God’s Own Gender? Masculinities in World Religions PDF - AZPDF.TIPS (2024)

God’s Own Gender? Daniel Gerster and Michael Krüggeler (Eds)

RELIGION IN DER GESELLSCHAFT herausgegeben von

Matthias Koenig, Volkhard Krech, Martin Laube, Detlef Pollack, Hartmann Tyrell, Gerhard Wegner, Monika Wohlrab-Sahr Band 44

ERGON VERLAG

God’s Own Gender? Edited by Daniel Gerster and Michael Krüggeler

ERGON VERLAG

Cover: Lucas Cranach the Elder, Adam, Florence, Uffizi Gallery, Inv. 1890. no. 1459. Courtesy of Ministerio dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo.

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.

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ISBN 978-3-95650-453-2 (Print) ISBN 978-3-95650-454-9 (ePDF) ISSN 1432-0304

Contents Daniel Gerster / Michael Krüggeler Masculinities in World Religions. Some Introductory Remarks ..............

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1. Masculinities in Modern Western Christianity Yvonne Maria Werner Concepts, Ideas, and Practices of Masculinity in Catholicism and Protestantism around 1900. Some Reflections on Recent Research ......................................................................................... 39 Felix Krämer Good News: Moral Masculinity, Whiteness, and the Media in Contemporary US History ................................................................. 65 Friederike Benthaus-Apel Feminization or (Re-)Masculinization of Religion in Contemporary Germany: A Critical Review of the ALLBUS 2012 Study ....................................................................................... 85 2. Masculinities in Premodern und Modern Islam Miriam Kurz Protectors, Statesmen, Terrorists? Gender and Masculinities in Muslim Texts and Contexts ................................................................ 105 Amanullah De Sondy The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities: A Far-Reaching Field of Inquiry ........................................................................................... 135

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CONTENTS

3. Masculinities in Talmudic and Medieval Judaism Admiel Kosman An Overview of Masculinity in Judaism: A Bibliographical Essay .............................................................................................. 149 Matthias Morgenstern Images of the Feminine Jewish Man. Concepts and Debates on Masculinities in Rabbinic Literature and Talmudic Culture .................... 185 Ruth Mazo Karras David and Bathsheba: Masculine Sexuality in Medieval Judaism and Christianity ................................................................... 201 4. Masculinities in South Asian Buddhism and Hinduism Serinity Young South Asian Masculinities: Hegemonic and Fluid ................................. 221 John Powers The Gendered Buddha: Neither God Nor Man, But Supremely Manly ............................................................................................. 245 Renate Syed “Honesty, bravery, self-control”: Constructions of Masculinities in India ........................................................................ 265 5. Further Considerations Björn Krondorfer God’s Hinder Parts and Masculinity’s Troubled Fragmentations: Trajectories of ‘Critical Men’s Studies in Religion’ ......................................................................................... 283 Acknowledgements .......................................................................... 301 Notes on Contributors ....................................................................... 303

Masculinities in World Religions. Some Introductory Remarks Daniel Gerster / Michael Krüggeler The relationship between religion and masculinity1 has increasingly become the subject of public debates in recent years. If, for example, people in a German pedestrian zone were asked whether they saw a connection between the self-image and behaviour of men and their religious affiliation, a majority would, after a brief moment of reflection, probably answer the question in the affirmative, and then point to the demeanour of young Muslim men. Indeed, criticism of Islam, and of what many perceive as its unenlight‐ ened and potentially violent idea of masculinity, is – at least in Western soci‐ eties, and in Germany not least because of the events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2015/20162 – at the centre of public controversy surrounding reli‐ gion and masculinity. In contrast, other issues to do with this subject – such as the derogatory statements made by some evangelical Christians about the right of women to have an abortion or about same-sex marriages, and the vehement adherence of the Catholic Church to celibacy – often take a back seat in public debates. But precisely the discussions about the events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve also make clear that no simple connection can be established – despite the repeated claims made with regard to Islam not only by German politi‐ cians,3 but also recently by the US President Donald Trump4 – between the normative stipulations of a religion and the behaviour of its (male) representa‐ tives. Rather than monocausal explanations, we should investigate instead the complexity of the relationship between religion and masculinity by, for 1

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We use the singular of both terms ‘religion’ and ‘masculinity’ throughout, although we are of course aware of the actual plurality of both. The same applies to different reli‐ gions such as ‘Islam’ and ‘Christianity’. The events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve are still the subject of fierce and emotional debate, in the public as well as in the academic sphere. For more details on the discus‐ sion, see Kurz, 121, in this volume. See, for example, the statements made by the CDU politicians Kristina Schröder and Julia Klöckner in: Christian Schwerdtfeger/Eva Quadbeck: 90 Strafanzeigen wegen Sex-Attacken – Kölns OB rät Frauen zu anderem Verhalten [90 Criminal Charges for Sex Attacks – Cologne’s Mayor Advises Women to Behave Differently]. In: Rheinische Post, 06/01/2016, A1; and Ulf Poschardt (in interview with Julia Klöckner): Wir haben zu lange nur zugeschaut [We Have Stood By and Watched For Too Long]. In: Die Welt, 06/01/2016, 5. See, for example, Peter Baker/Eileen Sullivan: Trump Sets Off Furor in Sharing Extremist Videos. In: New York Times, 30/11/2017, A1.

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example, locating the self-image and behaviour of men within the multilayered context of ethnic and social origin, of age, sexual orientation, and personal religiosity, as well as by analyzing the historical development and internal plurality of a religion such as Islam.5 How multi-layered the mutual relationship really is between religion and masculinity becomes even clearer when we shift our focus from the current situation in Germany and expand our perspective both historically and geographically. A look into the past of European Christianity already suffices to prove the historical contingency of the position of men in and to religion on the one hand, and of religious ideas and practices of masculinity on the other. It is of course true that the Christian religion constituted and stabilized for centuries (and it still does to a large extent today) the social, political and economic dominance of men – theologically, by deriving the gender polarity in society from a divine order; dogmatically, by justifying the prominent po‐ sition of men in church and society. Not without reason was and is God often understood and depicted as a ‘man’. But there are also counterexamples in history that question male dominance. Thus, a feminization of religion has been repeatedly attested for the 19th century,6 and Pope John Paul I said in 1978 that “God is our father; even more, he is our mother”.7 The image that we have chosen for our book cover also exemplifies the historical change that the relationship between religion and masculinity constantly undergoes.8 Lucas Cranach the Elder’s depiction of Adam can of course be interpreted as a classic topos of a male dominance promoted by Christianity, and its reproduction on our cover page therefore criticized as continuing hegemonic and Eurocentric ideas of masculinity.9 On the other hand, though, we could also take a historical perspective and point to the fact that the image of God in ‘man’ depicted in the painting was challenged at the

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Thus, in connection with the events in Cologne, the Frankfurt anthropologist Susanne Schröter rightly called for a nuanced approach to Muslim men, and accused the disci‐ pline of gender studies of lacking practical relevance. See, for example, Thomas Thiel (in interview with Susanne Schröter): Wie viel Islam steckt im sexuellen Übergriff? [How Much Islam is there in Sexual Assault?], in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 18/01/2016, 11. On the state of the discussion, see, for example, Pasture et al. (eds) 2012. See also in this volume the comments by Werner, 39-63. On the opposite tendencies of re-masculiniza‐ tion, see, for example, Blaschke 2011. John Paul I, Angelus Address, 10/09/1978, URL: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-i /en/angelus/documents/hf_jp-i_ang_10091978.html [Accessed: 28/02/2018]. Lucas Cranach, Adamo (Uffizi, Inv. 1890, n. 1459). The painting from 1528 is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. We are very grateful to the Gallery for allowing us to repro‐ duce it here. On this, see, for example, Reeser 2010, 22, who refers here for the only time in his entire book on masculinity to the connection between masculinity and religion.

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latest in the wake of the Enlightenment, and that the Renaissance aesthetics used by Cranach no longer correspond to today’s ideals of masculinity.10 Besides historical depth, global breadth can also help us to become aware of the complexity of the relationship between religion and masculinity. What we notice at once is the plurality and intricacy of the phenomenon of ‘reli‐ gion’ itself.11 This volume uses the not uncontested notion of ‘world religions’ to make clear that its contributions are grouped around the religious traditions considered central in Western (everyday) discourse: namely, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, as well as Buddhism and Hinduism.12 Sociological investiga‐ tions that take a global perspective can provide initial evidence of similarities and differences between different religious traditions and masculinities. According to such investigations, women worldwide are fundamentally more religious than men, with many other factors such as age, level of education, and social position also playing an important role in individual religiosity. However, there is a clear difference when it comes to attendance at religious services: men attend more frequently in predominantly Muslim countries, while the majority of those attending in predominantly Christian countries are women.13 Given the complexity of the situation that we have sketched, our view is that research on the relationship between religion and masculinity in the soci‐ ology of religion should in essence focus on three questions. First, from a theoretical point of view, it is important to gain fundamental insights into the 10

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These accusations can be further invalidated by pointing to the question mark very deliberately used in the title of the volume God’s Own Gender? More exciting than the frequently asked questions of whether God has a (male) gender, and whether ‘man’ is due social privileges on account of the biblical story of creation, is in any case the theological question of whether the Genesis text does in fact not consider (long before Judith Butler) some kind of deconstruction of gender identity. For, according to tradi‐ tion, Adam and Eve are indeed already created by God with physical gender attributes, but they recognize both their gender affiliation and their actual gender identity (‘sex’) only after their expulsion from paradise. On the question of religious plurality, see most recently Willems et al. (eds) 2016. For an overarching discussion of the concept of religion, see, for example, Feil 1986-2007; Id. (ed.) 2000; Despland/Vallée (eds) 1992; De Vries (ed.) 2008; Hermann 2015, 77-140. For fundamental criticism of ‘religion’ as a Eurocentric term, see Asad 1993, esp. 27-53; McCutcheon 1997; Fitzgerald 2000; Dubuisson 2003. For an overview of the debate in German, see Pollack 2018. On discussions surrounding the notion of ‘world religion(s)’, Masuzawa 2005 is still relevant. For suggestions on further discussion, see Hermann 2015, 170/171. The choice of religious traditions in our volume is based on purely pragmatic reasons, and is not to be understood as a fundamental restriction of the issue to the religions that we deal with. See PEW Research Center, The Gender Gap in Religion Around the World, 22/03/2016, URL: http://www.pewforum.org/2016/03/22/the-gender-gap-in-religion-aro und-the-world/ [Accessed: 28/02/2018]. See also on the relationship between religion and gender in international comparison, Pollack/Rosta 2017, esp. 391-411.

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relationship between (world) religions and their normative stipulations (for example, in sacred texts or sermons) on the one hand, and the social position of men, as well as how they are talked about and how they act, on the other. It is particularly important in this context to address the reciprocity of the rela‐ tionship between a religious tradition and the men involved in it, by high‐ lighting how male dominance is constituted and consolidated, but also delegitimized.14 At a second level, it is also important to present the relation‐ ship between a specific religious tradition and different ideas and practices of being a man in its historical contingency, and to demonstrate its entangle‐ ments with other factors such as social class, age and sexuality – that is, its ‘intersectionality’.15 Such an investigation requires work on actual historical case studies that can enable the researcher to describe changes in the relation‐ ship. At the same time, such studies make it possible to compare with the present situation, with the global measurement of the present being the third task of research on religion and masculinity. Here, too, it is necessary first and foremost to have sound empirical studies on the concepts and practices of masculinity in different religious traditions in different regional contexts. These studies can then be the basis for further studies on the similarities and differences between religions; ideally, they can also be used to verify theoret‐ ical assumptions. The aim of this volume is to bring together the different answers that various disciplines, such as sociology, theology, history, and Islamic and reli‐ gious studies, have given to the three questions, and to compare the different findings provided by historical and global case studies on the relationship between religion and masculinity. Ultimately, such a project can only serve as a first attempt, also because most of the contributions focus not only on one world religion, but mostly also on specific historical and geographical constellations. The contributions arose from a conference organized jointly by the Center for Religion and Modernity, the Cluster of Excellence ‘Religion and Politics’, and the Centre for Islamic Theology at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in November 2016. The case studies have been supplemented for this volume by more comprehensive overviews of the rela‐ tionship between different world religions and masculinities. Before presenting the individual contributions (3), we will provide in the following a brief overview of the state of research in general and in specific disciplines (1). We will then make a few brief reflections on theoretical research ques‐ tions and perspectives (2). Finally, we will identify current gaps in the research, and provide an outlook on future fields of research (4).

