Act One. Comfort the Waste Places, Defend the Violated Earth An Ecofeminist Reading of Isaiah 51:1-52:6 and Tracy Chapman's "The Rape of the World".

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Angela Sue Sawyer


This paper compares the personification of Zion in Isaiah 51:1–52:6 as a mother and daughter with Tracy Chapman's 1995 song "The rape of the world" where the earth is portrayed as mother.  I will explore the use of rape imagery and how both pieces portray the negative effects of human activity on the earth, whether by commercial activity or war. The environmental impact of the desolation of the earth during the Babylonian exile depicted in Isaiah and its portrayal via gendered images is viewed through the lens of ecofeminist criticism. The earth itself has a voice in both Chapman’s and Isaiah’s words.

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Author Biography

Angela Sue Sawyer, University of Divinity

Angela Sawyer is a faculty member at Stirling Theological College, University of Divinity, in Melbourne, Australia. She teaches Hebrew Bible and Biblical Studies and is Dean of Students. Sawyer’s doctoral work explored Deutero-Isaiah, exile, and post-church Australia. Her research focus includes trauma hermeneutics, feminist criticism, and Isaiah.