Queer theory emerged in the early 1990s from what was then the relatively new field of lesbian and gay studies, with significant influences from feminist and gender studies. Although the study of homosexuality plays an important role in queer theory, queer theory also analyzes the ways in which norms associated with sex and gender are created and reproduced, but also destabilized throughout society and culture, including within religious texts and practices. These norms include the privileging and naturalization of opposite-sex sexual relations; the organization of sexual and gendered meanings around stable, binary identities and fixed desires; and the valorization of reproductive kinship and monogamous marriage as primary goals for, and the foundation of, human society.

The term “queer theory” itself first appeared in a special issue of the feminist journal differences, which bore the title Queer Theory: Lesbian and Gay Sexualities. The editor of the volume, feminist film theorist Teresa de Lauretis, was one of two contributors to the volume who actually used the phrase (along with feminist film theorist Sue-Ellen Case), and she is often credited with coining it. The term “queer” was already being used at the time by activist groups, such as Queer Nation and ACT-UP, which had reclaimed the word “queer” from its former principal use as an insult and turned it into a rallying cry for political and social organizing. De Lauretis, however, combined the term “queer” with “theory” in an academic context as part of her project of interrogating the tendency to elide multiple differences in the study of lesbian and gay sexualities, including differences of gender, race, ethnicity, class, culture, geography, and generation. De Lauretis suggested that the “socio-cultural specificity” (1991, p. v) of such differences was too complex to be accounted for simply by substituting the phrase “lesbian and gay” in place of the older terms “gay” or “homosexual” as supposedly inclusive terms. Rather than being satisfied with unifying or inclusive narratives, the study of lesbian and gay sexualities needed to account for heterogeneities. By using what was then still a novel phrase, queer theory, de Lauretis attempted to bring a more differentiating lens to the study of sexuality, gender, and culture.

Only five years after the appearance of the collection edited by de Lauretis, New York University Press published a short volume by Annamarie Jagose titled Queer Theory: An Introduction (1996). The appearance of such a volume indicated that queer theory had already become an area of academic discourse sufficiently large and important to justify the publication of introductory summaries for those who were curious about the topic. By the time Jagose’s introduction appeared, queer theory was associated closely with the writings of a number of influential scholars in the humanities, including Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, David Halperin, and Michael Warner. Most of these scholars were influenced in turn by various poststructuralist writings, especially the philosophical and historical work on sexuality, power, and discourse written by French philosopher Michel Foucault. Yet Jagose emphasized from the opening pages of her introduction that queer theory was difficult to define, suggesting that “its definitional indeterminacy, its elasticity, is one of its constituent characteristics” (Jagose, 1996, p. 1) and a source of much of its usefulness. This emphasis on “definitional indeterminacy” continues to be widespread in queer theory. A more recent introductory volume by Donald Hall, for example, which carries the title Queer Theories in the plural, argues explicitly that “there is no ‘queer theory’ in the singular, only many different voices and sometimes overlapping, sometimes divergent perspectives that can be loosely called ‘queer theories’” (Hall, 2003, p. 5).

Given the resistance to definition and the emphasis on multiplicity and divergence in these and other discussions of queer theory, it might seem foolish to attempt to provide a summary of it for an encyclopedia. The attempt is necessary, however, since queer theories have provided some of the most widely discussed accounts of sex, gender, and sexuality in contemporary academic literature. These accounts have had significant, albeit varying, influence in numerous other academic disciplines, including biblical studies (see, e.g., Moore, 2001; Stone, 2005, 2013; Macwilliam, 2011; Hornsby and Stone, 2011; Guest, 2012).

Although the discussion that follows does not provide a simple definition for queer theory, it does identify several recurring themes or emphases that often characterize work associated with queer theory. No one of these themes or emphases automatically leads to the labeling of an academic piece as queer theory, and no academic piece associated with queer theory necessarily includes all of these themes or emphases. Taken together, however, they may be understood as coordinates to guide scholars who wish to explore issues or utilize analytical questions associated with queer theories for purposes of biblical interpretation. For convenience, these coordinates are organized here under the following categories: (1) radicalizing the study of sexual practice, (2) the critical analysis of categories of sexual identity, (3) the critical analysis of sex/gender categories, (4) the critique of heteronormativity, and (5) other directions.

