Countertraditions in the Bible : A Feminist Approach
In this eye-opening book, llana Pardes explores the tense dialogue between dominant patriarchal discourses of the Bible and counter female voices. Pardes studies women's plots and subplots, dreams and pursuits, uncovering the diverse and at times conflicting figurations of femininity in biblical texts. She also sketches the ways in which antipatriarchal elements intermingle with other repressed elements in the Bible: polytheistic traditions, skeptical voices, and erotic longings.
- Paperback | 206 pages
- 140 x 210 x 15.75mm | 236g
- 04 Feb 2004
- HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge, Mass, United States
- Revised ed.
- 1 line illustration
Back cover copy
In this eye-opening book, Ilana Pardes explores the tense dialogue between dominant patriarchal discourses of the Bible and counter female voices. Her findings lead to reassessments of patriarchal traditions and of current feminist critiques. Pardes studies women's plots and subplots, dreams and pursuits, uncovering the diverse and at times conflicting figurations of femininity in biblical texts. She also sketches the ways in which anti-patriarchal elements intermingle with other repressed elements in the Bible: polytheistic traditions, skeptical voices, and erotic longings. The formation of the Hebrew Bible, Pardes shows, entailed not only a concern for unity but also, on occasion, an irresistible attraction toward countertraditions. For her analysis Pardes draws on feminist theory, literary criticism, biblical scholarship, and psychoanalysis. Her discussions of Eve as namegiver, Rachel's Dream, the Song of the Shulamite, Zipporah's magical act, and the critique of Job's wife open new lines of thought for feminist critics, literary critics, biblical scholars, and all readers of the Bible.
Table of contents
1. Preliminary Excavations Miriam and Her Brothers 2. Creation according to Eve Elizabeth Cady Stanton Simone de Beauvoir and Kate Millett Phyllis Trible Esther Fuchs Mieke Bal The Book of J Conclusion 3. Beyond Genesis 3: The Politics of Maternal Naming Maternal Naming-Speeches Uprising Reversal: Dialogic Naming Falling Again Creative Hierarchies When P Expands on Genesis I P versus J Mixed Languages 4. Rachel's Dream: The Female Subplot The Young Barren One versus The Elder Cowife Exchanging Plots Joining Forces Rachel's Death Difference in Development Dreams and Reality 5. Zipporah and the Struggle for Deliverance Female Saviors Back to the Ark The Bridgeroom of Blood Textual Traces The Egyptian Connection The Politics of Transition Longings Eruption 6. The Book of Ruth: Idyllic Revisionism The Plot of Female Bonding The Doubling of the Female Subject Estrangement A Midrashic Parallel 7. " I Am a Wall, and my Breast like Towers": The Song of Songs and the Question of Canonization The (Im)purity of the Songs Eros Constructions of Gender Refraction Revisited Dreams and Walls The Changing of the Guard The Keepers of the Torah 8. Conclusion Job's Wife Beyond Piety Fragment Names Open House Notes Bibliography Index
This book marks the much needed next step in feminist biblical criticism. -- Mieke Bal Ilana Pardes planes the Bible's surface to expose the lineaments that run against the grain, challenging the pat assumptions of our predecessors. Pardes focuses on the unconventional, the irregular, in Biblical literature and points up instances in which a female voice in permitted its say-until the masculine voice resumes. -- Edward L. Greenstein * Jerusalem Report * Distinguishing herself from feminist Biblical scholars who regard the Bible as a wholly patriarchal work, Pardes sees the text itself as challenging gender distinctions... Her arguments are buttressed with an impressive command of Biblical scholarship and an awareness of the sensitive, nuanced readings to be found in Rabbinic literature. -- Yehudah Mirsky * Forward * This lively and stimulating book probes the words and the silences of such figures as Eve, Rachel, and Zipporah, using their stories in turn to test a variety of contemporary feminist approaches to the Bible... [An] original blend of text history, feminist theory, and literary analysis. -- David Damrosch
About Ilana Pardes
Ilana Pardes is Lecturer in Comparative Literature and English at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.