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On this, see also section 2 of this introduction. On this issue, see, for example, Lenz 2010 and Hearn 2011.

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1. State of Research What appears obvious is that, through their sacred scriptures and normative texts, their commandments and prescriptions on how to live, the nature of their organization, and their practices and rites, religions have always had a significant impact on how people think about and practise gender as a core concept of the social order.16 At the same time, and as we have already indi‐ cated above, we can point to numerous examples in history of how people have used religion to constitute and legitimize male dominance in social, political and economic spheres. Although both connections have long been known, intensive academic research into the relationship between religion and masculinity has only really taken place over the last three to four decades.17 But the fact remains of course that some disciplines – especially anthropology and ethnology, but also sociology and the theologies – have a longer tradition of dealing with the relationship between religion and gender. For example, in his work The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, which was published in the early 20th century, Émile Durkheim not only portrayed the separation of the ‘sexes’ as a central aspect of the social order, but also traced this separation back to religion as a moral sanctioning power.18 However, this example also makes clear the problems that usually beset works published on the subject up until and into the 1970s. On the one hand, since they absorb traditional gender ideas into their research without ques‐ tioning or using them critically, they merely perpetuate such ideas, and mostly in the form of binary, and often natural, gender roles. On the other, many focus solely on deconstructing the gender of ‘woman’ in its religious and social contexts, something to which the women’s movement of the 1960s also contributed much with its demands.19

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Case studies on the relationship between religion and gender from different eras and regions of the world have been brought together recently in a Special Issue of Gender and History 25 (3) (2013). For its underlying theoretical reflections, see De Groot/Sue 2013. Masculinities, also in relation to religion, were of course an issue in previous centuries, too; see Kucklick 2008. However, the discourse has become more intense – and perhaps ‘noisier’ – during the last few decades. Reference to a caesura in gender studies can already be found in the mid-1980s. Thus, Scott 1986, 1066, argues that “gender as an analytic category has emerged only in the late twentieth century”. See Durkheim 2008 (orig. 1912). Regarding the criticism, see King 1995. Examples of both ‘problems’ can be found in more recent publications, too: Kippenberg/von Stuckrad (eds) 2003, for example, stresses the importance of binary ‘gender roles’, while Stollberg-Rilinger (ed.) 2014, as well as the latest volume of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transforma‐ tion on ‘Religion, Transformation and Gender’ (2017), focus on deconstructing women under the overall label of ‘gender’. On this discussion, see also Krondorfer/Hunt 2012 and Krondorfer 2016.

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We can in fact not identify a genuine research interest in the complex rela‐ tionship between religion and masculinity until the early 1980s. The change was due among other things to the fact that positivistic ideas of gender were increasingly questioned in this decade in favour of a constructive and fluent understanding, which made calls for a gender studies that went beyond previous definitions louder in numerous disciplines.20 Religious studies and the theologies also began to reflect once more in this context on ‘man’, who as an “unmarked”21 gender had hitherto largely avoided academic (self-)reflection. Pioneering here in the Anglo-Saxon world were the studies of so-called ‘gay theological studies’, such as John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance, and hom*osexuality.22 At the end of the 1980s, various academics in the US finally joined forces to form research networks in order to investigate more closely the relationship between religion and masculinity. The findings and publications arising from these networks mean that ‘(critical) men’s studies in religion’ has been an independent field of research since the mid-1990s. Or at least that is the conclusion reached by Björn Krondorfer, who as one of the most renowned researchers in this field has his say at the end of this volume.23 The number of academic studies on the relationship between religion and masculinity has grown steadily since then, first in the US, but also in the last decade beyond the US.24 The fact that many recently published handbooks have taken up the issue may serve as further evidence that it has generally become of increasing academic relevance.25 This brief outline of work that religious studies and denominationally oriented research have produced on the relationship between religion and masculinity in recent decades already shows that the centre of interest has been Christianity and its different traditions and history. Only since the mid-1990s has there been an increasing number of studies on other religious 20

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On this, see, for example, the contributions in the discipline of history of Scott 1986 and Bock 1988. Also important to the debate are of course the works of Foucault 1976-1984 and Butler 1990. See below for more details. On the formation of the discourse surrounding the construction of masculinity, see Brod 2011. Reeser 2010, 8. Reeser’s reflections on “marked/unmarked” pertain to: Barthes 1967 (orig. 1964), 76/77. See Boswell 1980. An overview of the current state of masculinity studies has been made available recently in German: Reeser 2016. The wide scope of Anglo-Saxon research in the field is summarized in Connell et al. (eds) 2004 and Flood et al. (eds) 2007. For the German-speaking area, see recently Horlacher et al. (eds) 2016. For the history of the research field, see Krondorfer’s article in this volume, 283-300. See also Krondorfer/Culbertson 2005; Krondorfer 2009; Krondorfer/Hunt 2012 and Krondorfer 2016. Most notable in this regard was the research project on the issue of Christian Manli‐ ness – A Paradox of Modernity conducted at the University of Lund until 2010. For the results, see Werner (ed.) 2011. See, for example, Hock 2002; Heller 2003; 2010; Höpflinger et al. (eds) 2008 and Horlacher et al. (eds) 2016.

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traditions, first on Judaism, and in recent years on Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. It quickly becomes clear that the various studies each have their own priorities in terms of thematic and historical focus, priorities that are usually derived from their own traditions and from the history of the religion with which they are concerned. For example, studies on the Christian religion initially focused on central male roles such as that of the priest or housefather, and examined the link between ideals of masculinity, body and power in the modern period. It is only in recent years that researchers have widened their scope, now focusing not only on the entire time span from antiquity to the present day, but also on Christian masculinities outside the Western cultural circle.26 The first studies on the relationship between Islam and masculinity emerged at around the same time, with a large number focusing primarily on (hom*o-)sexuality.27 By contrast, studies on Judaism have so far addressed mainly the relationship between religion and the male body, with The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man by the American philosopher of religion Daniel Boyarin leading the way. Boyarin’s text continues to serve as the basis for further studies that detail how the ideal and practice of Jewish masculinity have changed from biblical times to the present day.28 In contrast, our knowledge of the interplay between Asian reli‐ gious cultures and masculinity has been limited. However, works such as that of John Powers indicate that it is also important to put simplified ideas of gentle and peaceful Buddhist and Hindu ‘men’ to the test.29 All in all, our knowledge of the relationship between religion and masculinity has increased significantly in recent decades, although studies comparing religions have been lacking until now; it is precisely this gap that we wish to fill here. Regardless of the religious tradition that they focus upon, or the time and place that they select, recent studies on the relationship between religion and masculinity are united in the fact that their research questions are concerned in essence with a handful of issues – namely, with sexuality and the body, 26

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See, for example, Dinges 1998 and 2005. For the 19th and 20th century, see Werner (ed.) 2011 and Pasture et al. (eds) 2012. For African Christianities, see, for example, Klinken 2013. The relationship between religion, gender and secularization has also been studied recently; see, for example, Brown 2011 and Borutta 2014. See, for example, Ouzgane 2006; Kugle 2010; Kugle/Hunt 2012 and De Sondy 2014. The relationship between Islam and hom*osexuality caught the attention of gender studies very early; see, for example, Scott 1986, 1071: “In medieval Islamic political theory, the symbols of political power alluded most often to sex between man and boy”. On the orientalist bias of such research on Islam and (hom*o-)sexuality, see Kurz, 117/118, in this volume. See, for example, Boyarin 1997; Brod/Zevit 2010; Creanga 2010; Baader et al. (eds) 2012. On Buddhism in South Asia, see, for example, Soucy 1999 and Powers 2009. On Hinduism, see Gupta 2011. On South Asian masculinities in general, see Chopra et al. (eds) 2004.

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with violence, hierarchy and power. These issues have also been central for quite some time in masculinity studies in general,30 while other concepts such as that of (binary) gender roles, and issues such as that of patriarchy, have taken a back seat.31 The new themes are based on various theoretical approaches that – again since the 1980s – have shaped the overall academic debate on gender issues. These include, first of all, the approach introduced by Michel Foucault in his three-volume work on the history of sexuality that investigates the relationship between power and sexuality through discursive patterns.32 This has proven an effective interpretative tool in the decades since Foucault’s early death, and not only in masculinity studies. Just as influential in general discussions on gender has been Judith Butler’s idea of the perfor‐ mativity of ‘gender’ and ‘sex’,33 although masculinity studies has so far tended to give the idea only limited attention.34 On the other hand, the work of Pierre Bourdieu, who in Masculine Domination employs his theory of habitus to explain the continuing dominance of men, has had great reso‐ nance.35 His remarks connect up with the ideas of Raewyn Connell, whose concept of hegemonic masculinity has been perhaps the decisive theoretical instrument in masculinity studies over the past few decades.36 We will now systematically examine the different theories in terms of what they can offer to research on the relationship between religion and masculinity.

2. Theoretical Reflections If we wish to place the theoretical conceptualization of the relationship between religion and masculinity in the current discussions on gender, then it is necessary first of all to focus on an obvious, but perhaps thereby frequently 30 31

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See Meuser 2016, 220-230. The importance of the concept of (binary) gender roles especially in the 1950s and 1960s is shown, for example, in the research of Talcott Parsons. It lost its dominance in the 1980s through the emergence of theories of social construction; see Meuser 2010, 50-78. Studies on patriarchy long took a central position in feminist research in partic‐ ular; for an overview, see Cyba 2010; the issue then enjoyed its heyday in the history of masculinity in the 1990s; see Tosh 1994; Mosse 1996; Tosh 1999. Used critically, both concepts remain interesting for future research. See Foucault 1976-1984. Foucault’s work was initially intended to comprise six volumes, but was not completed due to his early death. Fragments of the fourth volume have been published recently; see Foucault 2018. See Butler 1990. For example, Butler’s idea has found a lasting basis in the history of masculinity in the German-speaking area only in the work of Jürgen Martschukat and Olaf Stieglitz; see, for example, Martschukat/Stieglitz 2008. See Bourdieu 1998; cited hereafter in the English translation: Bourdieu 2001. See, for example, Connell 1987; 1995; Connell et al. (eds) 2004. For a global perspec‐ tive on masculinity, see Connell 2016.