Radicalizing the Study of Sexual Practice.

During the latter half of the twentieth century, sexuality increasingly came to be seen as a legitimate topic for academic research. The growth of academic studies of sexuality resulted from several intellectual developments, including feminist scholarship’s arguments for analyzing relations formerly relegated to the “private” sphere. Within the broader category of sexual relations, queer theories tend to focus greater attention on forms of sexual practice and desire that contravene social norms for proper sexual behavior. Such attention necessarily includes within its purview homosexuality, which has often been outlawed, condemned, or otherwise stigmatized because it violates the assumption that sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is the only proper or natural form of sexual activity.

Queer theory builds on historical and social-scientific studies of same-sex relations from various times and places, from ancient Greece and Rome to Renaissance Europe to contemporary urban lesbian and gay communities. It also builds on studies of various types of same-sex relations, from rites of passage that involve oral insemination between young males in parts of Papua New Guinea to the “romantic friendships” between women in early modern Europe. For most queer theorists, however, such studies do not function simply as components of a comprehensive history or comparative analysis of a single object, “homosexuality.” Rather, the varieties of same-sex sexual practices uncovered by historians and social scientists are used to raise critical questions about modern categories of sexual identity and desire (see the section “Critical Analysis of Categories of Sexual Identity”).

In their examination of stigmatized forms of sexuality, moreover, queer theorists move beyond the history of same-sex relations to explore a wider range of nonnormative sexual practices. A significant influence in this regard is the anthropologist Gayle Rubin, who in 1984 published a groundbreaking article in the context of feminist debates over sexuality titled “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality.” Rubin argued that scholarship on sexuality, including some feminist scholarship, has been unduly influenced by several “ideological formations” that distort perceptions of sexual practice. These formations include a “sex negativity,” rooted in part in Christian tradition, that “always treats sex with suspicion” (Rubin, 2011, p. 148); a “fallacy of misplaced scale” that exaggerates the moral significance of sexual matters in comparison with other bodily matters, such as, for example, food and eating; and a “hierarchical system of sexual value” that evaluates sexual acts and the people who participate in them by comparing them to the standard of marital, reproductive heterosexuality (Rubin, 2011, p. 149). In place of such ideological formations, Rubin called for “a concept of benign variation” within the study of sexuality that accepts pluralism in sexual matters as in other matters of cultural practice. Significantly, Rubin extended this anthropological openness to sexual variation far beyond the mere tolerance for homosexuality. Her various writings include nonstigmatizing discussions of consensual sadomasochism, pornography, prostitution, cross-generational sex, and sex clubs.

Queer theory continues to build on Rubin’s legacy by considering controversial sexual activities as legitimate objects for careful analysis and understanding rather than occasions for moral condemnation. Even forms of sexual interaction that are widely condemned in lesbian and gay communities may be interpreted sympathetically within queer theory. For example, one recent study by Tim Dean created academic controversy by combining empirical and theoretical tools to analyze in a nonstigmatizing way the reemergence in the United States of practices of “barebacking,” or anal intercourse between men without the use of a condom, which had been generally disapproved by safer sex discourses in the wake of the AIDS crisis (Dean, 2009). Such studies are not written for shock value or to deny a role for sexual ethics. Rather, they attempt to explore the roles played by a range of sexual norms and practices in the creation of alternative communities, pleasures, and identities. Dean, for example, analyzed subcultural relations of intimacy and kinship that have been created among the men participating in bareback practices.

Although the study of radical sex practices might seem to have little relevance for biblical interpretation, queer theory points out that the boundaries between such practices and other phenomena that initially appear unconnected to them are less stable than is often assumed. For example, the dynamics of power, pleasure, bondage, and release associated with sadomasochism may also be at work in other contexts. Biblical scholars influenced by queer theory have therefore used studies of sadomasochism to analyze such biblical texts as the story of Samson and Delilah, the cycle of punishment and release that characterizes Judges and the Deuteronomistic History (Rowlett, 2001), and Jeremiah’s poem (Jer 20:7–18) characterizing his experience of his prophetic relationship to God as a kind of sexual overpowering (Stone, 2007).

Critical Analysis of Categories of Sexual Identity.

