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The Bible and FeminismRemapping the Field$
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Yvonne Sherwood

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198722618

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198722618.001.0001

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Can an Adulteress Save Jesus? the Pericope Adulterae, Feminist Interpretation, and the Limits of Narrative Agency

Can an Adulteress Save Jesus? the Pericope Adulterae, Feminist Interpretation, and the Limits of Narrative Agency

Chapter:
(p.402) Chapter 23 Can an Adulteress Save Jesus? the Pericope Adulterae, Feminist Interpretation, and the Limits of Narrative Agency
Source:
The Bible and Feminism
Author(s):

Jennifer Knust

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198722618.003.0024

The pericope adulterae (John 7:53–8:11) is often interpreted as an inherently feminist story, one that validates women’s humanity in the face of a patriarchal order determined to reduce sexual sinners and women more generally to the status of object. Reading this story within a framework of queer narratology, however, leads to a different point of view, one that challenges the consequences of seeking rescue from a god and a text that are both quite willing to forge male homosocial bonds at a woman’s expense. As the history of this story also shows, texts and their meanings remain unsettled and therefore open to further unpredictable and contingent elaboration. Pondering my own feminist commitments, I attempt to imagine a world and a story where a woman is a person and Jesus is in need of rescue. Perhaps such a world is possible. Or perhaps it is not.

Keywords:   adultery, narratology, queer theory, homosocial triangle, Gospel of John, text criticism, structuralism

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