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Women in Drag


Gender and Performance in the Hebrew Bible and Early Jewish Literature


From Jael’s tent peg to Judith’s sword, biblical interpreters have long recognized the power of the "lethal women" stories of the Hebrew Bible and related literature. The tales of Jael and Judith, female characters who assassinate enemy commanders, have fascinated artists, writers, and scholars for centuries, no doubt partly because of the gender of the characters doing the killing. Tamber-Rosenau presents the first systematic study, both text-centered and deeply engaged with a variety of queer-theoretical frameworks, of the motif of the woman-turned-warrior in ancient Jewish literature. Through analysis from queer-theoretical perspectives and comparison with Ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman literature, Women in Drag shines new light on three strong female characters from the Hebrew Bible and the early days of Jewish literature.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0716-8
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Nov 2,2018
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 294
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0716-8
$95.00
$57.00

From Jael’s tent peg to Judith’s sword, biblical interpreters have long recognized the power of the "lethal women" stories of the Hebrew Bible and related literature. The tales of Jael and Judith, female characters who assassinate enemy commanders, have fascinated artists, writers, and scholars for centuries, no doubt partly because of the gender of the characters doing the killing. Tamber-Rosenau presents the first systematic study, both text-centered and deeply engaged with a variety of queer-theoretical frameworks, of the motif of the woman-turned-warrior in ancient Jewish literature. Through analysis from queer-theoretical perspectives and comparison with Ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman literature, Women in Drag shines new light on three strong female characters from the Hebrew Bible and the early days of Jewish literature.  

From Jael’s tent peg to Judith’s sword, biblical interpreters have long recognized the power of the "lethal women" stories of the Hebrew Bible and related literature. The tales of Jael and Judith, female characters who assassinate enemy commanders, have fascinated artists, writers, and scholars for centuries, no doubt partly because of the gender of the characters doing the killing. Tamber-Rosenau presents the first systematic study, both text-centered and deeply engaged with a variety of queer-theoretical frameworks, of the motif of the woman-turned-warrior in ancient Jewish literature. Through analysis from queer-theoretical perspectives and comparison with Ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman literature, Women in Drag shines new light on three strong female characters from the Hebrew Bible and the early days of Jewish literature.  

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Contributor Biography

Caryn Tamber-Rosenau

Caryn Tamber-Rosenau is Instructional Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies at University of Houston. She holds a Ph.D. in Religion (Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel) from Vanderbilt University.

Table of Contents (v) 
Acknowledgments (vii)
Chapter One. Introduction (1)
   Scope (5)
   Methodology (9)
      Liminality (23)
   Conclusion and Prospect (27)
Chapter Two. Striking Women in Ancient Mediterranean Literature (29)
   Making Cross-cultural Literary Comparisons (29)
   Scope and Content of Comparisons (35)
   Goddess Comparisons (38)
      Anat (42)
      Paghit (53)
      Shaushka (56)
      Amazons (59)
      Athena (66) 
      Artemis (73)
      Clytemnestra (77)
   Conclusion (87)
Chapter Three. Penetrating Looks: Gender and the Tent-Peg Assassin (Judges 4–5) (91) 
   The Preparation (97) 
   The Act (106) 
   The Aftermath (112) 
   Jael through the Lens of Queer Theory (118)
Chapter Four. A Cut Above: The Exemplary Jewess and Her Feminine Performance (The Book of Judith) (131) 
   The Preparation (135) 
   The Act (163) 
   The Aftermath (169)
   Judith through the Lens of Queer Theory (178)
Chapter Five. Hammering It Home: The Refigured Tent-Dweller and Her Deadly Performance (Biblical Antiquities 31) (197)
   The Preparation (204) 
   The Act (215) 
   The Aftermath (218) 
   Pseudo-Philo’s Jael through the Lens of Queer Theory (221)
Chapter Six. Conclusion (227) 
   Future Directions (230) 
   Women in Drag (231)
      Jael in the Book of Judges: Mother, Seductress, Killer (231)
      Judith: How to Get a Head Using High-Femme Drag (233)
      The Second Jael: Motherhood and Sex, Made Explicit (236)
Bibliography (239)
Index (263)

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