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overlooked, contrast: while the vast majority of (world) religions – including those dealt with in this volume – tend to understand and legitimize through their norms and ideals biological-physical ‘sex’ as a natural, ontologically given and therefore unquestionable basis of the social gender order, current gender studies has begun to emphasize the social constructedness of all forms of gender, including even the apparent biological distinction between the ‘sexes’. Of course, the most far-reaching approach here is represented by the philosopher Judith Butler and her concept of performativity, which ultimately aims to dissolve the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’: “Because there is neither an ‘essence’ that gender expresses or externalizes nor an objective ideal to which gender aspires; because gender is not a fact, the various acts of gender create the idea of gender, and without those acts, there would be no gender at all”.37 According to Butler, it is only through the constant repetition of culturally specific semantics and practices that gender – even in its biolog‐ ical-physical dimension – becomes constructed, open to experience, and perceptible.38 Such a performative approach means examining when it comes to the relationship between religion and masculinity the extent to which reli‐ gious images, prescriptions, ideals, and norms form part of that dense web of texts, regulations, stories, and images that constitute the self-perception and actions of men – as ‘men’ – in general and especially in a socio-religious context. Besides Butler’s theory of performativity, there are other theoretical approaches in the social sciences that allow us to question fundamentally the ontological claim postulated by religions that there is a natural gender order comprising ‘man’ and ‘woman’. Particularly noteworthy here is the concept of ‘discourse’, which, mostly following the work of Michel Foucault, has in the course of the turn of the humanities and social sciences to cultural studies received increasing attention since the 1980s. In his early work, in which he was concerned above all with emphasizing how knowledge, detached from ‘reality’, could become an instrument of power, Foucault understood by ‘discourse’ the unspoken system of rules that prescribes what can be said about a particular issue, how it is said, and who may say it.39 Since Foucault himself was rather cautious when it came to the question of how to examine such discourses (which tend today to be called dispositifs, so as also to

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Butler 1988, 522. On this, see also Butler 1990, which is still essential. For an introduction in German, see Bublitz 2002 and Martschukat/Stieglitz 2008, 21-27. On the (feminist) discussion of Butler’s theory in Germany, see Purtschert 2003. See, for example, Foucault 1966 and 1969. For an introduction in German, see, for example, Sarasin 2013. A successful synopsis of the life and work of Michel Foucault is also provided by Eribon 2011.

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include the “unspoken”),40 there have over the years developed a number of very different approaches, each differing according to the discipline in which it is located and its understanding of discourse. It has therefore become the rule in research in cultural studies and the social sciences to investigate “less the things in themselves, and much more the meanings that these things accrue, the meanings that they carry and reproduce, and thus ultimately make tangible in the first place”.41 Insofar as religion and religions must be regarded in most societies as fundamental and prominent mediators of ‘mean‐ ings’, they can be analyzed as eminent components of discourses: not least in the mediation of meaning for the perception of gender and gender affiliation, for the self-perception of women and men, and for their relationships within actual social practices. If we wish to see the relationship between religion and masculinity in terms of the most important findings made by gender studies in the social sciences as a whole, we cannot avoid referring also to approaches that emphasize the multiply relational formation of men and masculinities. Being a man is in this context generated among other things in conflict with other genders: with men, under conditions of competition and community, in a hom*osocial dimension; and with women and femininities, under conditions of demarca‐ tion and domination, in a heterosocial dimension. This factor of relational formation, which we can find, albeit with different orientations, in the work of Raewyn Connell and Pierre Bourdieu,42 already points to the sheer complexity of positioning masculinities in contemporary and current gender debates. This complexity is increased further if we look at a second feature of relational formation – namely, the linking of masculinities with other categories of social reality. This point of view has been recently highlighted under the heading of ‘intersectionality’,43 which argues that the dispositifs of masculinity are tightly bound up in structural categories of class and race, of national or ethnic affiliation, and so on. The social category of religion, which we analyze in this volume, is one of these social features, but in turn it has intricate entanglements with other social categories, too. What has especially come into focus recently here is the question of spatial differences and 40 41

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See Martschukat/Stieglitz 2008, 60. See also Landwehr 2008. Martschukat/Stieglitz 2008, 25 (our translation). On attempts to translate ‘discourse analyses’ into the German-speaking social sciences and cultural studies, see, for example, Sarasin 2003; Keller 2004; Landwehr 2008. On the competition between different concepts of masculinity, as well as of men and women, see Connell 1987; 1995; Connell. et al. (eds) 2004. On the issue of conflict between men, see especially Bourdieu 2001. On the place of Bourdieu’s approach in the general reflections of women’s studies and gender studies, see, for example, Fowler 2007; Engler 2010; Jäger 2012. For criticism of Bourdieu’s concept, see, for example, Krais 2011 and Heitzmann 2015. See, for example, Lenz 2010 and Hearn 2011.

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transnational entanglements between masculinities and other social cate‐ gories.44 This volume also addresses this question by analyzing the connec‐ tion between religion and masculinity in five different (world) religions. The benefit of such a transnational perspective also lies from a theoretical point of view in helping us to overcome Eurocentric conceptualizations in our anal‐ yses of religion and masculinity. Besides these fundamental reflections, what have also played a role in soci‐ ological analyses dealing specifically since the 1980s with masculinity from a position outside general gender debates are theories that focus primarily on power constellations in gender relations (i.e., from men to women, but also to other men), and that therefore understand and conceptualize the analysis of masculinity as (to echo Pierre Bourdieu) a form of “symbolic domination”.45 The most influential conceptualization of male domination is still the concept of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ developed by the Australian sociologist Raewyn Connell. As we know, Connell draws for her reflections on Antonio Gramsci’s notion of hegemony, thereby denoting a form of domination that is produced not through manifest coercion, but through a commitment to general cultural values as an implicit consent given by the disadvantaged and subordinated.46 In the heterosocial dimension of relations between men and women, hegemonic masculinity appears as the symbolic and institutional link between masculinity and authority, a link that, for Connell, should be under‐ stood as the main axis of male power, and socially as a structural relationship of domination. In the hom*osocial dimension among men, hegemonic masculinity appears in relation to other masculinities, which Connell differen‐ tiates as “complicit”, “subordinate”, and “marginalized”. Hegemonic masculinity appears overall as a cultural ideal of masculinity that is primarily realized by social elites, but is supported and understood by the over‐ whelming majority of men as a pattern of orientation.47 Various contributions in this volume draw on this very concept of hege‐ monic masculinity to analyze the relationship between religion and

44 45

46

47

See Connell 2016. For the postcolonial criticism of Eurocentrism and poststructuralist concepts of space and (hybrid) identities, Bhabha 1994 is still essential. The idea of the masculine as symbolic domination is already developed in the ‘Prelude’ to his work Masculine Domination; see Bourdieu 2001, 1-4. Here, Bourdieu speaks of male domination as a form of “symbolic violence”. By this he means “a gentle violence, imperceptible and invisible even to its victims, exerted for the most part through the purely symbolic channels of communication and cognition (more precisely, mis-recognition), recognition, or even feeling”; see ibid., 1-2. Bourdieu speaks of “symbolic rule” in: Ibid., Preface and 37, 96-101. Gramsci’s reflections on cultural hegemony and subaltern groups are scattered in the so-called ‘prison notebooks’; see, for example, Gramsci 1934. For an introduction, see Buckel/Fischer-Lescano (eds) 2007. Essential here is Connell 1995, esp. 67-86 and 185-203.

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masculinity.48 Connell’s concept has become virtually a classic topos not only in masculinity studies as a whole, but also in the analysis of masculinity in religious studies and the sociology of religion. In contrast, Bourdieu’s concept of a masculine habitus has so far been used less often, although it still plays a role in studies conducted in the social sciences. In the notion of masculine habitus, Bourdieu emphasizes in particular the importance of competition among men for the construction of masculinity, and distinguishes, like Connell, between a hom*o- and a hetero-social dimension.49 Bourdieu conceives as the basis of the masculine habitus a libido dominandi, “the desire to dominate”,50 which, in his opinion, shapes the actions of the ‘man’ both towards other men and towards women. According to Bourdieu, the aim of research must be to uncover the different manifestations of masculine domination, as well as the means and ways in which it prevails in society. Bourdieu especially emphasizes in this context the competitive structure and the hom*osocial character of competition among men, while assigning women a role that is marginal, but not unimportant, for the constitution of masculinity, since women have to ensure that every ‘man’ rises “to his own childhood conception of manhood”.51 “Manliness, it can be seen, is an eminently relational notion, constructed in front of and for other men and against femininity, in a kind of fear of the female, firstly in oneself”.52 Thus, if we wish to carry out a systematic social-scientific analysis of the role of religions in constituting and legitimizing masculine dominance, then, to follow Connell and Bourdieu, we should make use both of the differentia‐ tion between a hom*osocial and a heterosocial dimension, and in particular of the aspect of competition among men as the generating principle of the masculine habitus that Bourdieu highlights. On that basis, future studies could – and should – systematically investigate the constituting and legitimating role of religions within fields of serious competition among men,53 as well as analyze the corresponding images and roles of women in a specifically reli‐ 48 49

50 51

52 53

The contributions in this volume of Krämer, Kurz, De Sondy, Kosman, Young, Powers, Syed and Krondorfer refer explicitly or implicitly to Connell. See Bourdieu 2001. Bourdieu’s concept, which was published in German for the first time in 2005 under the title Die männliche Herrschaft, was taken up in Germanspeaking sociology especially by Michael Meuser, who further developed it under the notion of the ‘masculine gender habitus’; see, for example, Meuser 2010 (orig. 1998) and 2016. Bourdieu 2001, 80. According to Bourdieu 2001, 69, who refers to the narration in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. It is precisely his concentration on the hom*osocial relations of men, as well as his pessimistic attitude as to whether a change in circ*mstances is possible, that has earned Bourdieu repeated criticism; see, for example, Krais 2011 and Heitz‐ mann 2015. Bourdieu 2001, 53. See ibid., 47.

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gious context. At the same time, such a dual research perspective can connect to the multiply relational formation of masculinity in a complexly structured gender context, as described above. As part of a systematic theorization in sociology (and the sociology of reli‐ gion) of the relationship between religion and masculinity, we should also reflect on the theoretical approaches in gender and masculinity studies mentioned above against the background of the general demand made to overcome the dichotomy between structure and action.54 This dichotomy is located in the opposition between structurally operating discourses (Foucault) or performative acts (Butler) on the one hand, and the social action of people in everyday life on the other. It is not easy to integrate the two, but the attempt should at least be made. To do so, we could on the one hand under‐ stand religions “as the sedimented and persistent effects of perceptual patterns and power structures” that “are embedded in the very body of the human being”, and as belonging to “historically specific cultural configurations”55 that express an overall social structure in discourses, dispositifs, and habitus formations. Religions, since they are part of such pre-reflexive and incon‐ testable systems, determine, shape and carry social practice and social action.56 On the other hand, though, religions should certainly not be under‐ stood as static cultural structures; rather, they prove to be not only mutable, but also often as inspiring and fostering a social practice that is capable of reflecting on, questioning and changing established social systems. This also applies to the relationship between religion and masculinity, which in this respect can and should be understood as flexible and mutable forms of social practice that have a retroactive effect on the social structure. Translating these connections and attributions into theoretically sophisticated sociological concepts, and using them productively in complex research approaches, may well be a major challenge faced by future studies that analyze the relationship between religion and masculinity.57

54

55 56 57

The sociological discussion on the relationship between structure and action, society and individual, is ultimately as old as the discipline itself. Reflections on the relation‐ ship can be found in the work of classic figures such as Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, and Max Weber, as well as in that of modern theoreticians such as Talcott Parsons, Niklas Luhmann, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu. An overview of the discus‐ sion, as well as a broad attempt to dissolve the dichotomy, can still be found in more recent literature: for example, Giddens 1984. The issue is also addressed with regard to questions of masculinities in Reeser 2010, 24-27; see also the further references to the issue there: Ibid., 52-54. Martschukat/Stieglitz 2008, 53 (our translation). Still essential to the issue of social practice is Bourdieu 1990. On this, see also Meuser 2016, 222: “The question of how the relationship between structure and agency can be defined in such a way that we do not fall prey either to a structurally deterministic fatalism or to a creative optimism that omits structure has

