Sex and Slaughter in the Tent of Jael Hardback

A Cultural History of a Biblical Story

by Colleen M. Conway;

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Sex and Slaughter in the Tent of Jael

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In the Hebrew Bible, Judges 4-5 tells the lurid story of the heroic figure of Jael, a woman who seduces the Canaanite general Sisera and then nails his head to the ground with a tent-peg, thus saving Israel from the troops of King Sabin. This gruesome tale has long intrigued scholars and artists alike. The many versions of the story that have appeared in art and literature have repeatedly and creatively built on the gendered themes of the tradition, often seeing in the encounter between Jael and Sisera some fundamental truth about the relationship between women and men. In Sex and Slaughter in the Tent of Jael, Colleen Conway offers the first sustained look at how this biblical tradition has been used artistically to articulate and inform cultural debates about gender. She traces the cultural retellings of this story in poems, prints, paintings, plays, and narratives across many centuries, beginning with its appearance in Judges 4-5 and continuing up to the present day. Once separated from its original theological context, the Jael/Sisera tradition becomes largely about gender identity, particularly the conflict between the sexes.
Conway examines the ways in which Jael has been reimagined by turns as a wily seductress, passionate lover, frustrated and bored mother, peace-bringing earth goddess, and deadly cyborg assassin. Meanwhile, Sisera variously plays the enemy general, the seduced lover, the noble but tragically duped victim, and the violent male chauvinist. Ultimately, Conway demonstrates that the ways in which Jael's actions are explained and assessed all depend on when, by whom, and for whom the Jael and Sisera story is being told. In examining the varying artistic renditions of the story, this book also provides a case study of the Bible's role as a common cultural resource in secular western culture.

Sex and Slaughter in the Tent of Jael by Colleen M. Conway was published by Oxford University Press Inc in November 2016. The ISBN for Sex and Slaughter in the Tent of Jael is 9780190626877.

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Details for Sex and Slaughter in the Tent of Jael

Author / Artist
Book FormatHardback
PublisherOxford University Press Inc (November 2016)
Number of Pages224
Thickness25 mm
Height235 mm
Width156 mm
Product Code4449980
Page last updated 12th October 2017
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