Chastity, Fidelity, and Conquest: Biblical Rules for Women and War

John Hartung

in The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Violence, Homicide, and War

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199738403
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Chastity, Fidelity, and Conquest: Biblical Rules for Women and War

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The Bible instructs men to take a proactive approach to their problem with paternity – the possibility that a man's putative child may be another man's genetic offspring – by stoning brides who do not bleed on first penetration, by burning women who have become pregnant out of wedlock, by torturing and poisoning wives who are suspected of adultery, by executing women who have committed adultery and by murdering female prisoners of war who are not virgins. In addition to enhancing men's assurance of paternity, control of women reduces conflict between men over women, which enhances male-male solidarity and thus a society's capacity for military conquest. Concomitant to instructions for controlling women, the Bible commands adherents to commit absolute genocide against people whose land they wish to occupy, kill men in surrounding nations unless they agree to be slaves, and take their virgin women and girls as booty.

Although some non-Western cultures also sanctify such practices, in other traditional societies women have been “very free and at liberty in doing what they please with themselves” (Barbosa, 1500/1866) and military conquest has not been a religious obligation. It follows that the Bible's dark legacy is not a requirement of human nature.

Keywords: adultery; anal intercourse; Bible; Canaan; chastity; Christianity; Codes of Maimonides; fidelity; genocide; Greater Israel; human sacrifice; Israel; Judaism; Muslim civilization; Midrash Rabbah; murder; Onanism; One State Solution; paternity; Palestine; r

Article.  11787 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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