Violence and Violation as Prophetic Image of God
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