Friday, December 26, 2014

Jerome got it wrong

Whereas the expectation of women wearing head coverings and dressing modestly was male-shaped mores designed to prevent men from leering and being tempted or, which is more likely, to keep women’s beauty in line, Jesus sees it otherwise. He lays full responsibility in this text on the male and expects males to be able to control their desires. In other words, a text like the noncanonical Testament of Reuben (5:3) finds problems in the wrong place: women “contrive in their heart against men, then by decking themselves out they lead men’s minds astray, by a look they implant their poison and finally in the act itself they take them captive.” Jesus prevents a blame-her-looks or but-she-enticed-me approach. The problem in our text is male desire.— Sermon on the Mount, page 88

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