We are almost never encouraged in contemporary exegesis of the Pastoral Epistles to take the side of those 'dubious' and 'deviant' characters against whom our biblical author sets himself. When Men Were Not Men: Masculinity and Otherness in the Pastoral Epistles dares to give voice to those 'others' as a way to challenge the Pastor's (and his allies') 'performance' of masculinity. By deliberately highlighting texts where issues of masculinity, gender, power, race, money, (ab)use of religion and otherness are present in the Pastoral Epistles, Villalobos meticulously gazes upon bodies that have been marked as other by the sexist, racist and homophobic abuse of these texts. Why does the author of the PE constantly situate the 'others' in the place where Satan reigns? Why does he constantly repeat that those 'others' have deviated so greatly from the Pastor's right teaching? Why is he so obsessed with presenting himself as the legitimate promoter of right teaching? Why is the Pastor so eager to maintain the hierarchical household that privileges male over female, free bodies over slaves, manly men over effeminate bodies? These are some of the questions Villalobos addresses in When Men Were Not Men. He shows that all these questions have to do with issues of masculinity and the proper performance of being a 'real man'. He concludes that in fact no one even among the inner circle of the author's friends was a model of pure masculinity, and that they themselves not infrequently demonstrate the kinds of behaviour he himself inveighs against.
When Men Were Not Men by Manuel Villalobos Mendoza was published by Sheffield Phoenix Press Ltd in November 2014. The ISBN for When Men Were Not Men is 9781909697539.