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If it is necessary to reflect on the relationship between religion and masculinity always also with regard to a changing and disruptive social prac‐ tice that questions established social order, then two further factors come into play: namely, the diagnosis of a crisis (of masculinity), as well as the factor of historical change (with regard to masculinity in general, and to the relation‐ ship between religion and masculinity in particular). Both aspects have already been investigated a number of times in masculinity studies. It has now been noticed retrospectively that the diagnosis of a ‘crisis of masculinity’ to describe current shifts in images of masculinity, in gender relations, and in how different groups of men perceive themselves and others is a constantly recurring topos in discourses of masculinity, especially in those of modern societies.58 However, it is precisely this recurring factor that has led the litera‐ ture to pose critical questions concerning the use of the semantics of crisis. Central to this criticism is the insight that talking about a crisis presupposes that there is an objectifiable framework of masculinity that has fallen into crisis.59 But if, in line with the theoretical approaches outlined above, we are to understand gender and masculinity as performatively and discursively constructed social entities, then such an essential masculinity cannot exist. If, moreover, we follow Bourdieu and see the masculine habitus as a solidified structural category that tends to block an intentional will to change, then the regular proclamation of a crisis appears in a different light. It seems obvious that talk of crisis can also help to reinforce and stabilize the claim to its domi‐ nant position of a certain form of masculinity – generally, that of the white, Christian and heterosexual middle class.60 However, if we use the concept “as a heuristic instrument”,61 then the topos of a crisis of masculinity can also yield insights. First of all, we would see the concept of crisis as indicating those historical moments and phases in which there are repeated shifts in the gender hierarchy, and in which social

58

59

60

61

not yet found convincing answers, and not only in masculinity studies” (our transla‐ tion). Research was early to address a ‘crisis of masculinity’; see Connell 1987, 158-166; Kimmel 1987b; Tosh 1994, 193; Mosse 1996, 77-106. An overview of the issue is provided by Robinson 2007. On the relatively well-researched ‘crisis’ in around 1900, see, for example, Brunotte/Herrn (eds) 2007 and Schuhen 2014. The various arguments have been recently summarized systematically by Roberts 2016. On this, see also the reflections in the introduction by Opitz-Belakhal/Hämmerle (eds) 2008 and Martschukat/Stieglitz 2008, 64-73. On the productiveness of ‘crises’ in (hegemonic) masculinity, see Krämer/Mackert 2010. This idea also appeared early on in the research; see, for example, Kimmel 1987b. The subtitle of the German translation of Connell’s work Masculinities also refers to the connection between “construction and crisis of masculinities”; see Connell 1999. How hegemonic claims are enforced with the help of the discourse of crisis is shown in this volume by the contribution of Krämer, 65-84. Martschukat/Stieglitz 2008, 69 (our translation). On the following, see ibid., 64-73.

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upheavals can indicate the fragility of seemingly stable perceptions of identity and social practices. In other words, using the crisis metaphor points to the fundamental insight that normative dispositifs, as well as social practices of masculinity, are historically mutable,62 and that we should understand the connection between religion and masculinity as being permanently involved in such changes. Thus, research on religion and masculinity should always adopt a perspective of historical change, within which religion and religions would be identified in concrete historiographical constellations as active or reactive social entities with regard to the transformation of the gender hier‐ archy. Considering the internal perspective of religions could also be used as an opportunity to think from the margins of the gender hierarchy and to focus attention on analyzing different religious movements of socially marginalized and subordinate groups of men (and women). Finally, we should address one particular aspect of the perception of the crisis of masculinity, and especially in its connection with religion. This aspect also emerges as a suggestion from the transnational context of the studies in this volume, which show that, in some religions (for example, in Judaism, but also in Hindu and Buddhist traditions in South Asia), women represent a challenge and a danger to men, since sexual-bodily contact between men and women during menstruation or the postpartum period appears to threaten masculinity through pollution. In the extension of an accompanying male anxiety, social contact with women is often interpreted as posing an essential threat to stable masculinity, insofar as women are assigned the capacity to weaken bodily and/or spiritual male powers, or to transform actual masculinity into a kind of femininity.63 This results in fear of a ‘fluid masculinity’, one in which male strengths and male dominance are dimin‐ ished, and in which, in the worst case, men are transformed into women.64 Research in the social sciences on the relationship between religion and masculinity can build in this context on a number of studies already carried out. For example, Mary Douglas has viewed the social assignment of ‘purity/ impurity’ as a fundamental means to maintain social hierarchy.65 In addition,

62

63 64

65

The historical contingency and mutability of masculinity have been the focus of atten‐ tion in masculinity studies since its beginnings; see, for example, Connell 1987, 143-166; Kimmel 1987a and 1996; Bosse/King (eds) 2000. On this, see the articles on South Asia by Young, Syed and Powers in this volume. On the fluidity of masculinity, see most recently, for example, the introduction by Krondorfer/Hunt 2012; see also Reeser 2010, 106-109; De Groot/Sue 2013; Reeser 2016, 38; Krondorfer 2014; 2016. Referring to Walz 2008, 16, the latter describes the goal as being to “confront normative paradigms with ‘fluid, unruly and unfamiliar ideas of gender’” (our translation). Both the article by Serinity Young in this volume, 221-243, and the contribution by Wohlrab-Sahr/Rosenstock 2000, note 5, refer in this context to the essential study by Mary Douglas 1966.

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Monika Wohlrab-Sahr and Julika Rosenstock have understood the code of ‘purity/impurity’ as a ‘second coding’ of the religious system, a system in which on the one hand religion is linked with morality to enable people to experience transcendence in immanence, and on the other the interests of reli‐ gions in maintaining social hierarchy become manifest through a normative conceptualization of gender relations.66 The relevance that these insights and conceptualizations have for analyzing the relationships between religion and masculinity should be immediately obvious. In particular, studies comparing religions would need in the future to investigate further whether and to what extent ideas of a fluid masculinity play a role in different religions, at different times, and in different social contexts, and what significance must be attributed to the “fear of the female”67 in generating the masculine habitus in religious contexts, too.

3. Contributions to this Volume This volume brings together studies on the relationship between different (world) religions and masculinities. Its four sections focus on those religious traditions that are currently the most widespread and socially influential across the globe: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism and Hinduism. Each section opens with an overview that reflects conceptually on the rela‐ tionship of the specific world religion to masculinity, and presents the current state of research. This overview is followed by one or two case studies that examine the relationship between the specific religious tradition and masculinity from a historical and geographical perspective. The chapters cannot cover the relationship between religion and masculinity on a global scale, and nor can they deal with the relationship throughout history. Rather, they focus on selected historical and geographical constellations that have been central to research in recent years: the relationship between Western Christianity and masculinity in the 19th and 20th century; ideas and practices of sexuality and hom*osexuality in premodern and modern Islamic traditions; concepts and practices of Jewish masculinity and sexuality in talmudic and medieval literature; and Buddhist images and Hindu constructions of masculinity in South Asian religious traditions. References to further research – for example, on masculinities in the premodern Christian period – can be found both in the chapters and in this introduction. It is also pertinent to note that the chapters are written from the perspective of different disciplines, and

66 67

See Wohlrab-Sahr/Rosenstock 2000. Bourdieu 2001, 53.

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they therefore relate to the theoretical concepts and reflections presented to very different degrees. As noted, the contributions on Christianity focus in their approach on the development of the Christian religion in Western societies since the 19th century. Such a focus is already evident in the overview provided by Yvonne Maria Werner, who aims in her contribution to present some central insights of recent historiography on the changing relationship that various Protestant and Catholic actors have to concepts, ideas and practices of masculinity. Werner draws here primarily on the comprehensive results that emerged from the research group in which she has been involved, Christian Manliness – A Paradox of Modernity.68 For her, the emergence of a specifically Christian concept of ‘manliness’ in the 19th century, and repeated debates on a (re-)masculinization of Christianity, should be seen as attempts by religious actors to respond to the challenges of (secular) modernity, with these attempts sometimes differing depending on denomination and nation.69 Felix Krämer also takes a historical perspective in his contribution, and examines such a debate on Christian masculinity in detail by investigating the interplay and interaction between concepts of moral leadership and ‘whiteness’, the rise of evangelical revivalist preachers, and media discourses in the political contro‐ versies that the US witnessed in the 1970s and 1980s. Krämer’s work is an excellent example of how historical research can make theoretical reflections fruitful, since he demonstrates precisely how semantics of crisis could be harnessed in these conflicts in order to lend new social legitimacy to notions of hegemonic white, heterosexual and Christian masculinity. Whether it is possible today to speak in a fundamental way of a (re-)masculinization of the Christian religion is a question that the sociologist Friederike Benthaus-Apel investigates in her empirical investigation. She casts doubt on such a conclu‐ sion on the basis of the results of the research project Religion and Gender,70 and points out instead that a higher level of religiosity among women can be attested for 2012, too. Benthaus-Apel sees a possible explanation for the continuation of this gender gap in what is still a different pattern of religious socialization for boys and girls at home, a pattern that shapes the later reli‐ gious behaviour of men and women.

68 69 70

The research association of European historians was active until 2010, and was coordi‐ nated by the University of Lund. For the results, see Werner (ed.) 2011. On this, see also the findings of Blaschke 2011 and Brown 2011. The project was carried out in 2014/2015 by the Comenius Institute in Münster and the Protestant University of Rhineland-Westphalia-Lippe under the direction of Friederike Benthaus-Apel. The aim of the project was among other things to clarify “the contri‐ bution of the social category of gender in processes of (religious) interpretation”. See the project homepage: https://www.evh-bochum.de/abgeschlossene-projekte/articles/g ender-und-religion.html [Accessed: 16/04/2018].

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A detailed overview of the relationship between Islam and masculinity is provided by Miriam Kurz. Taking as her starting-point contemporary debates about the ‘Muslim man’, she warns in her socio-constructivist contribution against essentializing Muslim men as violent, sexualized, radical, etc., and instead calls for a more nuanced view, since “both Islam and masculinity are complex, plural, and dynamic phenomena” (105). In brief, she painstakingly traces the gender-specific concepts provided by the Quran and the theological discourses of Islam, and how these have been taken up and interpreted by various Muslim (legal) schools. In the second part of her contribution, she contrasts the diversity of Islamic concepts of masculinity with current stereo‐ types of the ‘Muslim man’, and considers the popularity of these stereotypes in Western societies within the framework of theoretical considerations of a crisis of hegemonic masculinity. The crisis of Islamic masculinity itself then finds a voice in the contribution by Amanullah De Sondy, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam in Cork, Ireland.71 He also refers to the diversity of concepts of masculinity present in the Quran and in the Islamic tradition, and pays particular attention to mapping out the contradictoriness and ambiguity of individual concepts.72 According to De Sondy, the Quran and the various Islamic schools of law have often been much more open to plurality and diversity in their interpretations than many Muslims and non-Muslims wish to admit today. Emphasizing this diversity again is “a powerful tool in combat‐ ting Islamophobia and hegemonic masculinity because both are based on rigid monoliths that in reality do not exist” (145).73 The section on the relationship between Judaism and masculinity begins with a bibliographical essay by the Jewish Talmud scholar Admiel Kosman. He emphasizes that, if we look back in history, then we can understand the (hegemonic) position of the ‘Jewish man’ in the community as well as in his own household only by referring to contemporary ideas of femininity and the role of the ‘woman’. Kosman thus implicitly chooses an intersectional approach to understand the relationship between religion and masculinity, a relationship that he links to numerous examples from the Jewish tradition and literature. Drawing on the pioneering study by Daniel Boyarin that we have already mentioned, Kosman concludes that the prevailing ideal of Jewish masculinity was long characterized by erudition, softness, and empathy (and

71 72 73

On this, see, in more detail, De Sondy 2014. On the ambiguity of Islam as a whole, see Bauer 2011. At the conference in November 2016 that led to the contributions in this volume, the reflections on ‘Islam and masculinity’ were supplemented by a lecture by Andreas Ismael Mohr on Which is Worse: Zina or Liwat? Why, and For Whom? Concepts and Practices of Masculinities in ‘Pre-Modern’ Islam. We very much regret that we cannot include his reflections here.