As noted above, queer theorists call attention to wide varieties of sexual practices and beliefs about sexual practices. One consequence of this attention is a critical perspective on modern Western categories of sexual identity, particularly the binary distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality. In the modern West, the distinction between heterosexual and homosexual “sexual orientations” is premised on the belief that sexual desire for members of the opposite sex and sexual desire for members of one’s own sex are mutually exclusive and, in most cases at least, unchanging dispositions that play a crucial role in individual identities. Indeed, the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality is discussed at times as if it corresponds to a distinction between two ontologically different types of people (e.g., heterosexuals and homosexuals or straights and gays) who might in principle be found anywhere. Yet research on same-sex desires and practices in other times and places indicates that the tendency to organize identity around the biological sex of one’s preferred sexual objects may be quite recent and still somewhat restricted to industrial Western societies. Indeed, Foucault, in his influential History of Sexuality, Volume 1, argued that it was only in nineteenth-century Europe that homosexuality came to be understood “less as a habitual sin than as a singular nature…. The sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species” (Foucault, 1978, p. 43). Foucault characterized this development as one of many effects of various productive mechanisms of power and knowledge that emerged around this time, such as observation, classification, comparison with norms, diagnosis, and the state management of populations. Although Foucault’s periodization can be disputed, queer theory has generally followed his argument that the emergence of a specific sexual classification, “the homosexual,” and its corresponding subjective self-understanding is a product of specific historical developments rather than a reflection of natural or transhistorical realities. Participants in same-sex sexual activities in other contexts do not necessarily understand themselves to belong to a distinct category of persons based on the gender of their preferred sexual object; and they do not necessarily understand their participation in same-sex relations to rule out sexual activity with members of the opposite sex.

Queer theorists such as Sedgwick have gone on to point out, however, that heterogeneities in sexual desire, practice, and identity do not simply result from historical change or cross-cultural difference. Even within specific contexts, individual lives, or cultural products, the desires, practices, and identities associated with sexuality may be, in Sedgwick’s words, “unexpectedly plural, varied, and contradictory” (Sedgwick, 1990, p. 48). Thus, although queer theory builds on influential arguments for the “social construction” of sexuality and homosexuality (e.g., Weeks, 1985; Greenberg, 1988), many queer theorists take a deconstructive rather than a social-scientific approach to the fluidity and unpredictability of sexual desire, practice, and identification. A queer theoretical exploration of ancient texts, then, would not be satisfied with reconstructing ancient assumptions and norms about sexuality, using such assumptions and norms to reinterpret ancient texts, or noting the differences between those assumptions and norms and our own. Although each of these steps would be important, a reading of ancient texts informed by queer theory would also look for moments in those texts where the assumptions being made about sexual matters are potentially undermined or destabilized in the texts themselves.

Some lesbians and gay men have raised concerns about the possibility that queer theory’s historicizing of the category of homosexuality, or its calling attention to instabilities in modern assumptions about fixed sexual desires and identities, might undermine the basis for political organizing on behalf of lesbians and gay men. Queer theorists do not call into question the empirical existence of same-sex desires or lesbian and gay communities, however, and they have generally been advocates for greater freedom for members of those communities, often belonging to such communities themselves. Several prominent queer theorists who challenge the fixed nature of modern sexual identity categories have published books that address queer politics explicitly (e.g., Sedgwick, 1993; Halperin, 1995). Thus, concerns about queer theory’s potential negative consequences for lesbian and gay political organizing are probably misplaced.

Moreover, queer theory has consequences not only for our understanding of homosexuality but also for our understanding of heterosexuality. To conceptualize heterosexuality as a distinct phenomenon, one must distinguish it clearly from homosexuality. The identification of heterosexuality as a stable norm for sexual behavior depends upon its differentiation from homosexuality as heterosexuality’s deviant other. If the binary distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality is undermined, assumptions about fixed or consistent heterosexual identities and desires are as much at risk as assumptions about fixed or consistent homosexual identities and desires.

One implication of the critical analysis of modern identity categories for biblical scholarship is that scholars may need to be cautious about imposing such categories on biblical texts. The fact, for example, that biblical characters such as David or Ham have wives and sire children would not rule out the possibility of their participation in male-male sexual practices in the mind of an ancient audience.

Critical Analysis of Sex/Gender Categories.

Queer theory does not simply raise critical questions about the binary distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality. It also raises critical questions about binary distinctions between male and female sexes, binary distinctions between masculine and feminine genders, and the relationship between sex and gender itself.

The distinction between sex and gender has been a crucial tool for gender analysis. Users of the distinction generally assume that, although biological differences between male and female sexes are relatively obvious, cultures and societies construct and make use of those differences in a wide variety of ways. The term “gender” is therefore used most often to refer to the multiple ways in which biological sex is interpreted and organized. Rubin, in an influential discussion of this organization, refers to each society’s “sex/gender system” as the “set of arrangements by which the biological raw material of human sex and procreation is shaped by human, social intervention and satisfied in a conventional manner, no matter how bizarre some of the conventions may be” (Rubin, 2011, p. 39). Other discussions of gender place more emphasis on differences between “masculine” and “feminine” psychological dispositions or bodily habits that may or may not correspond to an individual’s biological sex. The distinction between sex and gender has been especially valuable for feminist efforts to combat the notion that women are, by virtue of being biological women, ill-suited for certain social roles, which in male-dominated societies often turn out to be exactly those roles that receive more power and prestige.

Queer theory makes several different moves with respect to this influential distinction between sex and gender. First, queer theory tends to emphasize even more heavily than many other gender analyses the wide scope of possibilities that exist for gendered behavior and identification. Consider for example “masculinity.” Gender analyses of masculinity will often note the divergent conceptions of “masculine” behavior in different cultures. Some analyses also note that a male who fails to exhibit so-called masculine behaviors to the same degree as other males in the same society may for that reason receive less power or prestige than men who are supposed to be more “manly.” Although such projects recognize the malleability of masculinity, they still tend to associate its various manifestations with male bodies. Queer theory might go further, however, and emphasize that there are many individuals with biologically male bodies who behave or self-identify in a range of ways that are considered “feminine”; and there are many individuals with biologically female bodies who behave or self-identify in a range of ways that are considered masculine. Thus queer theorists have explored such topics as the behaviors, identifications, and subcultural activity that Judith Halberstam refers to as “female masculinity” (Halberstam, 1998) or “feminine” identification and subcultural activity among gay men, especially in the practices associated with “camp” (Halperin, 2012). By making such moves, queer theory underscores how complicated the relationships between sexed bodies, on the one hand, and gendered behavior, dispositions, and identification, on the other hand, actually are.

Some queer theorists go further and emphasize not only the multiplicity and fluidity of gendered social roles, behaviors, and identifications, but also the instability of binary notions of biological sex that are widely assumed to underlie the sex/gender distinction. One critic of the biological categories “male” and “female,” the French writer Monique Wittig, suggested that these categories are more political than natural. Although many differences among bodies obviously exist, the influence of binary categories of sex leads society, in Wittig’s view, to “mark,” socially and politically, exactly those parts of bodies that are most useful for sexual reproduction. Other social imperatives might well lead us to categorize bodies by marking other bodily features. Because binary categories of sex support the imperatives of heterosexual intercourse and reproduction, Wittig argued, “the category of sex is the political category that founds society as heterosexual” (1992, p. 5). Resisting this function of sex, Wittig tended to write in support of a utopia in which biological sex would no longer be granted significance.

Wittig’s skeptical attitude toward the ontological significance of biological sex has had some influence on the work of the feminist philosopher Judith Butler. Although Butler takes some distance from Wittig’s utopianism, she follows Wittig (as well as Foucault) in her interrogation of the assumption that binary biological sexes are a natural base or foundation on which cultural notions of gender are constructed. Could it not be the case, Butler asks, that binary notions of biological sex are themselves “the effect of the apparatus of cultural construction designated by gender” (Butler, 1999, p. 11)? In the course of exploring this question across several publications, Butler developed one of the most influential ideas to emerge from queer theory: a “performative” account of sex and gender.

Butler’s performative theory attempts to displace the idea that either sex or gender is a “substance.” Against such ideas, Butler suggests that gender has more to do with doing than with being. That is, “the substantive effect of gender is performatively produced and compelled by the regulatory practices of gender coherence” (1999, p. 33). As this reference to “regulatory practices” indicates, Butler does not believe that humans freely choose our genders, although her use of drag practices to illustrate some of her ideas has led to some misunderstanding about this point. We always act in relation to norms and social constraints that precede us. Over time, the repetition of ritualized practices that attempt to conform to gender norms produces the impression that stable, absolute distinctions can be made between male and female bodies and behaviors. We come to believe that our actions “express” an underlying gender identity. In Butler’s view, however, coherent gender identities do not ground gender practices. Rather, repeated and “stylized” gender practices create gender identities. Gender identities are “a performative accomplishment which the mundane social audience, including the actors themselves, come to believe and to perform in the mode of belief” (Butler, 1999, p. 179).

