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"The Harlot By The Side Of The Road"

1086 words - 5 pages

"The Harlot by the Side of the Road" was an interesting look at stories from the Bible that most people do not even know exist. In Sunday school and church you never hear the stories of rape, incest and violence that Jonathan Kirsch explains in this book. The teachers and pastors screen what knowledge of the Bible they teach you, leaving out the stories of the ever so controversial topic of sex. Through out the stories I had read of the forbidden tales, some themes that arose to my attention were that women always seem to be at the center of controversy or the cause of it, and that women had the instinctive ability to scheme and use trickery to get what they wanted or what they were entitled ...view middle of the document...

Tamar, eventually learning of her father-in-laws deception, decides to take what is rightfully hers. So Tamar sits by the road dressed as a Harlot and tricks Judah into lying with her. Ultimately, she conceives a child with none other than Judah himself. Tamar uses a vindictive scheme of seducing her father-in-law to regain her status in society and in the house of Judah. Tamar refused to be left at home, widowed and forgotten. She was promised a son and a place in Judah's house, and that was what she was going to get. "Tamar is a woman whose will is so strong, whose passion burns so bright, that she writes herself into history though an act of illicit physical love," (Kirsch, 125). This is much the same scenario with the story of Lot and his daughters. Although incest, in today's society, is the most incomprehensible act that anyone can perform, in ancient times, it was not as unthinkable as never baring children. Lots daughters, after retreating to the mountains, must look to the future. With the realization that they are the only three people left on earth, the daughters scheme to lay with their fathers so that they could each bare a child and continue the family name. In this story, as well as the story of Tamar, women seem to have little significance in society, other than baring children. In the unfortunate circumstance that this task becomes impossible, then women take matters into their own hands. Planning and conspiring to do what ever is necessary to fulfill their needs wants and desires. The other theme of these stories, "controversy", has a much more profound statement. The remaining stories of the book, with some exceptions, have women at the center of controversy and ultimately murder and/or war. The women did not seem to intentionally cause the controversy that centered around them. Women were...

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