Reinscribing Rape: Tracing Connections Between the Experience of Women and Land in Biblical and Contemporary Texts

  • Emily Colgan
Part of the Religion and Radicalism book series (RERA)


In this chapter, Emily Colgan considers a biblical text that evokes images of gender violence during warfare: Jer. 6:1–8. Drawing upon the ecological principles of suspicion and retrieval, she performs a close reading of this text, focusing in particular on the sexual codifications present therein from the perspective of the Land as city, personified as a woman. Because all knowledge is materially situated, she supplements this reading with an intertextual exploration of the role that texts such as Jer. 6:1–8 play in the discursive formation of individuals and society in her native land of Aotearoa New Zealand. Specifically, she uses a literary critical lens to explores the poem by Māori poet Hone Tuwhare, “Not by wind ravaged,” as a means of analysing the degree to which the violent sexual logic of Jer. 6:1–8 continues to shape the social imaginary of this country.


  1. Alessio, Dominic David. 1997. Domesticating ‘the Heart of the Wild’: Female Personifications of the Colonies, 1886−1940. Women’s History Review 6 (2): 239–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, Leslie C. 2008. Jeremiah: A Commentary, Old Testament Library. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.Google Scholar
  3. Althaus-Reid, Marcella. 2000. Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender and Politics. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baughan, Blanche. 1993. Maui’s Fish (After the Maori Legend). In The New Place: The Poetry of Settlement in New Zealand 1852–1914, ed. Harvey McQueen, 202–212. Wellington: Victoria University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Baumann, Gerlinde. 2003. Love and Violence: Marriage as Metaphor for the Relationship Between YHWH and Israel in the Prophetic Books. Translated by Linda M. Maloney. Collegeville: Liturgical Press.Google Scholar
  6. Ben-Porat, Ziva. 1976. The Poetics of Literary Allusion. PTL: A Journal for Descriptive Poetics and Theory of Literature 1 (1976): 105–128.Google Scholar
  7. Berry, Wendell. 1990. The Responsibility of the Poet. In What Are People For? Essays by Wendell Berry, ed. Wendell Berry, 88–92. London: Rider Books.Google Scholar
  8. Brenner, Athalya. 1997. The Intercourse of Knowledge: On Gendering Desire and “Sexuality” in the Hebrew Bible. Leiden: E. J. Brill.Google Scholar
  9. Bright, John. 1965. Jeremiah. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  10. Brownmiller, Susan. 1975. Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  11. Brueggemann, Walter. 2002. The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith, Overtures to Biblical Theology. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  12. Carroll, Robert P. 1986. Jeremiah: A Commentary, Old Testament Library. Philadelphia: Westminster Press.Google Scholar
  13. Code, L. 2006. Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Colgan, Emily. 2015. ‘Come Upon Her’: Land as Raped in Jeremiah 6:1–8. In Sexuality, Ideology and the Bible: Antipodean Engagements, ed. Robert J. Myles and Caroline Blyth, 20–34. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2017. Analogies with Anathoth: Reading Land, Reading Jeremiah in the Paintings of Michael Shepherd. In The Bible and Art: Perspectives from Oceania, ed. Caroline Blyth and Nasili Vaka’uta, 11–28. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  16. Floyd, Michael H. 2008. Welcome Back, Daughter Zion! Catholic Biblical Quarterly 70: 484–504.Google Scholar
  17. Gebara, Ivone. 1999. Longing for Running Water: Ecofeminism and Liberation. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  18. Glensor, Patricia. 1986. Otago Landscape. In Countless Signs, ed. Trudie McNaughton, 268. Auckland: Reed Methuen.Google Scholar
  19. Gravett, Sandie. 2004. Reading ‘Rape’ in the Hebrew Bible: A Consideration of Language. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 28: 279–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Holladay, William L. 1986. Jeremiah 1: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah Chapters 1−25, Hermeneia. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  21. Hunt, Janet. 1998. Hone Tuwhare: A Biography. Auckland: Godwit.Google Scholar
  22. Irigaray, Luce. 1974. Speculum of the Other Woman. Translated by Gillian. C. Gill. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kalmanofsky, Amy. 2008. Terror All Around: Horror, Monsters, and Theology in the Book of Jeremiah, Library of Hebrew/Old Testament Studies. New York: T&T Clark.Google Scholar
  24. Kartveit, Magnar. 2004. Daughter of Zion. Theology and Life 27: 25–41.Google Scholar
