Kgarebe (virgin) and carnal knowledge: Reading Genesis 19:30–38 from the margins

Keywords: carnal knowledge; kgarebe (virgin); agency; patriarchy; Genesis 19:30–38; Lot’s daughters; humanity; Black Liberation Theology.


In this article, issues of carnal knowledge, gender (read: daughters) and agency as evident in selected texts from the Judeo-Christian tradition and the African context in South Africa are interrogated. Do the ideologies embedded in religious texts endorse unequal power relations between male and female human beings (batho)? Of particular interest for the present investigation is the issue of carnal knowledge as it is understood in African (Northern Sotho) contexts and the Hebrew Bible (cf. Gn 19) context. Informed by the insights from both the African and the ancient Israelite contexts, the key questions that this essay seeks to engage are: when the notion of carnal knowledge is engaged with, in the context of daughters in both African and biblical contexts, which insights may emerge? Can such insights contribute to the affirmation of daughters as persons with agency?

Contribution: Dealing with a scarcely researched upon topic within the circles of South African Old Testament scholarship, that is, the OT text (Genesis) (sex)uality and the agency of younger women (read: daughters), through the knowledge produced herein, the HTS will be enabled to make a needed impact in patriarchal African and global contexts.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2072-8050
print ISSN: 0259-9422