We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

Queer Readings

By 2007, according to the revised entry in the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the adjective “queer” was commonly, if still not exclusively, associated with homosexuality, something even more true of the noun; this association had been a long one (for the adjective, the oldest citation in this sense is 1914; for the noun, 1894). That it remained an ambiguous association is borne out by the compilers’ careful comment that “although originally chiefly derogatory (and still widely considered offensive, esp. when used by heterosexual people), from the late 1980s it began to be used as a neutral or positive term (originally of self-reference, by some homosexuals).” Some gay men and lesbians felt the need to replace not only the word “homosexual,” compromised in their eyes by its historical association with a dominant medical, legal, and social discourse, but even the terms “gay” and “lesbian,” which were proving inadequate to express the full range of nonconforming sexual desires and practices. Attempts were made to widen the scope of gay and lesbian by more inclusive labels such as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered). The reclamation of the word “queer” from its use as an insult gained some popularity toward the end of the twentieth century—according to Michael Warner, writing in 1993, in “the last two or three years” (1993, p. xxvi). But it also brought about its own ambiguities. “Queer” came to be used in two different, though related, senses. First, it acted as shorthand, a loose umbrella term by which one could understand not only gay and lesbian but also bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, and any other minority that saw itself out of kilter with the sexually “normal.” Secondly, “queer” began to be used as a self-referential identity tag, particularly by those involved in radical, anti-assimilationist sexual politics, of which the best-known example is Queer Nation (for details, see Jagose, 1996, pp. 107–109).

Queer Theory and Its Ambiguities.

An added complication was the emergence in the 1990s of queer theory, a new academic approach to gender studies, which first came to public attention, according to Stephen Moore (2001, p. 12), at a 1990 conference on the subject at the University of California, Santa Cruz. With its origins in feminist and lesbian and gay studies, its early practitioners were academics in the fields of philosophy, culture, and literature. Defining queer theory in a sentence or two is notoriously difficult. Annamarie Jagose (1996, p. 1) comments that “part of queer’s semantic clout, part of its political efficacy, depends on its resistance to definition, and the way it refuses to stake its claim.” Further there is disagreement about its seminal thinkers. Arlene Stein and Ken Plummer single out Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1996, pp. 13–14). Nicki Sullivan lists “Sedgwick, Butler, de Lauretis, Bersani, Califia, Warner, Watney, and so on” (2003, p. 66). Jagose (1996, p. 79), focusing on “the post-structuralist context in which queer emerges,” adds to the names Althusser, Lacan, and Saussure that of Michel Foucault. Foucault (1990, pp. 42–43) famously argued that homosexuality was an invention of nineteenth-century psychiatrists and psychologists and what emerged at that time was the homosexual as a species. His social constructionist view of (homo)sexuality was developed by Judith Butler, especially in her Gender Trouble (1999) and Bodies That Matter (1993); she and Foucault together could be considered the most important contributors to the emergence of queer theory. She argued that the apparatus of “compulsory heterosexuality” (a key term in her work that is roughly equivalent to “heteronormativity”) contrives to make (biological) sex, gender, and sexuality appear natural. As she put it: “Gender is the repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeals over time to produce the appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being” (Butler, 1999, pp. 43–44).