  25. Kohu, H.R. 1993. Papatūānuku. In Te Ao Marama: Contemporary Maori Writing, ed. Witi Ihimaera, 53–54. Auckland: Reed Books.Google Scholar
  26. Lundbom, Jack R. 1999. Jeremiah 1–20: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, Anchor Bible. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  27. Magdalene, F. Rachel. 1995. Ancient Near Eastern Treaty-Curses and the Ultimate Texts of Terror: A Study of the Language of Divine Sexual Abuse in the Prophetic Corpus. In A Feminist Companion to the Latter Prophets, ed. Athalya Brenner, 326–352. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar
  28. Maier, Christl M. 2008a. Daughter Zion as a Gendered Space in the Book of Isaiah. In Constructions of Space II: The Biblical City and Other Imagined Spaces, ed. Jon L. Berquist and Claudia V. Camp, 102–118. New York: T&T Clark.Google Scholar
  29. ———. 2008b. Daughter Zion, Mother Zion: Gender, Space, and the Sacred in Ancient Israel. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  30. McAlpine, Rachel. 1986. The Underside of the Hills. In Countless Signs, ed. Trudie McNaughton, 179. Auckland: Reed Methuen.Google Scholar
  31. McNaughton, Trudie, ed. 1986. Countless Signs: The New Zealand Landscape in Literature—An Anthology. Auckland: Reed Methuen.Google Scholar
  32. McNeish, James. 1970. Mackenzie: A Novel. London: Hodder & Stoughton.Google Scholar
  33. Melbourne, Hirini. 1985. Why the Wind Comes. In Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse, ed. Ian Wedde and Harvey McQueen, 497–498. Auckland: Penguin.Google Scholar
  34. Miles, Johnny. 2006. Re-Reading the Power of Satire: Isaiah’s ‘Daughter of Zion’, Pope’s ‘Belinda’, and the Rhetoric of Rape. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 31: 193–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Connor, Kathleen M. 1999. The Tears of God and Divine Character in Jeremiah 2−9. In Troubling Jeremiah, ed. A.R. Pete Diamond, Kathleen M. O’Connor, and Louis Stulman, 287–401. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar
  36. Park, Geoff. 1995. Nga Uruora: The Groves of Life—Ecology and History in a New Zealand Landscape. Wellington: Victoria University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Powell, Anne. 2002. Land Pictures. In Spirit in a Strange Land, ed. Paul Morris, Harry Ricketts, and Mike Grimshaw, 139. Auckland: Godwit.Google Scholar
  38. Pressler, Carolyn. 1994. Sexual Violence and Deuteronomic Law. In A Feminist Companion to Exodus and Deuteronomy, ed. Athalya Brenner, 102–112. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar
  39. Reeves, W.P. 2000. Aorangi. In The Passing of the Forest and Other Verse. Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey. Available at ProQuest Literature Online.Google Scholar
  40. Ricœur, P. 1991. The Creativity of Language. In A Ricœur Reader: Reflection and Imagination, ed. Mario J. Valdés, 469–470. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  41. Scholz, Susanne. 2010. Sacred Witness: Rape in the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  42. Shepard, Paul. 1969. English Reaction to the New Zealand Landscape Before 1850. Wellington: Victoria University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Star, Paul. 2009. Humans and the Environment in New Zealand, c. 1800 to 2000. In The New Oxford History of New Zealand, ed. Giselle Byrnes, 47–70. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Stinespring, W.F. 1965. No Daughter Zion. Encounter 26: 133–141.Google Scholar
  45. Taylor, Apirana. 1985. The Womb. In Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse, ed. Ian Wedde and Harvey McQueen, 522. Auckland: Penguin.Google Scholar
  46. Tuwhare, Hone. 1974. Not by Wind Ravaged. In No Ordinary Sun, ed. Hone Tuwhare, 20. Auckland: Longman Paul.Google Scholar
  47. ———. 1978. Making a Fist of It: Poems and Short Stories. Dunedin: Jackstaw.Google Scholar
  48. Wallace, Bill. 1981. Something to Sing About: Hymns and Reflections in Search of a Contemporary Spirituality. Christchurch: Methodist Church of New Zealand.Google Scholar
  49. Washington, Harold C. 1997. Violence and the Construction of Gender in the Hebrew Bible: A New Historicist Approach. Biblical Interpretation 5: 324–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Weippert, Helga. 1987. Textilproduktion und Kleidung im Vorhellenistischen Palästina. In Pracht und Geheimnis. Kleidung und Schmuck aus Palästina und Jordanien, ed. Gisela Völger, 136–142. Köln: Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum der Stadt Köln.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Colgan
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity Methodist Theological CollegeAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations