By Rhiannon Graybill
Are We no longer males? offers an leading edge method of gender and embodiment within the Hebrew Bible, revealing the male physique as a resource of chronic hassle for the Hebrew prophets. Drawing jointly key moments in prophetic embodiment, Graybill demonstrates that the prophetic physique is a queer physique, and its very instability makes attainable new understandings of biblical masculinity. Prophecy disrupts the functionality of masculinity and calls for new methods of inhabiting the physique and negotiating gender.
Graybill explores prophetic masculinity via severe readings of a few prophetic our bodies, together with Isaiah, Moses, Hosea, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. as well as shut readings of the biblical texts, this account engages with glossy intertexts drawn from philosophy, psychoanalysis, and horror motion pictures: Isaiah meets the poetry of Anne Carson; Hosea is visible during the lens of ownership motion pictures and feminist movie thought; Jeremiah intersects with psychoanalytic discourses of anxiety; and Ezekiel encounters Daniel Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My fearful Illness. Graybill additionally bargains a cautious research of the physique of Moses. Her tools spotlight unforeseen positive factors of the biblical texts, and light up the atypical intersections of masculinity, prophecy, and the physique in and past the Hebrew Bible. This meeting of prophets, our bodies, and readings makes transparent that getting to prophecy and to prophetic masculinity is a crucial activity for queer interpreting. Biblical prophecy engenders new kinds of masculinity and embodiment; Are We no longer Men?offers a priceless map of this still-uncharted terrain.
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Extra info for Are we not men?: unstable masculinity in the Hebrew prophets
Fluidity also offers a way of highlighting the materiality of the body. The prophet’s body is more than voice and gesture; it is also a messy, leaky assembly of blood and bones, wounds and pains. Emphasizing fluidity and openness in and around the prophetic body is one way of noting, and attending to, this materiality. Materiality is also key to the possible transformation of the masculine. I have already alluded to Irigaray’s critique of the “neutral” masculine; this is linked, as well, to a critique of the bodiless male subject.
It is also curiously unbounded, depending upon and extending into the bodies of others: from Aaron, who serves as Moses’ prosthetic mouth, to Hur and Aaron, who lift the prophet’s faltering arms, to Yahweh, whose conversations leave Moses with a terrifying glow. Prophecy changes the body, in ways that stand in uneasy relation to the accepted norms of text and community. I will briefly trace three ways of understanding this transformation: as disability, as feminization, and as queering of embodiment.
The text has significant influence over modern understandings, inside and outside of scholarly and religious communities. This is especially true when the issues at stake are as fraught as gender, bodies, and what it means to be a man. To this end, I hope this book will contribute, as well, to these conversations—not simply by offering a set of answers, but also by offering a model for reframing questions. What does it mean to have a body, to be a prophet, to perform masculinity? What sorts of alternate masculinities does the biblical text contain, hidden away in its pages?
Are we not men?: unstable masculinity in the Hebrew prophets by Rhiannon Graybill