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especially with regard to family members).74 It was only as a result of Zionism that a change to a muscular and energetic image of men took place.75 A similar conclusion is drawn by Matthias Morgenstern, who in his chapter on the discourses of masculinity in rabbinical literature and talmudic culture investigates “what men (and women) are and what they are supposed to be” (185). Based on a detailed examination of commandments in liturgical prac‐ tice, as well as in everyday life, he traces this ideal of masculinity, and makes clear how it also had practical consequences for the daily lives of Jewish men and women, lives in which the latter managed the household and represented the family to the outside world. This resulted, according to Morgenstern, in Jewish women adapting much more easily than their husbands to the condi‐ tions of (Western) modernity. The chapter ends with an outlook on current and ongoing discussions on gender relations in Judaism as well as in Israeli society. The extent to which the ideas of masculinity in medieval Judaism were shaped by obedience to God is also illustrated by the historian Ruth Mazo Karras in her subtle reconstruction of the Christian and Jewish reception of the biblical story of David and Bathsheba. She traces the different lines of argumentation with which religious authors have sought to justify the behaviour of King David, who must be regarded as a male role model of the European Middle Ages. Despite evident differences between Judaism and Christianity, the goal of religious reasoning has ultimately always been to control “an unbounded male sexual desire that was a part of elite masculinities”. However, according to Mazo Karras, history shows that in reality this “was never far from the surface” (214). Serinity Young also deals in her introductory chapter on South Asian masculinities with the contradiction between ideals of masculinity and social reality. She takes up important aspects of the current theoretical debate on masculinity, and applies them to examples of Hindu and Buddhist traditions. For example, she discusses the different roles that are attributed to men as fathers and husbands, outlines the importance of the distinction between ‘purity/pollution’ in South Asian religious cultures, and addresses questions of instability and fluidity of masculinities. Young concludes with regard to hegemonic concepts of masculinity that “[the] conflict between rhetoric and reality in many cases produces a personal sense of inadequacy rather than of superiority” (238). How strongly ideas of male supremacy have always been 74 75

See Boyarin 1997. This contrast is portrayed very vividly in, for example, Amos Oz’s autobiographical novel A Tale of Love and Darkness (2002). To what extent this new image of masculinity was also connected with the goal of building an independent nation would be worth examining in more detail. For more on ‘muscular Judaism’, see the articles by Morgenstern, 185-200, and Kosman, 149-183, in this volume. On masculinity and nation, see, for example, Nagel 2004 and Andersen/Wendt (eds) 2015.

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used in Buddhist traditions in India is illustrated by John Powers in his chapter on ‘The Gendered Buddha’. He points out that – contrary to estab‐ lished (Western) perspectives – the emphasis on masculine (bodily) attributes has always played a crucial role in the stylization of Buddha by his followers.76 Powers interprets this process as part of a strategy to upgrade Buddhist beliefs and practices, so that they can compete with other religious offerings.77 Renate Syed deals with the question of which ideals of masculinity have been responsible for centuries for shaping Hindu religions on the Indian subcontinent. As well as mapping out the various ideals, she also traces the formative historical developments, and points out when she deals, for example, with older religious tradition in South India where bound‐ aries shifted and dissolved. Syed concludes that, despite all changes “[the] general paradigms [of Hindu masculinities] defined by caste or class, age, stage of life and other markers remain in many cases the same” (276). Björn Krondorfer, who has long studied the relationship between religion and masculinity, points at the end of the volume to past, present and future currents in ‘critical men’s studies in religion’. Besides providing a brief outline of previous work, he explores above all the question of why masculinity is consistently reproduced as hegemonic, and yet still often remains in general perception as an “unmarked”78 gender. According to Kron‐ dorfer, this phenomenon can also be observed precisely with regard to reli‐ gion, where we have learned to speak since the Enlightenment about God’s body and gender, while at the same time repeatedly losing sight of the question of the construction of masculinity. His plea is therefore to make masculinity a lasting and central theme in the study of religion, since it is “an absence that needs our attention, and that is true for all world religions that follow patriarchal traditions” (288).

4. Conclusion If we read the contributions in this volume against the background of the theoretical reflections that we have made, then we can identify several funda‐ mental conceptual as well as thematic gaps in current research on the relation‐ 76

77

78

In doing so, Powers deals more intensively than any other chapter in this volume with issues of the male body. His insights are largely based on his many years of research on the issue; see Powers 2009. On the relationship between masculinity and body, see also, for example, Butler 1990; Reeser 2010, 91-118; and, with reference to religion, the reflections in this volume of Krondorfer, 283-300. The connection between ideals of masculinity and Hinduism is discussed, for example, in the essays in Chopra et al. (eds) 2004; Gupta 2011; and in the essay by Syed in this volume, 265-280. Reeser 2010, 8.

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ship between religion and masculinity. Future research cannot of course tackle all the gaps at the same time and to the same extent. We will therefore conclude by reiterating the most important points that we consider to be of central importance for new substantive and theoretical perspectives on the relationship between religion and masculinity. The whole can be read as a draft for a kind of research matrix to help us in the future to create a reflected and thus grounded research design comprising different categories and aspects. One of the central research perspectives in the coming years will remain the analysis of the multiply relational formation of men and masculinities. As we have already explained in detail, this will consider on the one hand the hetero- and hom*osocial dimension of relationships that men and masculinities have to women and femininities, and to other men. In a way, the bibliograph‐ ical essay by Admiel Kosman on masculinities in Jewish religion and culture in this volume may serve as an example of such research. On the other hand, it will be increasingly necessary in the future to work out in detail the rela‐ tionship between masculinity and socio-structural categories such as class and race, national and ethnic affiliation. For such an intersectional analysis, future research needs to maintain its focus on demonstrating the way in which reli‐ gion is entangled with other categories of social reality that have significance in the constitution of different masculinities. This is made explicit in the present volume only in the overview of Islam and masculinity provided by Miriam Kurz, and by Felix Krämer, who demonstrates the close entangle‐ ments of race, politics and religion in the political culture of the US during the 1970s and 1980s. However, other contributions do suggest similar intersec‐ tional dimensions. For example, Matthias Morgenstern points to the socioeconomic (and political) consequences of the specifically feminine expression of Jewish-religious masculinity in the pre-modern period, while John Powers analyzes “[t]he creation of the literary figure ‘Buddha’” in economic terms “as part of a marketing strategy” (257). But, contrary to such recent research approaches, the overwhelming majority of the contributions here continue to make theoretical use, either implicitly or explicitly, of Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity, thereby confirming a continuing trend in masculinity studies as a whole. This is problematic both here and in Connell’s work, since the concept itself is rarely discussed critically, and the validity of its premises and insights is rarely checked. Rather, scholars often simply and unquestioningly use hege‐ monic masculinity as the classic topos of their own research. However, future studies on the relationship between religion and masculinity would urgently require a critical approach to the concept – one that, for example, radically expands its theoretical foundations and includes, say, Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, discourse theories as developed from the work of Michel Foucault,

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and Judith Butler’s idea of performativity. Careful approaches to such a development can be seen in the present volume, for example, in the three contributions on concepts of masculinity in South Asia. This may possibly be related to the lower degree of hierarchical organization of the religious tradi‐ tions there, to the limited canonization of sacred texts, and to a pronounced corporeality. If future research on the relationship between religion and masculinity succeeds in taking up the impulses provided by the concepts named above in a more decisive way than has hitherto been the case, then more complex research designs could finally attempt to examine critically and to develop further these theoretical approaches on the basis of empirical analyses. Drawing on such a reflected theoretical integration, future research on the relationship between religion and masculinity should then turn increasingly to concrete case studies. In conceptualizing such case studies, we should pay particular attention to three aspects. First, the aspect of social practice needs to be given more attention than has hitherto been the case. In other words, we should pursue the question of how religious ideas, norms, and discourses have influenced (and still influence) the concrete (everyday) practices of masculinity, how they legitimize or delegitimize them, and how in turn the social practice of being a man influences religious traditions, organizations and actors. For example, in the section on South Asia in this volume, Hindu and Buddhist narratives are described and analyzed with a high level of literary competence from the perspective of religious studies. However, the question of how far these narratives have influenced and sustained the social practice of men both today and in the past is touched on only very briefly. Second, future case studies will need to place the issues and questions under investigation into a global framework of transnational relations and inter-religious comparisons. It is especially the latter that has often been neglected, and this is the case in the contributions to this volume, too. We can only point to the chapter by Yvonne Maria Werner, who compares Catholics and Protestants from a historical perspective. Increasingly important in this context will be the relationship between masculinity, religion and migration, as Miriam Kurz points out in her chapter. Third, future studies on the subject will ultimately not be able to avoid addressing each specific historical contin‐ gency of religion, masculinity, and how they relate to each other. For, one thing has been made evident not only by the theoretical reflections of the last few decades, but also by all previous case studies: namely, that all aspects and themes to do with the connection between religion and masculinity prove from an academic perspective to be contingent and mutable, and not ‘eternal’, ‘natural’ or ‘trans-temporal’, as they are necessarily conceived to be in the internal perspective of the religions themselves. A precise historical location of their analyses will therefore prove fruitful for future research practice. For,

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both masculinity and religion are indeed “an elusive phenomenon (296), as Björn Krondorfer calls them at the end of this volume, since both they them‐ selves and their relationship are subject to constant change. Bibliography Andersen, Pablo Dominguez / Wendt, Simon (eds) (2015): Masculinities and the Nation in the Modern World. Between Hegemony and Marginalization. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Asad, Talal (1993): Genealogies of Religion. Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Baader, Benjamin Maria / Gillerman, Sharon / Lerner, Paul (eds) (2012): Jewish Masculinities. German Jews, Gender, and History. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Barthes, Roland (1967): Elements of Semiology. New York, NY: Hill and Wang (orig. (1964): Éléments de Sémiologie. Paris: Editions du Seuil). Bauer, Thomas (2011): Die Kultur der Ambiguität. Eine andere Geschichte des Islams. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. Bhabha, Homi K. (1994): The Location of Culture. New York, NY: Routledge. Blaschke, Olaf (2011): The Unrecognized Piety of Men. Strategies and Success of the Re-Masculinization Campaign around 1900. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 21-45. Bock, Gisela (1988): Geschichte, Frauengeschichte, Geschlechtergeschichte. In: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 14 (3), 364-391. Borutta, Manuel (2014): Kulturkampf als Geschlechterkampf? Geschlecht als Grenze der Säkularisierung im 19. Jahrhundert. In: Stollberg-Rilinger, Barbara (ed.): “Als Mann und Frau schuf er sie”. Religion und Geschlecht. Würzburg: Ergon, 109-137. Bosse, Hans / King, Vera (eds) (2000): Männlichkeitsentwürfe. Wandlungen und Widerstände im Geschlechterverhältnis. Frankfurt / New York, NY: Campus. Boswell, John (1980): Christianity, Social Tolerance, and hom*osexuality. Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. Bourdieu, Pierre (1990): The Logic of Practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press (orig. (1980): Les sens practique. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit). Bourdieu, Pierre (1998): La domination masculine. Paris: Editions du Seuil.