Discourse, that is, the whole process whereby we communicate with each other, impels us from the moment of our birth on a life course of a “stylized repetition of acts” (Butler, 1999, p. 179), from which emerge our gender and our sexuality. It is significant that Butler calls this process “performativity,” a term taken from linguistics. Our gender, and indeed our very identity, are molded through discourse. The subject is created by discourse, and not vice versa. Most queer theorists share this radical critique that puts into question the conceptual stability of both sexuality and gender itself. But their analysis may seem to undermine not only the beneficiaries of heteronormativity but also those who seek to challenge the power of those beneficiaries through identity politics—in particular feminists and lesbian and gay liberationists. If queer theory contests identity, it may well seem to be at odds with those who use queer as an identity tag or umbrella term. Indeed, Butler’s own attitude to the possibility of resisting heteronormativity seems vague. She has suggested resistance through “practices of parody” (p. 179), which led Martha Nussbaum to suggest that Butler had left women as “prisoners of the structures of power that have defined our identity,” and that all “we can hope to do is to find spaces within the structures of power in which to parody them, to poke fun at them.” Nussbaum concluded that the consequence was “a stance that looks very much like quietism and retreat” (Nussbaum, 1999, p. 38). This criticism is relevant to later reactions to queer theory, since in some critics’ eyes it became an academic game, played particularly by gay men, and represented an erasure of feminist and lesbian concerns. (For further discussion, see Macwilliam, 2011, pp. 50–55.) Two comments are worth making here. One is a matter of fact: it is certainly the case that queer theory emerged not as a public political movement but as an academic critical tool that is concerned primarily with texts (including film, music, and television). Secondly, although it is true that queer theory questions identity and is especially suspicious of such binaries as male/female and gay/straight, it denies not so much their existence as their naturalness and their permanence, and is thus not necessarily at odds with identity politics, but merely emphasizes its historical contingency.

By 1994, Stephen Moore notes, interest in queer readings was fully engaged, at least as far as scholars of modern literature were concerned (2001, pp. 10–12; he lists twenty relevant papers given at the 1994 Modern Languages Association midwinter conference, along with twenty-seven books on the topic in the accompanying book exhibit). Biblical scholars and theologians in general lagged behind: ATLA Religion Database used “queer theology” as a subject for the first time in 1992, and by 1995 only six articles had been assigned that term; these articles, it should be added, ranged far beyond biblical studies. By 2000, however, queer theory was sufficiently important to have its own entry in the Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation. Laurel Schneider’s useful essay (2000) was the first in a number of reflections on the nature and value of queer for biblical scholarship and theology. They range from the brief editorial by Stuart and Walton (2001, pp. 7–8), via Moore (2001, pp. 7–18) and Stone (2001, pp. 11–34), to the more recent and expansive Cornwall (2011, passim) and Macwilliam (2011, pp. 9–59). The editorial by Elizabeth Stuart and Heather Walton in a special issue of Theology and Sexuality featuring articles that had a “common engagement with queer theory” is doubly helpful not only in providing a brief summary of how “queer” can be used but also in alluding to ambiguity:

"The “essence” of queer theory…[is] that there is no essential sexuality or gender. “Queer” then is not actually another identity alongside lesbian and gay (although it is sometimes rather confusingly used to convey a radical coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons) but a radical destabilizing of identities and resistance to the naturalizing of any identity." (Stuart and Walton, 2001, p. 8)

To some, then, queer is the rallying point for a realigned nonheterosexual identity, but to others it is not an identity so much as a stance or positionality, by means of which identity itself is subverted.

Queer and the Bible.

