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Bodies in motion: Preliminary notes on queer theory and rabbinic literature

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Chapter Summary

This part first brings queer theory and rabbinic literature together, in a gesture toward boundary crossing or bridge building, not only for intellectual interest, but also for the very purpose of pursuing justice. It focuses on rabbinic traditions about body malleability for the express purpose of exposing, even celebrating, the rabbinic ability to imagine such subversive bodies - bodies that contest and call into question gender’s fixedness, even if often times gender’s fixedness ultimately does resurface in these same traditions. The chapter then explores Clement of Alexandria’s understanding of body and soul and its implications for the Christian tradition that took his teaching seriously. His Paidagogos (ca. 200 c.e.) provides a productive entry into the early Christian mindset. It reflects the complexity that could be brought to these issues, including the conceptual boundaries within which he imagined the world.

Keywords: body malleability; Christian tradition; Clement of Alexandria; queer theory; rabbinic literature



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