Jacob's Wound

Jacob's Wound

Homoerotic Narrative in the Literature of Ancient Israel

Book - 2005
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The very suggestion that there may be homoeroticism in Hebrew narrative may seem odd given the supposition that the religion and culture of ancient Israel resolutely opposed same sex erotic relationships. The apparent prohibition of homosexuality in Leviticus and the story of Sodom from Genesis have been made to speak for the whole Hebrew Bible. The oddity of this situation has not been lost on some interpreters who have recognized that the story of Sodom tells us no more about attitudes toward what we call homosexuality than the story of the rape of Dina tells us about attitudes toward heterosexuality.

Prof. Jennings says that the well-known eroticism of the Hebrew Bible is not confined to heterosexuality but also includes an astonishing diversity of material that lends itself to homoerotic interpretation.

In Part one, Jennings examines saga materials associated with David. It is no innovation to detect in the David and Jonathan's relationship at least the outline of a remarkable love story between two men. What becomes clear, however, is that the tale is far more complex than this since it involves Saul and is set within a context of a warrior society that takes for granted that male heroes will be accompanied by younger or lower status males. Thus the complex erotic connections between David and Saul and David and Jonathan play out against the backdrop of a context of "heroes and pals."

The second type of same sex relationship explored has to do with shamanistic forms of eroticism in which the sacral power of the holy man is both a product of same sex relationship and expressed through same sex practice. This section deals with Samuel and Saul and Elijah and Elisha. These are not warriors but persons whose sacral power is also erotic power that may find expression in erotic practices with persons of the same sex.

The third type of same sex relationship discusses we now call transgendered persons, especially males, and their erotic relationship to (other) males. Here the book explores the transgendering of Israel by several prophets who use this device to explore the adultery and promiscuity that they wish to attribute to Israel, as well as the story of Joseph.

Publisher: New York : Continuum, c2005
ISBN: 9780826417121
Characteristics: xv, 288 p. ; 23 cm


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