RESISTING DEHUMANIZATION: ACTS OF RELATIONAL CARE IN EXODUS 1-2 AS IMAGE OF GOD'S LIBERATING PRESENCE

Juliana M Claassens

Abstract


In her provocative book, The Female Face of God in Auschwitz: A Jewish Feminist Theology of the Holocaust (2003), Melissa Raphael argues that the exceedingly ordinary acts of women washing or caring for their own bodies or the bodies of others reflected something of the liberating presence of God in Auschwitz. These 'simple acts of humanity' had the purpose of restoring the personhood that was seriously imperiled by the dehumanizing acts of the Nazis in the death camps. Raphael's constructive theological construction that uses the lives of ordinary women to image God's liberating presence in Auschwitz will be used as hermeneutical lens in rereading the stories of the five women in Exodus 1-2, whose acts of relational care for the baby Moses serve the function of resisting the dehumanization underlying the acts of genocide reflected in this text. Moreover, the decision of these women to protect the vulnerable and to preserve life precedes or foreshadows God's liberation, so serving as an image of God's liberating presence.

Keywords


Human Dignity, Feminist Biblical Interpretation, Exodus, Holocaust

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/105-0-158

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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