Wednesday, March 29, 2017
“Sexual violence in the line of David: The possibilities and limits of recapitulation” abstract acceptance
I was pleased to hear last week of acceptance of a paper proposal for ANZATS (Australia New Zealand Association Theological Schools) 2017 Adelaide conference. This paper is a joint paper, with David Tombs, public theologian at University of Otago. David did a seminar presentation last year and afterward we got chatting about some more systematic theological implications of his work. I had just returned from doing some work with some indigenous students, which had me thinking about the place of genealogy.
Sexual violence in the line of David: The possibilities and limits of recapitulation
Much sexual violence occurs in contexts of kinship, including tragically the family of God. This paper tests notions of recapitulation when lines of kin are stained by sexual violence. Tombs has previously argued that Jesus is a victim of sexual abuse. How is this good news for victims in history?
The genealogy of Matthew 1 connects Jesus with the royal line of David. It names women either sexually mistreated or vulnerable to sexual violence. Tamar is dishonoured by male sexual practices, resorting to prostitution. Bathsheba is sexually preyed upon by a powerful ruler. Rahab as a prostitute is likely to have experienced sexual mistreatment. Ruth’s vulnerability is evident in the encounter with Boaz. A further victim is anonymously present, given David is Tamar’s father, raped by Amnon. The Matthean genealogy thus locates Jesus as a descendant: of men who violate and of women violated. At stake is the depths to which redemption is possible.
Irenaeus offers an essential link between theology and anthropology. For Behr, The Way to Nicaea (2001), these can be summarised as continual presence, making visible and full maturation. (See also Behr, Asceticism and Anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement, (2000)). These ground redemption in humanity experience. Jesus makes sexual violence visible when framed as from the Davidic line. In full maturity, Jesus acts justly toward victims of sexual violence. Gospel episodes of compassion, vulnerability and solidarity become a recapitulation, a contrast to actions of the males in the line of David.
What emerges are starting points for ways to respond to sexual violence, including solidarity, visibility, acting humanly and tending bodies broken.
David Tombs and Steve Taylor
University of Otago and Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership: Flinders University
The acceptance of this paper Sexual violence in the line of David: The possibilities and limits of recapitulation will mean I’m making two contributions to ANZATS 2017. I have already had a poster accepted on Structuring Flipped learning: The use of Blooms taxonomy in the classroom experience for the stream of stream on Learning and Teaching Theology.
If I’m going to cross the ditch, I want to maximise the time, hence the submission of two proposals!
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