This ambiguity is carried over into queer readings of the Bible, and in all three of the most prominent collections of essays on the topic that appeared between 2001 and 2011, both understandings of queer sit side by side within the same book covers. In his editorial introduction to the first collection of essays, Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible, Ken Stone discussed the existence of these two approaches. The first, using queer as an umbrella identity label, “places ‘queer readings of the Bible’ within the framework of conversations already taking place among biblical scholars about ‘social location and biblical interpretation’” (Stone, 2001, p. 16). One might term this use of queer as an inward-looking use of queer. Stone links it to reception theory, so that in this understanding queer readings of the Bible are those that use the biblical text as a resource for a particular (loose) grouping within society. He cites as an example Mona West’s paper in the collection; she suggests that the “poetry of Lamentations provides those in the Queer community who are in ‘mute despair’ words to order and articulate their experience of AIDS” (Stone, 2001, p. 141). Stone goes on to discuss what might be termed a more outward-looking use of queer, one that looks beyond the ghetto in order to invest the insights of those on the margins with transformative value—as Schneider puts it, queer theory “is not just for or about so-called homosexuals” (2000, p. 206). Stone’s other paper in Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible (Stone, 2001, pp. 116–139) is a good example of how queer theory can help us to question assumptions about gender. He reexamines the link between gender and food provision in Hosea 1—3; the literature on the topic, such as it is, is dominated by feminist interest in the relationship between food preparation and women. Using indicators of masculinity from cultural anthropology, Stone argues for a link between food provision and male honor, which allows him to reinterpret passages about food provision in Hosea 2 as articulating “a profound sense of anxiety about masculinity” (Stone, 2001, p. 135). The distinction between inward- and outward-looking uses of queer must not be pushed too far. Indeed, when one considers queer theory’s suspicion of binaries, it would be ironic to entangle it in a new one. A suspicion that inward-looking uses of queer are merely a continuation of lesbian and gay treatments of the biblical texts may well be dispelled when the far wider range of minorities covered by the term “queer” is borne in mind; in this understanding heterosexual does not necessarily mean heteronormative, and what Robert E. Goss calls “gay normativity” (2002, p. 229) is at odds with queer. And for their part, queer theorists may well use gay or lesbian experiences/identities as a base for a new understanding of gender and sexuality. What is common to both approaches is that generally, in Stone’s words, they shift “the focus away from the handful of texts that are endlessly analyzed in discussions of ‘the Bible and homosexuality’” (2001, p. 18).

A further problem to consider before we explore more examples of queer readings is posed by Susannah Cornwall in the title of a chapter in her Controversies in Queer Theology. “Is the Bible Queer?,” she asks, and expands on the question: “There is much debate, among queer scholars and others, about the extent to which biblical texts themselves are to be understood as promoting a particular heteronormative ideal, and the extent to which this sense has been read back into the Bible by its overwhelmingly heteronormative interpreters down the centuries” (Cornwall, 2011, p. 115). This question is important in that how one answers it dictates one’s strategy of reading. To put the question another way, if heteronormativity is indeed promoted in the Bible, is it possible to find nonheteronormative traces lurking within the texts that one can latch on to? This is not a new question, of course. It has been asked in different ways by feminist and lesbian and gay scholars as well as liberation theologians. As far as queer theory is concerned, it may be relevant to recall Butler’s concept of “necessary failures”: “The injunction to be a given gender produces necessary failures, a variety of incoherent configurations that in their multiplicity exceed and defy the injunction by which they are generated” (Butler, 1999, p. 185)

Emboldened by this (admittedly rather vague) pronouncement, some biblical scholars have sought out slippages within the texts whereby the artificial nature of the gender process is revealed. These may be linguistic or structural flaws, or they may be previously unnoticed inversions of the “normal” gender pattern. Roland Boer (Guest et al., 2006, pp. 258–261), for example, has pointed out the oddity of applying the Hebrew verb yld (to give birth) to men, and Stuart Macwilliam has searched for both structural and linguistic slippages in the operation of the marriage metaphor in the Hebrew Bible prophets (see, for example, Macwilliam, 2011, pp. 84–96).

As already mentioned, Butler also suggested that parody might serve as resistance: “There is a subversive laughter in the pastiche-effect of parodic practice in which the original, the authentic, and the real are themselves constituted as effects” (Butler, 1999, pp. 186–187). This was interpreted by some as advocating drag performance, though Butler herself later questioned whether such parodying “of the dominant forms is enough to displace them” (Butler, 1993, p. 125). But certainly parody, and within this label one might include the reading of modern texts alongside or against the biblical, has been employed as a queer reading strategy. One might instance Stone’s reading of the film Paris Is Burning against the struggle between Saul and David in 2 Samuel (Stone, 2011, pp. 75–98).

Some scholars have taken the very application of a (post)modern critique to an ancient text as in itself introducing something inappropriately alien. Sean Burke makes a robust response:

"I suspect that some will criticize the application of “queering” to biblical interpretation on the grounds that it is a strategy imported from outside the text. I argue, however, that the application of queering strategies developed outside the text enables a reader to see queering strategies already inscribed inside the text." (Hornsby and Stone, 2011, p. 186)

Queer Exemplars.