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Bourdieu, Pierre (2001): Masculine Dominance. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Bourdieu, Pierre (2005): Die männliche Herrschaft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. Boyarin, Daniel (1997): Unheroic Conduct. The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Brod, Harry (2011): The Construction of the Construction of Masculinities. In: Horlacher, Stefan (ed.): Constructions of Masculinity in British Literature. From the Middle Ages to the Present. New York, NY: Palgrave, 19-32. Brod, Harry / Zevit, Shawn Israel (eds) (2010): Brother Keepers. New Perspectives on Jewish Masculinity. Harriman, TN: Men’s Studies Press. Brown, Callum G. (2011): Masculinity and Secularization in TwentiethCentury Britain. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 47-59. Brunotte, Ulrike / Herrn, Rainer (eds) (2007): Männlichkeiten und Moderne. Geschlecht in den Wissenskulturen um 1900. Bielefeld: transcript. Bublitz, Hannelore (2002): Judith Butler zur Einführung. Hamburg: Junius. Buckel, Sonja / Fischer-Lescano, Andreas (eds) (2007): Hegemonie gepanzert mit Zwang. Zivilgesellschaft und Politik im Staatsverständnis Antonio Gramscis. Baden-Baden: Nomos. Butler, Judith (1988): Performative Acts and Gender Constitution. An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory. In: Theatre Journal 40 (4), 519-531. Butler, Judith (1990): Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of Iden‐ tity. New York, NY: Routledge. Chopra, Radhika / Osella, Filippo / Osella, Caroline (eds) (2004): South Asian Masculinities. Context of Change, Sites of Continuity. Delhi: Women Unlimited. Connell, Raewyn W. (1987): Gender and Power. Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press 1987. Connell, Raewyn W. (1995): Masculinities. Knowledge, Power and Social Change. Berkeley / Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Connell, Raewyn W. (1999): Der gemachte Mann. Konstruktion und Krise von Männlichkeiten. Opladen: Leske + Budrich. Connell, Raewyn W. (2016): Masculinities in Global Perspective. Hegemony, Contestation, and Changing Structures of Power. In: Theory and Society 45 (4), 303-318.

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Connell, Raewyn W. / Hearn, Jeff / Kimmel, Michael (eds) (2004): Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities. Thousand Oaks, CA et al.: Sage Publications. Creanga, Ovidiu (ed.) (2010): Men and Masculinity in the Hebrew Bible and Beyond. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press. Cyba, Eva (2010): Patriarchat. Wandel und Aktualität. In: Becker, Ruth / Kortendiek, Beate (eds): Handbuch Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung. Theorie, Methoden, Empirie. 3rd edition. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozial‐ wissenschaften, 17-22. De Groot, Joanna / Sue, Morgan (2013): Beyond the ‘Religious Turn’? Past, Present and Future Perspectives in Gender History. In: Gender and History 25 (3), 395-422. De Sondy, Amanullah (2014): The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities. London / New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic. De Vries, Hent (ed.) (2008): Religion. Beyond a Concept. New York, NY: Fordham University Press. Despland, Michel / Vallée, Gérard (eds) (1992): Religion in History. The Word, the Idea, the Reality. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Dinges, Martin (ed.) (1998): Hausväter, Priester, Kastraten. Zur Konstruktion von Männlichkeit in Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Dinges, Martin (ed.) (2005): Männer – Macht – Körper. Hegemoniale Männlichkeiten vom Mittelalter bis heute. Frankfurt / New York, NY: Campus. Douglas, Mary, (1966): Purity and Danger. An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Dubuisson, Daniel (2003): The Western Construction of Religion. Myths, Knowledge, and Ideology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press Durkheim, Émile (2008): Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse. Le système totémique en Australie. Paris: PUF (orig. 1912). Engler, Steffani (2010): Habitus und sozialer Raum. Zur Nutzung der Konzepte Pierre Bourdieus in der Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung. In: Becker, Ruth / Kortendiek, Beate (eds): Handbuch Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung. Theorie, Methoden, Empirie. 3rd edition. Wies‐ baden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 257-268. Eribon, Didier (2011): Michel Foucault (1926-1984). 3rd edition. Paris: Flam‐ marion.

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Feil, Ernst (1986-2007): Religio. Die Geschichte eines neuzeitlichen Grundbe‐ griffs. 4 volumes. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht. Feil, Ernst (ed.) (2000): Streitfall ‘Religion’. Diskussionen zur Bestimmung und Abgrenzung des Religionsbegriffs. Münster: LIT. Fitzgerald, Timothy (2000): The Ideology of Religious Studies. New York, NY / Oxford: Oxford University Press. Flood, Michael / Kegan Gardiner, Judith / Pease, Bob / Pringle, Keith (eds) (2007): International Encyclopaedia of Men and Masculinities. New York, NY: Routledge. Foucault, Michel (1966): Les mots et les choses: Une archéologie des sciences humaines. Paris: Gallimard. Foucault, Michel (1969), L’archéologie du savoir. Paris: Gallimard. Foucault, Michel (1976-1984): Histoire de la sexualité. 3 volumes. Paris: Gallimard. Foucault, Michel (2018): Les aveux de la chair. Paris: Gallimard. Fowler, Bridget (2007): Pierre Bourdieus Die männliche Herrschaft lesen. Anmerkungen zu einer intersektionellen Analyse von Geschlecht, Kultur und Klasse. In: Bock, Ulla / Dölling, Irene / Krais, Beate (eds): Prekäre Transformationen. Pierre Bourdieus Soziologie der Praxis und ihre Herausforderungen für die Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung. Göttingen: Wallstein, 141-175. Giddens, Anthony (1984): The Constitution of Society. Outline of the Theory of Structuration. Berkeley / Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Gramsci, Antonio (1934): Quaderno 25 (XXIII). In: Antonio Gramsci. Quaderni del carcere. Edited by Valentino Gerratana. Turin: Einaudi, 2279-2294. Gupta, Charu (2011): Anxious Hindu Masculinities in Colonial North India. Shuddhi and Sangathan Movements. In: Cross Currents 61 (4), 441-454. Hearn, Jeff (2011): Neglected Intersectionalities in Studying Men. Age(ing), Virtuality, Transnationality. In: Lutz, Helma / Herrera Vivar, Maria Teresa / Supik, Linda (eds): Framing Intersectionality. Debates on a Multi-Faceted Concept in Gender Studies. Farnham / Burlington: Routledge, 89-104. Heitzmann, Daniela (2015): Männliche Herrschaft. In: Gender Glossar / Gender Glossary. URL: http://gender-glossar.de [Accessed: 07/03/2018]. Heller, Birgit (2002): Gender und Religion. In: Figl, Johann (ed.): Handbuch Religionswissenschaft. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 758-769.

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Heller, Birgit (2010): Religionen. Geschlecht und Religion – Revision des hom*o religosus. In: Becker, Ruth / Kortendiek, Beate (eds): Handbuch Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung. Theorie, Methoden, Empirie. 3rd edition. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 713-718. Hermann, Adrian (2015): Unterscheidungen der Religionen. Analysen zum globalem Religionsdiskurs und dem Problem der Differenzierung von ‘Religion’ in buddhistischen Kontexten des 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Hock, Klaus (2002): Einführung in die Religionswissenschaft. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Höpflinger, Anna-Katharina / Jeffers, Ann / Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria (eds) (2008): Handbuch Gender und Religion. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Horlacher, Stefan / Jansen, Bettina / Schwanebeck, Wieland (eds) (2016): Männlichkeit. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler. Jäger, Ulle / König, Tomke / Maihofer, Andrea (2012): Pierre Bourdieu. Die Theorie männlicher Herrschaft als Schlussstein seiner Gesellschaftstheorie. In: Kahlert, Heike / Weinbach, Christine (eds): Zeitgenössische Gesellschaftstheorien und Genderforschung. Einladung zum Dialog. Wies‐ baden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 15-36. Keller, Reiner (2004): Diskursforschung. Eine Einführung für Sozialwis‐ senschaftlerInnen. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Kimmel, Michael (1987a): Changing Men. New Directions in the Study of Men and Masculinity. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Kimmel, Michael (1987b): The Contemporary ‘Crisis’ of Masculinity in Historical Perspective. In: Brod, Harry (ed.): The Making of Masculinities. The New Men’s Studies. Boston, MA: Allen and Unwin, 121-153. Kimmel, Michael (1996): Manhood in America. A Cultural History. New York, NY: Free Press. King, Ursula King (ed.) (1995): Religion and Gender. Oxford: Basil Black‐ well. Kippenberg, Hans / Stuckrad, Kocku von (eds) (2003): Einführung in die Religionswissenschaft. 2 volumes. München: C.H. Beck. Klinken, Adriaan van (2013): Transforming Masculinities in African Chris‐ tianity. Gender Controversies in Times of AIDS. Farnham / Burlington: Ashgate. Krais, Beate (2011): Die männliche Herrschaft. Ein somatisiertes Herrschaftsverhältnis. In: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie 36 (4), 33-50.

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Krämer, Felix / Mackert, Nina (2010): Wenn Subjekte die Krise bekommen. Hegemonie, Performanz und Wandel am Beispiel einer Geschichte moderner Männlichkeit. In: Landwehr, Achim (ed.): Diskursiver Wandel. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 265-279. Krondorfer, Björn (2009): Introduction. In: Id. (ed.): Men and Masculinities in Christianity and Judaism. A Critical Reader. London: SCM Press, xixxi. Krondorfer, Björn (2016): Religion und Theologie. In: Horlacher, Stefan / Jansen, Bettina / Schwanebeck, Wieland (eds): Männlichkeit. Ein inter‐ disziplinäres Handbuch. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 204-218. Krondorfer, Björn / Culbertson, Philip (2005): Men’s Studies in Religion. In: Jones, Lindsay / Eliade, Mircea / Adams, Charles J. (eds): Encyclopaedia of Religion. Volume 9. 2nd edition. Detroit, MI / New York, NY: Macmillan, 5861-5865. Krondorfer, Björn / Hunt, Stephen (2012): Introduction. Religion and Masculinities – Continuities and Change. In: Religion and Gender 2 (2), 194-206. Kucklick, Christoph (2008): Das unmoralische Geschlecht. Zur Geburt der Negativen Andrologie. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. Kugle, Scott (2010): hom*osexuality in Islam. Critical Reflection on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. Kugle, Scott / Hunt Stephen (2012): Masculinity, hom*osexuality and the Defence of Islam. A Case Study of Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s Media Fatwa. In: Religion and Gender 2 (2), 254-279. Landwehr, Achim (2008): Historische Diskursanalyse. Frankfurt / New York, NY: Campus. Lenz, Ilse (2010): Intersektionalität. Zum Wechselverhältnis von Geschlecht und sozialer Ungleichheit In: Becker, Ruth / Kortendiek, Beate (eds): Handbuch Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung. Theorie, Methoden, Empirie. 3rd edition. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 158-165. Martschukat, Jürgen / Stieglitz, Olaf (2008): Geschichte der Männlichkeiten. Frankfurt / New York, NY: Campus. Masuzawa, Tomoko (2005): The Invention of World Religion. Or, How Euro‐ pean Universalism Was Preserved in the Language of Pluralism. Chicago. Chicago University Press. McCutcheon, Russell T. (1997): Manufacturing Religion. The Discourse on Sui Generis Religion and the Politics of Nostalgia. New York, NY / Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Meuser, Michael (2010): Geschlecht und Männlichkeit. Soziologische Theorie und kulturelle Deutungsmuster. 3rd edition. Opladen: Leske + Budrich. Meuser, Michael (2016): Soziologie. In: Horlacher, Stefan / Jansen, Bettina / Schwanebeck, Wieland (eds): Männlichkeit. Ein interdisziplinäres Hand‐ buch. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 218-236. Mosse, George L. (1996): The Image of Man. The Creation of Modern Masculinity. New York, NY / Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nagel, Joane: Nation. In: Connell, Raewyn W. / Hearn, Jeff / Kimmel, Michael (eds) (2004): Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities. Thousand Oaks, CA et al.: Sage Publications, 397-413. Opitz-Belakhal, Claudia / Hämmerle, Christa (eds) (2008): Krise(n) der Männlichkeit (L’Homme. Europäische Zeitschrift für Feministische Geschichtswissenschaft 19 (2)). Köln et al.: Böhlau. Ouzgane, Lahoucine (ed.) (2006): Islamic Masculinities. London: Zed Books. Pasture, Patrick / Art, Jan / Buerman, Thomas (eds) (2012): Gender and Christianity in Modern Europe. Beyond the Feminization Thesis. Leuven: Leuven University Press. Pollack, Detlef (2018): Probleme der Definition von Religion. In: Pollack, Detlef / Krech, Volkhard / Müller, Olaf / Hero, Markus (eds) (2018): Hand‐ buch Religionssoziologie. Springer VS: Wiesbaden, 17-50. Pollack, Detlef / Rosta, Gergely (2017): Religion and Modernity. An Interna‐ tional Comparison. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2017 (orig. (2015): Religion in der Moderne. Ein internationaler Vergleich (Religion und Moderne 1). Frankfurt / New York, NY: Campus). Powers, John (2009): A Bull of a Man. Images of Masculinity, Sex, and the Body in Indian Buddhism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Purtschert, Patricia (2003): Feministischer Schauplatz umkämpfter Bedeu‐ tungen. Zur deutschsprachigen Rezeption von Judith Butlers “Gender Trouble”. In: Widerspruch 44, 147-158. Reeser, Todd W. (2010): Masculinities in Theory. Malden, MA / Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Reeser, Todd W. (2016): Englischsprachige Männlichkeitsforschung. In: Horlacher, Stefan / Jansen, Bettina / Schwanebeck, Wieland (eds): Männlichkeit. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 26-42. Religion, Transformation and Gender (2017). Volume of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation 5. URL: http://www.v-r.de/de/reli gion_transformation_and_gender/c-3166 [Accessed: 01/03/2018].

