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Old Testament Essays

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


CLAASSENS, L. Juliana. Female resistance in spite of injustice: human dignity and the daughter of Jephthah. Old testam. essays [online]. 2013, vol.26, n.3, pp.607-622. ISSN 2312-3621.

The tragic story of the daughter of Jephthah (Judges 11) offers a chilling account of the dehumanising effects of patriarchy. Not only does the fact that this young woman has no name attests to how little value she and other women held in a society structured around male honor, but it is through patriarchy's power that Jephthah's daughter loses her life. And yet, one finds in the daughter of Jephthah narrative and its reception hints of female resistance in spite of domination. As part of a larger project on Gender and Human Dignity, I propose that reading this narrative through the lens of human dignity, which draws on insights from gender and postcolonial interpretation, may enhance our understanding of this story. In particular, this paper will focus on female resistance in spite of injustice which points to the incontrovertible and indestructible nature of human dignity. In the narrative of the daughter of Jephthah and its interpretation history, one sees an example of a woman, who even though she finds herself trapped in circumstances that violate their self-worth, resists the indignity that had befallen her. This resistance is frequently limited but, as I will argue in this paper, by no means insignificant.

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