This leads on to the wider question of how one goes about a queer reading. No single strategy predominates. Perhaps it can be maintained that older, established methods that cluster around an objective pursuit of historical reality do not feature greatly. Postmodern suspicion of the impartial scholar in pursuit of authorial intentionality has led to a favoring of literary approaches, though the use of methodologies drawn from psychology and the social sciences have by no means been abandoned. All this comes as no surprise when one bears in mind the similar sources used by, for example, Foucault, Sedgwick, and Butler. To obtain a flavor of the variety of strategies used, it may be helpful to make a selective tour of the major works published so far.

Take Back the Word.

A good start could be made with Take Back the Word (Goss and West, 2000), a collection of essays that carries on the work of lesbian and gay biblical scholarship, but with differences hinted at by the phrase “queer reading” in the subtitle. It has an expanded scope that “engages the whole Bible and its message, not just selected texts and characters,” and moreover takes into account “the multifaceted nature of our community as gay men, lesbians, transsexuals, and bisexuals from different ethnicities, socioeconomic standings, and religious communities” (p. 4). That queer is used as an identity label is evident from the frequent occurrence of “queer community,” “queer readers,” “queer people,” and so on, though not all the contributors use such phrases. The methodology of most contributors is reader-response:

"These new voices have also produced a biblical hermeneutic that considers the particular social location of flesh-and-blood readers. Readers are members of specific communities, and their history with that community shapes the way they approach the biblical texts." (Goss and West, 2000, pp. 4–5)

Most of the contributors, then, give a response to particular texts from particular standpoints. Celia Duncan, for instance, reads “the story of Ruth as a bisexual midrash, making room for inclusive possibilities of alternative desires” (p. 92). Robert Goss, anticipating a significant strand in subsequent queer treatments of biblical texts, brings a passionately autobiographical element to his reading of the relationship between Jesus and the beloved disciple “to speak of the loss of his lover of sixteen years [to AIDS] and the ensuing grief” (p. 207). But amid all these voices, one or two hints of a radically new approach make a tentative appearance. It is true that in her foreword Mary Ann Tolbert does not give queer theory a warm welcome; she contrasts her earlier feminist optimism with “the increasingly powerful backlash against women, which has unfortunately even crept into some recent queer theory” (p. vii). But at least two of the contributors show some familiarity with the new arrival. Elizabeth Stuart argues, with a strong Butleresque echo, for a notion of queer “that challenges the understanding of the concept of the stable self and replaces it with an understanding of the self as unstable and constituted by ‘performance’ and improvisation within and in resistance to dominant discourses” (p. 31). Her paper anticipates another strand of queer treatments of biblical texts by using camp as a liberationist strategy. Ken Stone shows himself as an even greater enthusiast for queer theory. After a discussion of Wittig and Butler, he exposes incoherencies in the second creation account (Gen 2:4B–3:24) that lead him to argue not “that the Yahwist account is…a queer-positive text…[but that] the biblical contributions to the heterosexual contract, though clearly present and certainly visible in the Genesis creation accounts, are less secure than many contemporary readers wish to admit” (p. 67).

Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible.

Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible (Stone, 2001) makes an interesting contrast with Take Back the Word. It contains examples of both inward- and outward-looking uses of queer (Mona West’s essay has already been cited as an outstanding example of the former). Indeed, in his introduction Stone clearly articulates queer’s multivocal nature. But there is a shift in tone; this is not just because the contributions are fewer and longer and come almost exclusively from within the academic community. There is more frank and unapologetic avowal of the writer’s own sexuality and the part it plays in exegesis. So Timothy Koch declares: “I am a gay man and therefore my own guiding sensibility is homoerotic; and I write from my experience” (p. 169). Koch rejects the usual critiques employed to deflect attacks upon those who are not heterosexual. He argues they grant “to the Bible the power to authenticate or authorize human beings,” and he writes, “I name the locus of my authority as intrinsic” (p. 174). The result is an exegesis that has an air of parody, a defiant playfulness. He describes his strategy in gay terms as “Cruising the Scriptures,” using “our own ways of knowing, our own desire for connection, our own savvy and instinct, our own response to what attracts us and repels us” (p. 175). This playfulness can segue into outrageousness, as in Boer’s Yahweh as Top: A Lost Targum, which paints a picture of a psychoanalytic gathering on Mount Sinai, crammed with biblical characters (including Yahweh himself) in deviant disguise and all awash in camp and sadomasochism. Sadomasochism makes occasional appearances in queer writing. Lori Rowlett, for instance, explores its implications in her paper on Samson and Delilah in this volume (pp. 106–115), and aficionados of Foucault will recall that he described sadomasochism in terms of “desexualisation,” which, according to David Halperin, should be thought of as a detachment of pleasure from the genitals (Halperin, 1995, pp. 85–91). This provocative style may be dismissed as self-indulgent or worse. One reviewer, for instance, found “Boer’s contribution unnecessarily vulgar and over ‘the top’” (Brooke, 2002, p. 145). On the other hand, one could view Boer’s tone as a deliberate rejection of the prevalent academic style of writing (sober, dispassionate, and making itself out to be authoritative), which symbolizes a larger rejection of heteronormativity itself. Interestingly, a perhaps more significant criticism emerges from one of the three “responses” that end the volume. Tat-siong Benny Liew argues that “queer theory, despite its emphasis on queering more than just the norm of heterosexuality, tends to inherit from lesbian and gay studies the centrality of sex and sexuality” (Stone, 2001, p. 186). The result is that race and ethnicity are pushed out. Liew calls for queer theory to “develop a multifocal reading that attends simultaneously to sexuality, gender, class as well as race and ethnicity” (p. 188).

The Queer Bible Commentary.

In the most ambitious collection of queer readings to date, The Queer Bible Commentary (Guest et al., 2006) fills over 850 pages with 44 papers that cover all the biblical texts (with some books grouped together, notably the twelve minor prophets in one essay). It thus achieves a major success in getting away from those few texts that deal, or seem to deal, with same-sex desire. This is not to say that it sets out to be a verse-by-verse commentary. We learn from the brief preface (p. xiii) that, following the model set by The Women’s Bible Commentary (Newsom and Ringe, 1992), this book focuses “specifically upon those portions of the scriptural text that have particular relevance for readers interested in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues”; that it sets out to demonstrate that the “mooring that the scriptures are thought to provide is not as unshakeable and secure as some might hope” and that the biblical texts “have the ever-surprising capacity to be disruptive, unsettling and unexpectedly but delightfully queer.” Quite what is meant by queer and the method used to demonstrate that quality is left to the thirty-one contributors, and the result is a very wide variety of methodological approaches. Many contributors are inward-looking and may presuppose an LGBT audience or at least an audience with an interest in LGBT issues. Of these some follow the familiar pattern of attempting to detoxify those biblical texts that have traditionally been cited as condemnatory of same-sex desire or practice. So David Tabb Stewart tackles Leviticus 18 and 20 (pp. 96–99). Others follow the equally familiar pattern of identifying characters in the texts that may exercise a special appeal to lesbians or gay men; so Mona West on Ruth and Robert Goss on the beloved disciple (pp. 190–194 and pp. 560–562, respectively). Other contributors use queer as an opportunity to critique the assumptions of a wider world. Some develop a trend that was noted as a feature of Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible, a parody of the biblical text that carries with it a queering of the normative practices of academic biblical scholarship. Jennifer Koosed is explicitly transgressive:

"As a queer commentary, my readings will be wayward, unmoored from standard academic forms and models, perhaps even drifting too far into uncharted territory. But new discoveries only come from such unruly explorations." (Guest et al., 2006, p. 339)

