Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2006), pp. 200-203


For the final examination in my 'Law and the Gospels' class at the University of Georgia Law School, fall semester in 2004, I set essay questions, one of which was about law in the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4. Several students chose that option. I had already published on the subject, claiming that the episode involved a sexual 'come-on' by the woman. 'Bucket' was a hidden -- not too hidden -- word for 'penis', 'well' likewise for 'vagina', and 'living water' for 'semen'. In antiquity, as in the modern Western world (until recently), women were not supposed to make sexual advances. Of course, they did -- but covertly. (I was not suggesting that such an episode involving Jesus actually occurred. Rather, my argument always has been that the four episodes that occur in John and not in the Synoptics had their roots in a Jewish tradition that was hostile to Jesus. The Gospel writer could not ignore it, but he dealt with it in a way as to defang it.)

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