Nevertheless, our repeated attempts to embody gender norms are never entirely successful. The contingency and instability of gender are exposed by the discontinuities that exist between gender norms and gender practices or between one gender practice and another. For Butler and other queer theorists, attention to such discontinuities is a potentially important political move. By recognizing or intensifying, rather than denying or outlawing, the differences that appear between one gender performance and another, we may destabilize what Butler calls “the compulsory order of sex/gender/desire” (Butler, 1999, p. 9), which assumes that a clear biological sex should be expressed in a coherent, “intelligible” gender (Butler, 1999, p. 23) that corresponds to a fixed, normally heterosexual, desire. The political hope is that such destabilization may make more room for the survival or flourishing of bodies and lives that stand in tension with what Butler calls “the imaginable domain of gender” (Butler, 1999, p. 13).

Although Butler’s analyses are articulated in a theoretical language that is, at times, quite complex, she also does reference the treatment of those whose actual lives stand in tension with binary norms for sex and gender, including drag queens, transgender, and intersex persons (see, e.g., Butler, 2004, pp. 57–101). Transgender and intersex lives receive more attention from other scholars, however, who note that such lives not only expose the incoherence of binary notions of sex and gender but also challenge some assumptions prevalent among queer theorists themselves (e.g., Morland, 2009). The relevance for biblical interpretation of queer theory’s interrogation of gender is perhaps more obvious than some other queer theoretical emphases. The Bible clearly refers to a binary distinction between male and female sexes and appeals to this distinction for purposes of heterosexual reproduction (e.g., Gen 1:27–28). Across biblical literature, characters are usually identified as belonging to one sex or the other and are represented as acting in relationship to ancient gender norms. The degree to which their actions conform to or transgress such norms is highly variable, however. By paying attention to such variability as it manifests in biblical texts, biblical scholars may help to undermine the assumption that gender is a coherent expression of two fixed, substantive biological sexes.

Critique of Heteronormativity.

Queer theory suggests that assumptions about proper sexual practice (most often, heterosexual intercourse), fixed binary sexual identities (heterosexual or homosexual), fixed binary sexes (male or female), and fixed binary genders (masculine or feminine) are articulated in ways that are mutually reinforcing in modern Western society. Together, such assumptions form part of a larger system of norms and institutions that is sometimes referred to critically as “heteronormativity.” Heteronormativity, a term coined by Michael Warner (1993), often entails other assumptions as well, including a commitment to monogamous marriage as the foundation for society, a belief that sexual activity is most appropriately associated with romantic love and reproduction, and a valorization of successful child-rearing as the proper goal for a fulfilled life. A critique of heteronormative society’s organization around the figure of the child and a good life defined by “reproductive futurity” has led to a lively debate among queer theorists about the dangers of subscribing to socially defined hopes for the future and whether hope for the future is itself compromised by heteronormativity (cf. Edelman, 2004; Muñoz, 2009). Matters less directly associated with sex, gender, and kinship can also be articulated to heteronormativity, including class-based assumptions about hard work, vocational commitment, and the appropriate display of bodily gesture and emotion. Rather than being restricted to matters of sex, gender, and sexual practice, then, heteronormativity is tied to larger “regimes of the normal” (Warner, 1993, p. xxxvi). It is reproduced across many spheres of modern life, including religious institutions, academic institutions, media, and other sites for popular culture.

If heteronormativity is understood to entail a wider field of norms and normalization and not simply the institutionalized preference for heterosexuality over homosexuality combined with a belief in fixed gender and sexual identities, then the aims of queer scholarship and activism are broadened in a corresponding way. As Warner argues, queer scholarship and activism “gets a critical edge by defining itself against the normal rather than the heterosexual, and normal includes normal business in the academy” (p. xxxvi). This way of understanding queer work helps to explain the indeterminacy of definitions of queer theory. Since “the normal” varies by time and place, queer opposition to it also takes on different forms. In Halperin’s words, queer “acquires its meaning from its oppositional relation to the norm. Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant” (Halperin, 1995, p. 62).

