the Midrash and the commentaries of Rashi – and are not included in Protestant Scripture.