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Queer Theory and the Hebrew Bible

chancepm's picture

One of the main projects of queer theory is to explore the contesting of the categorization of gender and sexuality and to trouble the supposedly natural categories within our culture. In recent years, queer theory has intersected in the study of the Bible and to contest the various assumptions that the biblical text makes about gender and sexuality. Queer readings of the Bible were intended to distinguish the scholarship of earlier LGBT scholars intent on arguing for the inclusion of LGBT people in the religious setting, to arguing that many of the core components of the Bible make assumptions about categories such as gender or sexuality. Queer readings instead problematize many biblical laws, narratives, or conceptions.

The purpose of this course is to build a toolbox of theoretical analysis in order to explore contesting various categories and assumptions about biblical texts. Specifically, we will focus on texts specific to the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Bible- in Jewish tradition, known as the Torah. While we will read from various scholars who employ queer theoretical frameworks in various ways, our focus will be on employing the theory of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler. However, students are encouraged to read the texts through their own interests, contexts, and theoretical frameworks in order to more fully explore the texts.

A Note on Readings and Discussion

The course is designed to provide a discussion-based orientation for the readings of the biblical texts. It is encouraged that the participants in the course read secondary course materials, if at all helpful. However, it is not required that the participants read all secondary course materials, or even all of the primary reading materials. Rather, it is encouraged that the participant focus on areas of the text that are of interest to them. Discussion questions will also be provided for participants, if they so desire. The discussion questions might provide helpful for some participants and might not for others. Also, it is encouraged that participants formulate their own questions and or concerns as the discussion questions relate directly to the interests of the course facilitator.

Furthermore, a discussion-based 'classroom' setting is encouraged. Rather than providing a lecture, it is encouraged that the participants discuss areas of the texts that they find relevant to their own interests and or discuss the problematic areas of the texts. Lastly, while there is a course schedule, it is encouraged that the class actively participate in the direction of the schedule. If students are more interested in other texts, it is encouraged that they state such interests. Moreover, it is also encouraged that if the course is interested in continuing discussion of a specific texts that we may take time in the period of the next course to discuss the texts.

Facilitator email(s): 
[email protected]


Facilitator's House
3016 Columbus Ave S Apt 2
Minneapolis, MN 55407
United States
Phone: 612 987-3461
Facilitator's experience: 
Double Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies and Religious Studies with a Minor in Philosophy. Four semesters Biblical Hebrew, with two semesters of post-biblical classical Hebrew. Gave presentation on Hebrew Bible in April 2010 at the Midwestern Society of Biblical Literature conference.
Facilitator phone number(s): 
Class minimum size: 
Class maximum size: 
Class times: 
Thu, 10/06/2011 - 18:30 - 19:30
Thu, 10/13/2011 - 18:30 - 19:30
Thu, 10/20/2011 - 18:30 - 19:30
Thu, 10/27/2011 - 18:30 - 19:30
Thu, 11/03/2011 - 18:30 - 19:30
Thu, 11/10/2011 - 18:30 - 19:30
Thu, 11/17/2011 - 18:30 - 19:30
Thu, 12/01/2011 - 18:30 - 19:30
Location Accessibility: 
No, but willing to find an alternate location if necessary.
Facilitator's House
3016 Columbus Ave S Apt 2
Minneapolis, MN 55407
United States
Phone: 612 987-3461
44° 56' 51.8964" N, 93° 15' 51.4224" W
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