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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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Biblical Sex

Biblical Sex

Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4–36:43)

(p.47) Eight Biblical Sex
Torah Queeries

David Brodsky

NYU Press

This chapter argues that a language's lack of a term for a concept is indicative of more than just the difficulty in expressing the concept, as well as the lack of the concept in general. For instance the lack of any term for homosexuality in the premodern world suggests that such cultures lacked the binary homo-/heterosexuality in which contemporary Western cultures operate. In relation to this statement, the Parashat Vayishlach of Genesis lacks the precise term for the term rape to describe the sexual abuse of that happened to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah. This obscurity shows that the Hebrew Bible lacks certain words in expressing some concepts.

Keywords:   Parashat Vayishlach, rape, Jacob, Dinah, Leah, Biblical Hebrew

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