Was Bathsheba Bathing in the Nude?

In the book of Samuel, King David looks down from his roof one evening and sees “a woman washing herself.” He then initiates his affair with the woman, the beautiful Bathsheba. While many great European artists—most famously Rembrandt—have depicted Bathsheba as bathing nude, others have imagined her merely washing her feet. David M. Gunn explains:

Many an interpreter has held Bathsheba to be at fault for showing herself naked to the king—for seducing him.

[The 15th-century French artist Jean] Bourdichon followed the custom of late-medieval illuminated books of hours and psalters in showing Bathsheba standing naked in a pool with a fountain. However, the earliest printed Bibles with embedded woodcut illustrations, produced in the late 15th century first in Cologne and then in Nuremberg, show a very different Bathsheba. She is clothed. Holding up the hem of her dress, she sits with her feet in a bowl. In Martin Luther’s 16th-century German Bibles, she usually sits beside the castle moat with a servant washing her feet. . . .

The bathing Bathsheba of the books of hours is accompanied by the words of the penitential psalm, “Domine ne in furore tuo arguas me” (“O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger” [Ps 6:1]). These words are traditionally understood to be David’s. So perhaps the naked woman signifies not her own lapse, but his lust and moral failure. On the other hand, many books of hours were made for and used by women. What did it mean for a woman to pray in penitence, “O Lord, do not rebuke me,” while looking at this bathing woman? Was the bathing woman a warning against being seduced?


Read more at Bible Odyssey

More about: Art, Arts & Culture, Hebrew Bible, King David, Martin Luther

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University