I want to draw your attention to Prof. Sarah Morice-Brubaker‘s very interesting interview with Profs. Virginia Burrus and Thomas Laqueur, two brilliant historians, which was spurred by Rep. Todd Akin’s recent asinine remarks about “legitimate rape.” As Republican politicians scramble to distance themselves from Akin’s views, it’s worth remembering that the concept of “legitimate rape” is deeply ingrained in our culture and historically is by no means foreign to Christian theology.
Since my field is early Christianity and Augustine’s thought has left me sick to my stomach plenty of times, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Burrus, who is one of my favorite scholars:
As soon as I began hearing the news reports of Akin’s remarks, I was haunted by similarities with the thought of the late Roman theologian Augustine. I hasten to say that I would not want to compare Akin in any general way to Augustine, who was a brilliant theologian and writer, accolades I would not by any means assign to Akin! The comparison I have in mind is quite specific, and that is Augustine’s discussion at the very beginning of his famous work City of God of the rape of Lucretia, a traditional Roman tale that he revisits in the context of real or anticipated wartime rapes of women of the Christian community.
Do go read the whole thing. It’s well worth it.