The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

The Harlot Shall Be Burned with Fire: Biblical Literalism in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Religion Dispatches: Sarah Sentilles

I must admit that part of me is relieved to have these disturbing passages out in public. These bloody verses that insist women be punished with violent death—often for perceived or imagined sexual transgressions—are usually overlooked, downplayed, skipped over, ignored. Most people like to pretend they aren’t really in the text. Especially people who claim to take the Bible literally.

Passages like these should render biblical literalism impossible. Their existence illuminates that literalists always engage in selective literalism, choosing the passages that support the arguments they want to make. And what is the rubric for selective literalism other than convenience and the maintenance of oppressive power relationships? When faced with such verses—or even passages about keeping kosher or not being around women who are menstruating—many a literalist will argue something like “that was then and this is now,” while in the very next breath (I’m talking to you, Rick Santorum, and you, Michele Bachmann) they’ll insist that homosexuality is an abomination or that women should submit to their husbands. Why? Because it’s in the Bible.

The film could, in fact, be read as an argument against biblical literalism; a warning about the misogynist violence embedded in the biblical text…

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January 14, 2012 Posted by | Biblical Criticism, Biblical Studies, Women | , , , , , | 2 Comments