Saturday, 1 March 2014

Hand Chopping in the Bible and A Strange Argument Against It

We have mentioned the Bible passage teaching the amputation of any woman who defends her husband against his assailant via an attack to the his private parts.

"[11] When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, [12] then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall have no pity.” [RSV Deuteronomy 25:11-12]

Now, it is obvious that this passage is teaching hand chopping for any woman carrying out such a low blow. Dr Hector Avalos points out most scholars agree with the obvious reading of the passage (i.e. chopping off the woman’s hand):

Most scholars accept a literal interpretation. For example, Tikva Frymer-Kensky stated the following on p. 1033 of A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law (2 vols.; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2003), which Dr. Matt Flannagan had cited before:

“The penalty for injury is talionic retribution (Lev.24:19-20). The exception is the woman who protects her brawling husband by grabbing the other man’s testicles with force...Her hand is to be cut off (Deut. 25:11-12). Intention does not count, even though she tried to save her husband rather than injure the victim.”  Underhanded Biblical Interpretation: Deuteronomy 25:11-12 in Context by Dr. Hector Avalos

As Christians are busying themselves in repackaging their religion some have proceeded to reinterpret their scriptures to circumnavigate the passages which do not chime with Western norms (i.e. the passages they find to be embarrassing).

Ridiculous: It means shave her pubic hair not chop her hand off!

 Dr Paul Copan, has offered an absolutely absurd explanation of Deuteronomy 25:11-12:

“...A more plausible interpretation of the passage is the punishment by depilation (‘you shall shave [the hair of] her groin’), not mutilation.”  Underhanded Biblical Interpretation: Deuteronomy 25:11-12 in Context by Dr. Hector Avalos

Dr Copan, describes his explanation as “more plausible”. Is he for real? Does he really think the Biblical term “have no pity” can relate to shaving a woman’s pubic hair???

Moreover, how in the world would shaving a woman’s groin be related to a punishment for her injuring of a man via a low blow???

Nevertheless, expect the new age Christian flock spouting such odd reasoning in their attempts to pre-emptively strike at  what some in the churches may feel uncomfortable

New Testament Studies for Christians and Muslims



Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

By Minoria:

About cutting off the hand of the woman,if I am not wrong,Jesus gives a different interpretation.Since for Christians Jesus was God then it is the final word.

In Matthew 23:2-3 Jesus says the PHARISEES have the correct interpretation of Mosaic Law:

"Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses;

3therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them."


The Pharisees did not interpret it literally but metaphorically:the PRICE of an EYE for an EYE LOST,etc.In fact,Pharisaic Judaism was the most popular form and is the one we have today.

I really don't know what the Pharisees said about the cutting the hand Mosaic law.But since scholars says it was part of the Lex Talionis(eye for eye,tooth for tooth),then I assume they took it metaphorically.The PRICE of a HAND to be paid.