The Troubling Absence of Consent in OT Law and Narrative

The issue of consent has been much discussed in the wake of, among other things, the #MeToo movement, and I was wondering how we can relate that to the types of marriage practices that we see in the Bible, where consent really is not at the forefront, if relevant at all. What are we to make of concubinage, war brides, bride kidnapping (in Judges), rape laws (where unbetrothed virgins may be given in marriage to their rapists) or just the fact that Mosaic law seems to place a daughter’s choice of spouse entirely in her father’s hands? Many have highlighted that what David did to Bathsheba was most likely rape, but do we also change the way we speak about, say, Abraham and Hagar? As a concubine/slave, was Hagar in a position to consent? How do we speak honestly and forcefully about the evil of forced marriage and the importance of consent, considering that the Bible does not seem to condemn these things in a straightforward way? The Church has historically held that mutual consent is necessary for marriage, but was that arrived at independent of the biblical witness or in proper extrapolation from it? I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

Continue reading “The Troubling Absence of Consent in OT Law and Narrative”

Theopolis Podcast: Resurrection in the Story of Joseph

On this episode of the Theopolis podcast, both Peter Leithart and James Jordan are away, so I discuss themes of resurrection in the story of Joseph by myself.

You can follow the Theopolis podcast on SoundcloudiTunes, and on most podcast apps. You can read show notes over on the Theopolis podcast website. You can also see past episodes I have contributed to by clicking the ‘Theopolis Podcast’ link in the bar above. If you would like to leave a question for us to answer, please do so on our Curious Cat page.

Levirate Marriage

What were the purposes of levirate marriage? I can see that it would help to provide for widows, but its described purposes appear to go beyond that. In our culture, if a brother dies, he and his brother already share a name and his nieces and nephews by a brother will carry on the family name. My understanding is that the Israelites did not have family names in the same manner as modern English-speaking cultures. What was different about Israelite culture that causes the first child born of a levirate marriage being described in Deuteronomy 25 as assuming the name of the dead brother (and what does such a taking of the brother’s name mean, in cultural context)? Also, does levirate marriage imply polygamy because of how, with regard to the levirate marriage, it apparently contains an increased risk that the surviving brother will not have a child from that marriage to succeed him (if, for instance, he only has one son by that wife)?

Continue reading “Levirate Marriage”