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Roberts, Mary Louise (2016): Beyond ‘Crisis’ in Understanding Gender Transformation. In: Gender and History 28 (2), 358-366. Robinson, Sally (2007): Crisis in Masculinity. In: Flood, Michael / Kegan Gardiner, Judith / Pease, Bob / Pringle, Keith (eds): International Ency‐ clopaedia of Men and Masculinities. New York, NY: Routledge, 90/91. Sarasin, Philipp (2003): Geschichtswissenschaft und Diskursanalyse. Frank‐ furt: Suhrkamp. Sarasin, Philipp (2013): Michel Foucault zur Einführung. 5th edition. Hamburg: Junius. Schuhen, Gregor (2014): Crisis? What Crisis? Männlichkeiten um 1900. In: Id. (ed.): Der verfasste Mann. Männlichkeiten in der Literatur und Kultur um 1900. Bielefeld: transcript, 7-18. Scott, Joan W. (1986): Gender. A Useful Category of Historical Analysis. In: American Historical Review 91 (5), 1053-1075. Soucy, Alexander (1999): Masculinities and Buddhist Symbolism in Vietnam. In: Biber, Katherine / Sear, Tom / Trudinger, Dave (eds): Playing the Man. New Approaches to Masculinity. Sydney: Pluto Press, 123-134. Stollberg-Rilinger, Barbara (ed.) (2014): “Als Mann und Frau schuf er sie”. Religion und Geschlecht. Würzburg: Ergon. Tosh, John (1994): What Should Historians Do with Masculinity? Reflections on Nineteenth-Century Britain. In: History Workshop 38, 179-202. Tosh, John (1999): A Man’s Place. Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England. New Haven / London: Yale University Press. Walz, Heike (2008): Blinde Flecken. Warum es theologische Geschlechter‐ dialoge querbeet braucht. In: Id. / Plüss, David (eds): Theologie und Geschlecht. Dialoge querbeet. Berlin: LIT, 10-36. Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.) (2011): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press. Willems, Ulrich / Reuter, Astrid / Gerster, Daniel (eds) (2016): Ordnungen religiöser Pluralität. Wirklichkeit – Wahrnehmung – Gestaltung (Religion und Moderne 3). Frankfurt / New York, NY: Campus Verlag. Wohlrab-Sahr, Monika / Rosenstock, Julika (2000): Religion – soziale Ordnung – Geschlechterordnung. Zur Bedeutung der Unterscheidung von Reinheit und Unreinheit im religiösen Kontext. In: Lukatis, Ingrid / Sommer, Regina / Wolff, Christof (eds): Religion und Geschlechter‐ verhältnis. Opladen: Leske+Budrich, 279-298.

1. Masculinities in Modern Western Christianity

Concepts, Ideas, and Practices of Masculinity in Catholicism and Protestantism around 1900. Some Reflections on Recent Research Yvonne Maria Werner At the turn of the 20th century, the question arose of whether Christianity could be compatible with modernity, progress and reason. In liberal, middleclass circles, where belief in science and social progress gradually replaced Christianity as a normative guideline, Christian faith was considered depreci‐ ated. If religion should have any place in modern society, then it was in the private sphere of the family, not in public life. Yet, since the home was considered to be the woman’s domain, religion came to be associated with femininity and ‘soft’ values. The modern man had to be rational, determined, and bent on profit, characteristics that seemed to be in glaring contrast to the Christian ideals of gentleness, lovingness, and humility. The idea of religion as soft and ‘feminine’ thus went hand in hand with the division into private and public and the idea of the separate spheres that marked the bourgeois society.1 To differentiate such an over-simplified narrative the aim of my article is to present some reflections, based on the development within historical research since the 1980s, on Christian concepts of manliness and the question of the (re-)masculinization of religion in (Western) European discourses from the mid-19th to the first part of the 20th century.2 Until the 1990s, modern historical research had been ‘blind’ to religion to a great extent, and religious issues were generally ignored. This can partly be explained by the fact that bound‐ aries were clearly drawn between different disciplines. Church and religion were considered subjects of theology in many countries, and thus addressed mainly by church historians. Yet an even more important reason for general history to neglect religion was that many historians agreed, directly or indi‐ rectly, with the secularization paradigm. As a result, historians doing research on the period after 1800 treated religion either as a remnant of an earlier time or as a cover for other, more materialistic interests. In women’s history for

1 2

See McLeod 1988; Hölscher 1996; Morgan/de Vries (eds) 2010. The concepts ‘manliness’ and ‘masculinity’ will be used as synonyms. According to Gail Bederman, manliness, with its allusions to ideal of manhood, was the common term in the 19th century, whereas masculinity refers to both good and bad characteris‐ tics. Cf. Bederman 1995, 17-20.

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example, religious belief and practices were mainly analyzed as an inhibitory factor for women’s emancipation efforts.3

1. The Religious Turn in Gender Research In the 1980s there was a new departure in modern historical research. The previously dominant focus on political, economic, and social conditions had to give way for cultural perspectives, and with that shift also religion came to the fore. Social and church historians took the lead in this development, thereby pointing to the importance of religious values for ordinary people and in everyday life.4 From the 1980s, women’s historians also began increasingly to take into account the significance of religion for the position of women in modern society.5 This was the start of what has been called the ‘religious turn’ in gender historiography.6 The development is illustrated in a collection of essays with the title Frauen unter dem Patriarchat der Kirchen published in 1995, which was a result of a research project headed by the German historian Irmtraud Götz von Olenhusen. One of the book’s articles, by the historian Ursula Baumann, deals with the Catholic and the Protestant Woman’s Leagues in Germany in the early 20th century. Baumann notes that women’s history research had more or less ignored these two confessional women’s asso‐ ciations and instead concentrated on the less successful, but anticlerical liberal women’s association. Her article has the telling title Emancipation and Religion.7 This is also the title of the Swedish historian Inger Hammar’s doctoral thesis from 1999, which represents a milestone in Swedish women’s historical research on religion and gender.8 Her criticism of the ‘religion blindness’ of modern history research triggered a lively debate among Nordic gender historians, thus helping to draw attention to this long-neglected field of research.9 Since then a great number of studies on woman and Christian religion have been published in which religion figures both as a hindrance to the emancipa‐ tion movement, and as an instrument of empowerment. It has been observed that religious engagement offered women an alternative to their confined, 3 4

5 6 7 8 9

See, for example, Lein 1981; Offen 2000. Religion plays an important role in E.P. Thompson’s research, for example in his famous work The Making of the English Working Class (1964). See also Schieder 1986; Schneider 1996. For an overview of research, see Gause et al. (eds) 2000; Saurer 2005. See De Groot/Morgan 2013. See Götz von Olenhusen (ed.) 1995b; Baumann 1995. See also Baumann 1992. See Hammar 1999; 2000b. See Hammar 1998; Manns 1998.

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domestic sphere.10 Other studies have pointed to the extent of female engage‐ ment in the Protestant missionary movements, and the growing importance of female religious orders and congregations in the Catholic world.11 Yet, while women’s and gender history has increasingly heeded the role of religion, religious issues were long overlooked in the rapidly expanding field of men’s history, particularly in research on masculinity in the modern period. An exception, however, is in Anglo-American research, where already around 1990 historians such as John Tosh and Leonore Davidoff published works that addressed the question of manhood and Christian religion in modern society.12 Since then, a large number of studies on Christian manli‐ ness have been published. Several of them focused on so-called Muscular Christianity, a movement in the Anglo-American world, whose advocates tried to find a spiritual dimension in typically male activities such as sports, politics, and business, and to shape a new synthesis of masculinity and Chris‐ tian practice.13 But most studies dealing with men in modern society, not least those published in the Nordic countries, were until recently based on the often unspoken assumption that religion was a private matter connected to the home and the female sphere, and therefore lacking relevance to public life, i.e. the men’s domain.14 Christian belief and practice and modern masculinity thus seemed incom‐ patible. This assumption was the starting point for my research project Chris‐ tian Manliness – A Paradox of Modernity that was set in train in 2004 with the aim of studying the relationship between Christianity and constructions of manhood in Northern Europe in the period 1840 to 1940. Scholars from different Swedish universities, as well as Olaf Blaschke, then attached to the University of Trier in Germany, were connected to the project, which collabo‐ rated with researchers and research groups working on similar issues in Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium.15

10 11 12 13 14 15

See Hill Lindley 1996; Hölscher1996; Markkola (ed.) 2000b. See Meiwes 2000; Okkenhaug (ed.) 2003; Werner (ed.) 2004. See Davidoff/Hall 1992; Tosh 1999. See Bederman 1989; O’Brien 1993; Hall (ed.) 1994; Warren 1994; Putney 2001; O’Brien 2008. See, for example, Stearns 1990; Mosse 1996; Schmale 1998; Tjeder 2003. Marit Monteiro at the Radboud University Nijmegen was in charge of a project group dealing with clerical masculinity, and Patrick Pasture and Jan Art at the Universities of Ghent and Louvain led a project on feminization and masculinity in Belgian Catholi‐ cism. These research groups have produced several monographs, articles and collec‐ tions of essays, see, for example: Werner 2011b; Pasture et al. (eds) 2012; Van Osselaer/ Pasture (eds) 2014; Ackermans/Monteiro (eds) 2007.

