Journal Article

‘You Shall Cut off Her…Palm’? A Reexamination of Deuteronomy 25:11–12

Jerome T. Walsh

in Journal of Semitic Studies

Published on behalf of University of Manchester

Volume 49, issue 1, pages 47-58
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0022-4480
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-8556 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jss/49.1.47
‘You Shall Cut off Her…Palm’? A Reexamination of Deuteronomy 25:11–12

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This article argues that the most likely translation for Deut. 25:12a is ‘you shall shave [the hair of] her groin’. This reading is philologically and lexically superior to the standard translations, and it resolves the anomaly of one and only one law in the entire Israelite corpus that imposes physical mutilation as a punishment. It also addresses problems that divide commentators into two camps: those who see the punishment as talionic and those who see it as based on the shamefulness of the woman's deed. By reducing the severity of the punishment from the permanency of amputation to the temporary humiliation of depilation, it allows the punishment to be seen as both. She has humiliated a man publicly by an assault on his genitalia (presumably without serious injury to them); her punishment is public genital humiliation, similarly without permanent injury.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Middle Eastern History ; Middle Eastern Languages ; Literary Studies - World ; Biblical Studies

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