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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


VAN DER MERWE, Natashia C.  and  COETZEE, Johan H.. An alternative ideology relating to difference as hidden polemic in the Book of Judges: Judges 4-5 as an illustration. Old testam. essays [online]. 2009, vol.22, n.3, pp.677-694. ISSN 2312-3621.

In the book of Judges we come across the literary depiction of a corporate body (tribe or a group of tribes) consisting of individuals seeking to survive in the midst of threatening danger. The reader would, therefore, expect to find the literary depiction of Israel's survival being produced by ideal bodies (whole male warriors) in the book, as this reflects Israel's dominant body ideology related to good order. However, contrary to the expected literary depiction, it is the unwhole, different-functioning body, which is depicted as producing survival for the corporate body. This is further emphasised by the fact that the whole, functioning bodies are depicted as jeopardising the survival of the corporate body. The hypothesis of this article is that the paradoxical depiction of bodies in Judges serves as counterculture rhetoric in the form of a hidden polemic to advocate an alternative body ideology of difference. This hidden polemic criticises both the dominant body ideology of the whole body and the idea of good order, which go hand in hand. The alternative ideology proposes that difference is not threatening, but is in fact beneficial to society. Judges 4-5 is used as an example to highlight this counterculture rhetoric in the form of a hidden polemic in the book of Judges. It is of vital importance for the church and biblical scholars to take notice of such hidden polemic in the Bible, especially with reference to body ideology and the treatment of so-called unwhole bodies in society.

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