Koosed concludes, “In writing with a queer identity…I experience a perverse pleasure, gaiety if you will, in writing in ways a biblical scholar is not supposed to write” (p. 343). Roland Boer offers a parody of Chronicles that involves the use of a camp hermeneutic, “for it seems to me that the cultic gravity and over-the-top masculinity of the text gives out to the playful overindulgence of camp” (p. 267; another example of camp exegesis can be found in Macwilliam, 2011, pp. 167–206). Boer’s remark is a reminder that when queer theory is added to a queer reading of a text, it is not only same-sex desire that comes under the spotlight; gender in general can be seen to be unstable, and the instability of masculinity, the top dog of heteronormativity, is an obvious and important target. This is the potential value of an outward-looking use of queer, one that Ken Stone, for one, fully recognizes in his study of David and the ideology of masculine power (Guest et al., 2006, pp. 195–221).

Bible Trouble.

From its title, one would imagine that this collection of queer biblical writings represented the full acceptance of queer theory in biblical scholarship. Yet Bible Trouble (Hornsby and Stone, 2011—the reference is to Butler’s Gender Trouble) maintains the practice of mixing inward- and outward-looking uses of queer, though it has to be said that the influence of queer theory upon its 16 papers is far more noticeable than in earlier collections. The most nuanced use of queer is that of Deryn Guest, who approaches queer theory with some caution as one of several “dialogue partners” to her lesbian-specific reading of Jael (p. 37). Some trends in previous queer readings of the biblical texts are more consciously articulated. If queer theory originally set out to subvert normative categories of sexuality and gender, its critique can be employed to besiege other normative strongholds. And here Bible Trouble makes a genuine effort to redress what critics have seen as a failing in earlier queer writings and to enact the program laid out in its preface: “Queer analysis today increasingly brings a critical lens to bear on the intersection of sexual dynamics with other dynamics such as race, class, nation, and culture” (p. ix). Among the several contributors who explore a queering of racial categories, Erin Runions reads Rahab as a queer borderline figure whose ethnicity is a major factor in her challenge to the genocidal ideology of the Deuteronomic Historian. Similarly, in dissecting the rivalry between the houses of Saul and David, Ken Stone sees the treatment by the biblical writer of Saul’s Benjamite tribe as involving “something very close to ethnic slander” (p. 93).

Bible Trouble also continues the trend of subverting the norms of biblical scholarship itself: “Queer reading is characterized not simply by attention to diverse genders and sexualities but also by diversities of style, form, critical approach, and so forth” (Hornsby and Stone, 2011, p. x). Diversity of approach is certainly very much in evidence. To take a few examples, Runions combines, in an enticing strategical potpourri, an unfamiliar use of humor as an interruptive device with a more traditional deployment of redaction criticism to produce a new, if flawed, transgressive Rahab. Ken Stone reads 2 Samuel 3 alongside the film Paris Is Burning. Heidi Epstein extends the range of queer beyond gender to find in Penderecki’s Canticum (a musical realization of Song of Songs) “a loud hermeneutic of suspicion” (p. 119). Joseph Marchal reads two normative texts alongside each other—2 Corinthians on women prophets and a U.S. manual on mental health—in order to highlight the assumptions beneath the texts and how they can be challenged.

Finally, Bible Trouble continues the practice of Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible in containing a number of reflections on queer biblical readings. Perhaps the most heartfelt, and one from a confessional standpoint, comes from Sean Burke: “Are Christian communities today in need of ongoing conversion to a ministry of queering, in order that the Spirit might be poured out upon all flesh and everyone might be saved?” (Hornsby and Stone, 2011, p. 187).

A Queer Future?

