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Title: Jael's gender ambiguity in Judges 4 and 5
Author: Musa, Aysha W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 2395
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2020
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I argue that in Judges 4 and 5, Jael is better understood as a gender ambiguous character, rather than as a woman. My thesis addresses how Jael’s gender ambiguity has been erased or overlooked due to biblical scholars’ reliance on dominant discourses of heteronormativity and binary gender. Judges 4 and 5 includes a range of gender markers (objects, spaces, language) that suggest Jael’s femininity and masculinity and thus indicates Jael’s gender ambiguity. Such gender ambiguity is evident throughout Jael’s narrative. Jael performs roles and behaviours which have been constructed as feminine (mother, seductress, nurturer) as well as performances identified as masculine (violence, warrior, killer). Moreover, Jael performs femininity and masculinity simultaneously throughout their narrative. Despite such evidence of gender ambiguity, scholarly interpretations of Jael identify Jael unproblematically as a woman, ignoring this character’s non-normative performances of gender. In this thesis, I contribute an original reading of Jael by interpreting the text from a non-binary perspective, employing queer methodologies combined with a holistic approach. Encouraging biblical scholars to look beyond hetero-binarised expectations, my investigation reveals Jael, not as a woman, but as a gender ambiguous character.
Supervisor: Warren, Meredith ; Babbage, Frances Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available