Originally posted in Rabyd Theologian 2.0 on November 5th, 2009
I suppose that one might argue that I seem to have a fascination with this topic and maybe an obsession. I could argue — “Yeah, I am a guy. Get over it, guys are fascinated with the subject. Addicted really” What I don’t think most Christian men and women understand about this issue is that it is a current issue. One State of the United States, New York already has a law about this subject — anywhere a man can appear without a top so can a woman. Similar laws exist in about 7 other states in certain situations (beaches and other areas). In Europe, there are many places where a woman can appear topless — the fact is Europeans don’t have as many hang ups about nudity in general as we do in the US. Many local cities, towns, etc. have their own laws because most states leave the issue to local government to deal with on their own. For instance Columbus, OH has a very similar law to the one in New York state. The point is in certain places a Christian can be walking down the street and see a woman topless (or topfree if you prefer) and they really can’t call the cops — in fact calling the cops in New York can get you and the cops sued. So what do you do? You can’t avoid everything.
In all other states and places though the problem is that a woman is only considered indecent if she shows her nipples. That still leaves a lot of room on a woman’s breast. (See picture above for instance). It should be noted also the free speech laws may allow a woman to expose her breasts as part of making a political point or as part of a protest.
At this point in going through Bible I am looking for how the Bible refers to nakedness. In the issue of women’s breasts at this point I would have to say the Bible is silent other than a few references to nursing. Now as we get past David and begin to look at the rest of the Bible — nothing till the book of Job. The fact is the poetic literature of the Bible has a lot to say about the subject of women’s breasts. Job makes mention of them, Song of Solomon as well (9 separate verses). Job makes mention of the motherly aspects of women’s breasts. No sexual connotation at all. Song of Solomon is a different story.
In the context of Song of Solomon, the subject is the desire the couple has for each other. In chapters 1-7 the mention of breasts is one of admiration. That is the man is admiring his future bride’s breasts and commenting on them. In short, he is saying his bride has a nice pair. 8:1 mentions the motherly aspects of women’s breasts again much like Job. In Chapter 8 verses 8 and 10 the woman in the story mentions her own breasts as a symbol of her virtue — she has kept her virginity to her wedding night referring to her breast as acting like towers. In this case they are symbolic of her virtue but it is not mentioned how that is so other than to say she was not a women who just put out for anyone. Probably no one has touched them. Seen them? Well it does not say.
What can be said at this point when dealing with the subject of the Bible and women’s breasts:
1. When women’s breasts are mentioned, the most common reference is to nursing or the motherly aspect of the breasts or women. It is about nurturing.
2. In Song of Solomon we have an unmarried couple and the man makes continued reference to how much he admires — not only his future wife’s body but her breasts in particular. Wonder how he knew what all this looked like in a middle eastern culture? So is admiration a sin? Not with these verses — they got into the Bible and no sin is mentioned.
3. In all cases, it is never stated that a woman showing her breasts is sinful or shameful. If anything the virtues of women’s breasts are set forward and they are not presented in a negative light.
Next: Job and Isaiah Naked.