Divine Injustice

Violence and Violation as Prophetic Image of God

  • William C. Woody College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA


While the Judeo-Christian religious tradition promotes an image of God characterized by mercy and compassion, one cannot deny the startling images in scripture of a wrathful God who seemingly condones sexual violence and rape as divinely-sanctioned punishments. This article reviews existing interpretive strategies designed to salvage the image of a merciful and compassionate deity despite depictions of a violent and sexually-violating God in the scriptural texts. These attempts at interpretation, however, are not without their limitations and problems. After surveying and critiquing attempts at interpreting images of divine wrath, this article seeks to reinterpret the texts as a divinely-inspired and implicit critique of the religious tradition itself – one which has enabled and even promoted sexual subjugation, violence, and trauma in the name of God.

Keywords: Divine vengeance, sexual violence, trauma, prophetic tradition, scriptural interpretation

Author Biography

William C. Woody, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA

William Woody, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Originally from Bryn Mawr, PA, he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Scranton and Fordham University in New York. His research interests focus primarily on continental philosophy of religion, specifically the phenomenology of religious experience, liturgy, and prayer, as well as the intersection of faith with postmodern culture.

How to Cite
WOODY, William C.. Divine Injustice. Diakrisis Yearbook of Theology and Philosophy, [S.l.], v. 2, p. 9-24, may 2019. ISSN 2601-7415. Available at: <http://journals.orth.ro/index.php/diakrisis/article/view/239>. Date accessed: 24 may 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.24193/diakrisis.2019.1.