Fortress Press

Battered Love: Marriage, Sex, and Violence in the Hebrew Prophets

Battered Love

Marriage, Sex, and Violence in the Hebrew Prophets

Renita J. Weems (Author)


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Weems's pioneering study explores the puzzling ways in which the Hebrew prophets' portrayals of divine love, compassion, and conventional commitment often became associated with battery, infidelity, and the rape and mutilation of women. She wrestles with the prophets' rhetoric and sexual metaphors to uncover Israelite social structures, asking, "What is implied about women, men, and God by the language that the prophets use to describe the covenant between Yahweh and Israel?" This provocative work by a leading African American biblical scholar delves deeply into issues of intimacy and power, violence and control, seduction and betrayal, and is a searing indictment of the axial points of Israelite religion—its covenantal and prophetic traditions—and their authority today.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800629489
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 168
  • Publication Date November 30, 1995


"Renita Weems may well have given us one of the most significant texts in biblical scholarship in our time. Battered Love unmasks the violence against women incorporated in certain images and symbols used by some of the biblical prophets to convey God's relation to God's people. In her exciting work, Weems has provided insights that will influence womanists, feminists, and other scholars in religious studies to reflect upon the violence embedded in the sacred texts of the religions they explore. I recommend Battered Love to everyone who wants to know more about the anatomy of prophetic word in the Bible."
— Delores S. Williams, Union Theological Seminary

"Renita Weems has explored the capacity of sexist metaphors and images to authorize and legitimate sexist human power.... Weems is here breaking new ground and advancing the argument in important ways."
— Walter Bruegemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

Table of Contents

    Editor's Foreword
    Introduction: A Metaphor's Fatal Attraction

  1. "You Have the Forehead of a Whore"
    The Rhetoric of a Metaphor

  2. " Is She Not My Wife?"
    Prophets, Audiences, and Expectations

  3. "Am I Not Her Husband?"
    The Unpredictable and Unimaginable God

  4. "Yet I Will Remember My Covenant with You"
    The World of Romance and Rape