Of course such a missionary zeal is not typical of most queer readings. Yet there is a shared goal to unsettle the heteronormative assumptions that have been associated with the biblical texts by generations of Jewish and Christian readers and interpreters. Queer readings continue to debate the extent to which these assumptions (as well as queer counterreadings) are embedded in the texts or foisted upon them by their readers. In the pursuit of this shared goal, queer readings still demonstrate a concern about sexual orientation—although LGBT issues, to judge by the contributions to Bible Trouble, have been extended to include wider aspects of gender. Thus, masculinity has been a target of queer interest, for instance, in Stephen Moore’s God’s Gym (1996), one of the rare instances of single-author monographs of queer readings. In an awakening that has the capacity for further development, queer readings have begun to show a willingness to engage with issues of power and dominance beyond gender, particularly with regard to race, ethnicity, and social class. There is now an opportunity to respond to the charge of being “an elitist discourse” that was leveled at queer theory by Deryn Guest (2005, p. 51).

Less urgently, though still of significance to the academic world, queer readings share with many postmodern endeavors a concern for a new tone and stance when writing about biblical texts. Distrustful of the authenticity of traditional “dispassionate” scholarship, many writers have sought alternative strategies of honesty that underline the personal agendas with which all writers saddle their writings. Often self-disclosure and autobiography are integral to the readings (for an account of this, see Macwilliam, 2011, pp. 157–164) with the effect of adding entertainment to enlightenment. When the authorial veil is removed, as it is, to take an outstanding example, in Stephen Moore’s God’s Beauty Parlor (2001), the results can be dazzling.




  • Brooke, George J. Review of Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible, edited by Ken Stone. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 26, no. 5 (2002): 144–145.
  • Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex.” New York: Routledge, 1993.
  • Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1999. Reprint of 1990 edition with revised preface.
  • Cornwall, Susannah. Controversies in Queer Theology. London: SCM, 2011.
  • Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1, An Introduction. Translated by Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage, 1990. First published in French in 1976.
  • Goss, Robert E. Queering Christ: Beyond Jesus Acted Up. Cleveland, Ohio: Pilgrim, 2002.
  • Goss, Robert E., and Mona West, eds. Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of the Bible. Cleveland, Ohio: Pilgrim, 2000.
  • Guest, Deryn. When Deborah Met Jael: Lesbian Biblical Hermeneutics. London: SCM, 2005.
  • Guest, Deryn, Robert E. Goss, Mona West, and Thomas Bohache, eds. The Queer Bible Commentary. London: SCM, 2006.
  • Halperin, David M. Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Hornsby, Teresa J., and Ken Stone, eds. Bible Trouble: Queer Reading at the Boundaries of Biblical Scholarship. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011.
  • Jagose, Annamarie. Queer Theory: An Introduction. New York: New York University Press, 1996.
  • Macwilliam, Stuart. Queer Theory and the Prophetic Marriage Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible. Sheffield, U.K.: Equinox, 2011.
  • Moore, Stephen D. God’s Gym: Divine Male Bodies of the Bible. New York: Routledge, 1996.
  • Moore, Stephen D. God’s Beauty Parlor: And Other Queer Spaces In and Around the Bible. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001.
  • Newsom, Carol A., and Sharon H. Ringe, eds. The Women’s Bible Commentary. London: SPCK, 1992.
  • Nussbaum, Martha C. “The Professor of Parody: The Hip Defeatism of Judith Butler.” New Republic, 22 February 1999, pp. 37–45.
  • Schneider, Laurel C. “Queer Theory.” In Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation, edited by A. K. M. Adam, pp. 201–212. Saint Louis, Mo.: Chalice, 2000.
  • Stein, Arlene, and Ken Plummer. “‘I Can’t Even Think Straight’: ‘Queer’ Theory and the Missing Sexual Revolution.” In Queer Theory/Sociology, edited by Steven Seidman, pp. 129–144. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1996.
  • Stone, Ken, ed. Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible. Cleveland, Ohio: Pilgrim, 2001.
  • Stuart, Elizabeth, and Heather Walton. “Editorial.” Theology and Sexuality 8 (2001): 7–8.
  • Sullivan, Nikki. A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory. New York: New York University Press, 2003.
  • Warner, Michael, ed. Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Stuart Macwilliam

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2022. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice