Same-Sex Desire and Jewish Community: Queering Biblical Texts in Canadian and American Jewish Literature

Shlomo Gleibman

Abstract


Discusses Maggie Anton's Miriam (2007) and K. David Brody's Mourning and Celebration (2009) as "two works of historical fiction that portray male same-sex eroticism in relation to Judaism and Jewish community. Each of these two novels revisits the conventional tropes of Ashkenazic Jewish identity, employing symbolic images of the Jewish past and Jewish intellectual life. In particular, they construct the relationship between mainstream Jewish community and queerness as a relationship between two biblical sources, the legal material of Leviticus and the narratives of David and Jonathan in the books of Samuel....The reworkings of the biblical texts and associated with them discourses in contemporary Jewish gay fiction serves to legitimize Jewish queer experience and to resist the dominant narratives of Jewish-gay dichotomy by representing mainstream traditional Judaism as always already queer in multiple ways. The Jewish tradition, under an umbrella of queerness, is imagined as responsive to the individual sensibilities of contemporary queer subjects who work to make Judaism intelligible for themselves, as well as to make their experience intelligible from a Jewish perspective."

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