One element of such opposition, however, is the recognition that heteronormativity is never as stable as its proponents claim. Like gender or sexual desire, heteronormativity is riven with contradictions and ambiguities. By calling attention to its incoherence, queer critics of heteronormativity attempt to make space for cultural forms and practices that provide alternatives to it.

Queer critiques of heteronormativity frequently note that individuals who might for certain purposes be considered queer—for example, some lesbians and gay men—may nonetheless subscribe to particular values associated with heteronormativity. Since the valorization of monogamous matrimony plays a key role in the cluster of assumptions associated with heteronormativity, some queer theorists have raised critical questions about the emphasis on marriage equality in lesbian and gay politics. Jasbir Puar has coined the term “homonormativity” to refer to the tendency of some lesbians and gay men to promote dominant or regressive norms. Puar notes, for example, that the push for gay marriage in parts of Europe and the United States is sometimes articulated with anti-Muslim rhetoric to reinforce a widespread binary opposition between “barbarism and civilization” (Puar, 2007, p. 20), which opposes Islam and terrorism to mainstream tolerance and gay marriage. Puar’s arguments align her work with that of other queer theorists, discussed further below, who argue that the study of gender and sexuality must pay greater attention to the ways in which gender and sexuality relate to nationality, religion, race, and ethnicity.

Biblical scholars influenced by queer theory may wish to examine the many ways in which readings of biblical texts support or undermine contemporary heteronormativity. Moreover, if the queer critique of normativity extends to a critique of “normal business in the academy,” as Warner (1993) suggests, then a biblical interpretation influenced by queer theory may put some distance between its own procedures and those of mainstream biblical studies. Rather than restricting itself to the application of conventional methods of biblical scholarship to new objects such as sexual practice and same-sex relations, queer biblical interpretation may experiment with new questions and new genres that displace or move beyond normative assumptions about proper academic method.

Other Directions.

Although attention to sexual practice, sexual identities, gender, and heteronormativity have animated much work in queer theory, queer theorists in recent years have also moved in other directions. Like feminist theory, for example, and as evidenced in Puar’s work noted above, queer theory has begun to take more seriously the inevitable entanglement of matters of sex, gender, and sexuality with matters of race, ethnicity, and nation. Discussions of “queer race” (e.g., Sullivan, 2003, p. 57–80) note that categories of race, like categories of gender and sexuality, are often taken to be natural and universal rather than historical and culturally specific. Yet modern notions about race are inextricably intertwined with notions about gender and sexuality that have too often been analyzed in isolation from racial dynamics. By taking up this set of issues, queer theory returns in some ways to the attention to multiple differences Teresa de Lauretis called for when she first coined the term “queer theory.” Indeed, recognition of the “intersectionality” of sexuality and gender with race and culture returns queer theory to even earlier roots, since one of the first uses of the term “queer” in cultural theory was in Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera, one of several influential writings by radical women of color that emerged during the 1980s prior to queer theory (Anzaldúa, 1987). This strand of queer work has significant relevance for biblical interpretation, since matters of sexual practice and gender are related to matters of ethnicity and religion in numerous biblical texts including, for example, the story of Lot and his daughters that concludes the account of Sodom in Genesis 19 (Stone, 2013).

A number of queer theorists have also participated in a recent turn to “affect” as an important object for academic analysis. Such theorists point out that notions of the heteronormative “good life” are often entwined with notions about proper and positive feeling. Attention to more disturbing affects and experiences, such as shame or failure, may therefore be useful for the queer critique of heteronormative society (e.g., Halperin and Traub, 2009; Halberstam, 2011). An emerging interest in queer approaches to temporality has already been noted above. In fact, queer theorists have set out in so many new directions in recent years that some scholars have asked whether queer theory has now moved to a position “after sex” (Halley and Parker, 2011; cf. Hall and Jagose, 2013).

The relevance of some of these emerging queer questions for biblical interpretation is unclear. Nevertheless, biblical scholars have much to gain from greater attention to the rethinking of sex, gender, sexual practice, desire, and normativity that is still most closely associated with the term “queer theory.”




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Ken Stone