By Rhiannon Graybill
Are We no longer males? offers an cutting edge method of gender and embodiment within the Hebrew Bible, revealing the male physique as a resource of continual trouble 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 serious 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 movies: Isaiah meets the poetry of Anne Carson; Hosea is obvious in the course of the lens of ownership movies and feminist movie thought; Jeremiah intersects with psychoanalytic discourses of tension; and Ezekiel encounters Daniel Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My frightened Illness. Graybill additionally deals a cautious research of the physique of Moses. Her equipment spotlight unforeseen positive factors of the biblical texts, and remove darkness from the bizarre 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 examining. Biblical prophecy engenders new sorts of masculinity and embodiment; Are We now not Men?offers a invaluable map of this still-uncharted terrain.
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This is especially true of the surfaces of Moses’ body, his skin and face, as well as his mouth. Moses’ body also displays a disturbing tendency to extend beyond the prophet himself. He cannot lift his hands without the assistance of others; he speaks with Aaron as an external mouth; light radiates outward from his face and requires a permanent veiling. These prosthetic additions are matched by the lack inherent in the prophet’s own â•‡ 35 The Materiality of Moses 35 body: his heavy tongue and lips hinder his speech.
35 This idea of stickiness offers another way to set into words the unexpected consequences of bringing together biblical and nonbiblical texts. Thus while my focus will remain on the biblical side of this relationship, I occasionally attend to the ways in which the contemporary texts are touched. There is one other feature of my method that I wish to address: my use of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic texts. A majority of the chapters in Are We Not Men? engage with psychoanalysis, in varying ways.
No longer able to wear his own face, neither can he display the radiant face of divine encounter in the midst of the Israelites. In the streaming light of Moses’ face, we thus have two forms of transformation: the divine glow of the prophet’s face, and the opacity of the covering he places over it. The first moves the prophet closer to Yahweh, almost blurring the divine-human boundary with its radiance (even as this blurring comes at the expense of Moses’ human identity and appearance). The second moves the prophet away from the category of the normatively masculine.