The Scandal of the Cross: Sexualised Violence, Silence and Crucifixion
SWARTHMORE – 20 November, 2013 – How contemporary reports of torture and sexualised violence can offer new understanding of the crucifixion will be explored at a public talk at Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 at 4:15 p.m. in the Scheuer Room of Kohlberg Hall.
In a lecture entitled The Scandal of the Cross: Sexualised Violence, Silence and Crucifixion, Dr David Tombs, Assistant Professor in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Trinity’s cross-border campus in Northern Ireland, will use both ancient and modern sources to examine crucifixion as a form of state terror torture and sexualised violence.
Speaking in advance of the lecture, Dr Tombs commented: “St. Paul’s description of the cross as ‘a scandal’ (1 Cor. 1.23) is widely known. Christians around the world are familiar with it, and many recall it each year on Good Friday. But what exactly made the cross a scandal, and why is it relevant to a Christian response to sexualised violence in conflicts today?”
“In this lecture I will present 15 years of research on why the cross was so scandalous in the ancient world. I will look at why the most critical element in the scandal has been unspeakable for two millennia, and why this has profound relevance to a church concerned about sexualised violence in conflicts around the world today.
“My research suggests that ‘the scandal of the cross’ is a scandal of sexualised violence, and it is also scandalous for theologians and churches to have been silent on this for so long. In in response to reports of widespread conflict-related sexualised violence (including Central America in the 1980s, Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the last decade) the central symbol of Christianity needs to be seen in a new way. The cross challenges theologians to break the silence and taboo of sexualised violence, and yet do so in a way that affirms the dignity of victims past and present. The lecture points to how this might be done in three areas of theological thought: the humanity of Christ; the unspoken memories of Eucharist; and the good news of resurrection.”
Co-sponsored by Peace & Conflict Studies, Department of Religion, Provost’s Office, Off-campus Study, The Northern Ireland Semester, Gender and Sexuality Studies