The Virgin and the Whore – An Interreligious Challenge for Our Times: Exploring the Politics of Religious Belonging with Tamar

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Abstract

The boundaries of religious belonging are often based upon essentialist patriarchal conceptions of decency and morality that have been shaped into doctrine; those who are deemed indecent are marginalized to locations of struggle and often met with violence – thus presenting an interreligious challenge for our times. This paper will explore the gendered politics of religious belonging through an intersectional lens, focusing on the virgin/whore dichotomy in Christianity. It aims to undress exclusive notions of religious belonging and expose the hegemonic systems that have created ideological boundaries intended to control the bodies of women. It will then look to the narrative of Tamar and Judah in the book of Genesis, where prostitution, Levirate marriage, widowhood, childbirth, ethnicity, honour killing, and sexual desires shape the text and force the reader to confront questions of morality, justice, and the politics of religious belonging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-705
Number of pages13
JournalThe Ecumenical Review
Volume71
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • belonging
  • virgin
  • whore
  • Tamar

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