Original Research - Special Collection: Africa Platform for NT Scholars

John 8:3–11 and gender-based violence in Johane Marange Apostolic Church, Ruwa District, Zimbabwe

Lovejoy Chabata
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 4 | a9313 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i4.9313 | © 2023 Lovejoy Chabata | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2023 | Published: 22 December 2023

About the author(s)

Lovejoy Chabata, Department of New Testament, Faculty of Theology, Ethics, Religious Studies and Philosophy, Catholic University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; and Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

John 8:3–11 depicts the story of a woman who is condemned to death because she was caught in the act of adultery. The Pharisees and Scribes who condemned the woman cited Deuteronomy 22:23–24 and Leviticus 20:10 which prescribe death penalty for adultery. What begs answers through this hermeneutical study of the pericope from the lens of gender-based violence (GBV) in Johane Marange Apostolic Church, Ruwa District, in Zimbabwe, is why only the woman was picked for condemnation yet the cited Mosaic Law provides that both the man and the woman who engage in the act of adultery face capital punishment. The article interrogates the text to identify limbs or tentacles on which the decision by the Pharisees and Scribes to condemn only the woman leaving out the man stands. An exegetical study of the text is conducted to explore possible reasons behind the relegation of women to the receiving end of misogynistic socially constructed gender stereotypes. A qualitative methodological praxis fusing socio-historical method and qualitative analysis is engaged in analysing the Biblical Johannine and Johane Marange Apostolic Church Ruwa District communities, respectively. The article mirrors patriarchal tendencies in the Johane Marange Apostolic Church into the selective application of biblical doctrine between males and females depicted in the Johannine text of John 8:3–11. The article argues and concludes that, as reflected in John 8:3–11, GBV practices in Johane Marange Apostolic Church have sentenced women to sexual exploitation, rape, early child marriages and high maternal mortality rate.

Contribution: The study recommends ways of cutting the tentacles of the acts of GBV being imposed on women in general, and on the girl child in particular.


Keywords

gender-based violence; New Testament; Johane Marange Apostolic Church; selective hermeneutics; patriarchy

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 5: Gender equality

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