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Ritual Violence in the Hebrew BibleNew Perspectives$
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Saul M. Olyan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190249588

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190249588.001.0001

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“The Traffic in Women”

“The Traffic in Women”

Exchange, Ritual Sacrifice, and War

Chapter:
(p.115) 5 “The Traffic in Women”
Source:
Ritual Violence in the Hebrew Bible
Author(s):

Susan Niditch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190249588.003.0006

Ideas rooted in social scientific theory concerning ritual violence frame this study of three sets of material: stories of rape in Genesis 34 and Judges 19 featuring death, warring, and ritual and sacrificial nuances; stories involving wife- or woman-stealing in Deuteronomy 21, Numbers 31, and Judges 21; and the story of Jephthah’s daughter in Judges 11, in which sacrificial ritual involves the giving and slaying of a young woman of marriageable age. Critical to all three is Gayle Rubin’s observation that social relations among men are mediated by the taking and giving of women. The mediation does not always go smoothly, and violence, war, and killing are often components in processes of social transformation. Thinking theoretically points to ways in which the authors of these texts implicitly express doubts about the exchange of women, perhaps offering critique of the very system that they are perpetuating in myth and ritual.

Keywords:   tricksterism, gender, sacrifice, cosmogony, ban, rite of passage, marriage, violence, mediation

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