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2. Feminization and Confessionalization These research projects were all parts of the rapidly growing field of men’s studies, which was originally closely connected to feminist-oriented women’s studies. Whereas women’s and gender studies largely deal with woman’s subordination and the struggle for emancipation, men’s studies often focus on ideals of manhood and the construction of masculinity. Yet, both research traditions build on the assumption that men exercise power, which explains why most studies of men and masculinity deal with hom*osocial relations between men and groups of men.16 Both the Belgian and Swedish research project had a similar theoretical starting point focussing on two conflicting theories, the theory of feminization on the one hand and the concept of religious revitalization and re-confession‐ alization on the other. The feminization theory, which is a kind of master narrative when it comes to research on religion and gender in modernity, implies that religious life in Europe became more and more feminized during the 19th century and that men distanced themselves from the churches, whereas the concept of confessionalization relates to those parts of society that were dominated by men and stresses the engagement of men in church matters and religious life.17 2.1 The Theory of a Feminization of Christianity The feminization theory is developed on the basis of studies of liberal-bour‐ geois milieus, where faith in science and social progress gradually replaced Christianity as a normative order. Religion instead was seen as a private matter pertaining to women, which had little or no relevance in the world of men. In a broad study of religion and society in Britain, France, and Germany, the British historian Hugh McLeod argues that piety was seen as a normal and desirable part of womanhood in many parts of Western Europe, whereas reli‐ gious indifference was regarded as an equally normal part of manhood, and men were heavily over-represented in free thought and secularist movements. In many regions, not least in parts of Catholic France, but also in Protestant Scandinavia, there was a drastic reduction in church attendance, particularly amongst men.18 At the same time, women’s importance for church life increased, reinforcing the image of churchgoing and piety as a female concern. The discursive feminization of Christianity thus went hand in hand 16 17 18

See Mosse 1996; Ekenstam/Lorentzen (eds) 2006; Broughton/Rogers (eds) 2007. See Van Osselear/Buerman 2008; Pasture 2012. See McLeod 2000. However, he notes that the differences in religious commitment between men and woman varied greatly according to country and region.

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with the division into private and public that characterized the emerging liberal-bourgeois society.19 In accordance with such findings, Callum Brown stresses that the feminiza‐ tion of Christianity during the 19th century counteracted the secularization of British society in general. In his famous work The Death of Christian Britain, he shows that Christian discourse and moral codes of behaviour remained in place until the mid-20th century due to women’s religious engagement. This was especially evident within evangelical Christianity, where women as the ‘pious sex’ stood at the centre of a ‘salvation economy’. Here as elsewhere, Christian piety focused more and more on women, while masculinity developed into an antithesis of religiosity. According to Brown, women’s changing relationship to church and religion lies at the heart of late 20thcentury secularization.20 Similar to Brown, Linda Woodhead discusses the concept of religious feminization as part of a gendering of the secularization theory. She notes that religion became increasingly relegated to a private, domestic sphere in Protestant countries, and identified with women’s work. Although men ran the churches and the clergy long remained exclusively male, it was to a high degree women who took on responsibilities at the parochial level and within the Christian philanthropic associations.21 All these studies can be traced back to feminization theory as already intro‐ duced by the historian Barbara Welter in the 1970s. In a study on religion and society in the 19th-century United States, she interpreted the feminization of Protestant piety as an important part of the delineation of a private sphere belonging to women from the public sphere proper to men. This concept was further developed by Ann Douglas. In her pioneering work The Feminization of American Culture, she explores the transformation of Evangelical religious culture in the 19th century from a male-dominated tradition to feminine senti‐ mentalism, dominated by religiously engaged middle-class women.22 Chris‐ tian mission, where women played an important role too, came to be associated with female attributes, and contrasted with ‘male’ politicaleconomic colonial activities. Some studies on gender and mission therefore speak of a ‘feminization of mission’.23 There is an extensive body of research on Christian mission and gender. Yet these studies have seldom focused on mission and manliness.24

19 20 21 22 23 24

See McLeod 1988; Götz von Olenhusen 1995a; Kirkley 1996; Kimmel 2003. See Brown 2001. Cf. Brown 2011. See Woodhead 2005, 1/2, 20-33. See Welter 1974; Douglas 1977. See Huber/Lutkehaus (eds) 1999; Okkenhaug et al. (eds) 2011. In the Introduction to Protestant Mission and Local Encounters, the editors’ note that studies on missionary masculinity “are still sparse”, Okkenhaug et al. (eds) 2011, 18.

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Studies on gender and religion within Catholicism have partly had another focus. Several scholars, among them the German historian Norbert Busch, pointed to the feminization of religious symbols and practices in the new forms of Marian devotion and the cult of the Heart of Jesus.25 Others high‐ lighted the growing importance of the female religious congregations, which also affected the missionary activity. From the mid-19th century, members of female religious institutes made up the largest part of the mission staff. French historiography has accentuated these developments even more.26 Even the fact that contemporary anti-clerical liberals accused the Catholic church of being ‘effeminate’ and ‘unmanly’ is sometimes used as an argument for the thesis of a feminization of Catholicism.27 2.2 The Concept of Confessionalization The concept of the re-confessionalization of society offers another perspec‐ tive. One starting point is the revivalist movements and revitalization of the churches in Western European society during the 19th century, which contributed to restoring or stabilizing a religiously determined social order along confessional lines. In Protestant countries, these revivals often origi‐ nated in Pietist and Low Church movements, while the Ultramontane revival in the Catholic world drew its inspiration from Counter-Reformation ideology. These religious movements were striving to restore a religiously determined social order, based on a traditional understanding of Christianity along confessional lines. The German historian Hartmut Lehmann argues that reli‐ gious revival, church mobilization, and secularization were the dominant cultural trends in the Western world in the 19th century.28 Other researchers have stressed the link between confessional culture and national identity. An inherited Christian confession was thus an important factor in the construc‐ tion of 19th-century national identities, and nationalism and religion frequently intermingled.29 Olaf Blaschke, in drawing an analogy with the process of confessionaliza‐ tion in the early modern era, describes the period between 1830 and 1960 as ‘a second confessional age’, characterized by church consolidation and conflicts between the denominations, culminating in the ‘cultural wars’ in Germany, Belgium, France, and other countries. Middle-class liberalism was certainly of crucial importance for the political developments of the period. But it 25 26 27 28 29

See Busch 1997; Jonas 2000; Sohn-Kronthaler 2016. See Langlois 1984; Turin 1989; Gugglberger 2014; Curtis 2010. See Gross 2004; Borutta 2011. See Lehmann 1997; 2004. See McLeod 2000, 216-247, 286; Blückert 2000; Smith 2003, 1-25, 41; Haupt/Langewi‐ esche (eds) 2004.

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accounted for only a minority of the population, and, notwithstanding dwin‐ dling attendance at religious services, Christianity in its different denomina‐ tional forms continued to serve as the normative basis of society in many ways.30 The word ‘confession’ is to be understood in a broad sense, comprising not only a community based on Christian belief but also the cultural context that it produced. Catholic confessionalism served as a basis for a religiously deter‐ mined worldview, which stood in sharp contrast to liberal ideology and the concept of the modern state. Within Protestantism, which consisted of a multiplicity of groupings and movements, attitudes towards modern society and its principals were generally more positive. A common trait was the strong repudiation of Catholicism, and the Catholic Church was regarded as a real threat to progress and national integrity by many Protestants.31 Established confessional culture was an important marker of national iden‐ tity. As several historians have noted, this fusion of confession and nation was to a certain extent characterized by a desire to strengthen masculine identity.32 In order to overcome the ‘effeminate’ image of religious practice, the churches developed male semantics supposedly appealing to men, and offered an apostolic framework where male virtues and powers could be used for reli‐ gious purposes. The sweeping generalization that religion was a female concern is often built on a narrow understanding of religion, leaving out polit‐ ical expressions of religious activities.33 Blaschke, too, points to different strategies used by the churches to appeal to men and to counteract the perception of Christian religion as feminized. Christian virtues were masculinized and described as truly manly, and contemporary male characters and stereotypes were identified and linked with Christian ideals. Men’s activities in the public sphere were embraced and used for religious purposes as well as to stabilize the confessional milieu and to fight confessional and ideological enemies. In Germany, this was especially evident within Catholicism with its many influential associations and mass organizations.34 Historians such as Anne O’Brien, Clifford Putney, and several others have pointed to similar strategies in the English-speaking world, where movements sprung up emphasizing muscularity, militarism, and sporting but also political engagement and missionary enterprise.35

30 31 32 33 34 35

See Blaschke 2000; Id. (ed.) 2002; 2011a. See also Jarlert 2007. See Blückert 2000, 180-257; Borutta 2011. See also Werner/Harvard (eds) 2013. See Hübinger 1994; McLeod 2000, 217-247; Blückert 2000, 148-212, 313-320; Kuhle‐ mann 2001. See Schneider 2016; Muschiol 2016. See Blaschke 2011b. See O’Brien 1993; O’Brien 2008; Putney 2001.

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Whereas the feminization thesis points to the preponderance of women in the religious field, as well as to changes in religious content such as emotion‐ alization, the association of femininity with piety and the discursive feminiza‐ tion of religious culture, the concept of masculinization focuses on the strategies developed within various confessional and national contexts to make religious life more attractive to men.

3. Christian Masculinity in Northern Europe The close connection between confessional culture and strategies to stabilize, defend, and renew Christian ideals of masculinity stands out very clearly in Blaschke’s work. Using examples from imperial Germany he shows the way in which confessionalism was an instrument to re-masculinize the religious sphere. Religious actions, attitudes, and people regarded as feminine, weak, and submissive in the hegemonic bourgeois discourse were re-coded into something masculine, strong, and heroic, and vice versa. Protestantism prolif‐ erated as a specifically male religion because of its connection with the nationalist discourse of the dominant bourgeois culture. The strategy used within Catholicism was to re-code the religious actions and attitudes regarded as feminine such as, for example, church going and prayer to something masculine and to instrumentalize traditionally male characteristics and actions for religious purposes. Blaschke pays special attention to the Catholic Men’s Apostolate (Männer-Apostolat), a campaign organized by the Jesuits that started in the 1880s with the aim of bringing religiously indifferent men back to church and to engage them in religious life. Blaschke concludes that while Protestants tended to use religion for the sake of nationalism, Catholics strived to instrumentalize nationalism for the sake of religion. Ideally, Catholic men were to keep their distance from an exaggerated cult of the nation and first and foremost be servants of Christ and the pope.36 In a study on the Swedish theologian Johan Alfred Eklund, the famous leader of the nationalist Swedish Young Church movement and from 1907 Bishop of Karlstad, David Tjeder illustrates how nationalism was an impor‐ tant tool to construct Protestant manliness. Tjeder shows how Eklund tried to come to terms with the accusation that Christian faith was incompatible with modern manhood by redefining both the content of modernity and the under‐ standing of Christian faith. By referring to nationalist ideology and the Chris‐ tian rhetoric of struggle, he sought to create an up-to-date male ideal that was modern, manly, and truly Lutheran. This ideal was contrasted with the proposed effeminate types of manliness of the ‘foreign’, non-established 36

See Blaschke 2011b.

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churches, not least the Catholic Church. Tjeder also reveals the importance played by the experience of religious crises in the constructions of ‘modern’ Protestant manliness. In the writings of Eklund and other leading Swedish church men at the time, the intellectual struggle to keep the faith was described as something specifically male, distinct from what they saw as a more ‘natural’ female religiosity. It was this intellectual fight that made the Christian faith truly male, modern and authentic. While advocates of the feminization theory, among them Brown, have seen the public obsession with men’s religious crises as an expression of secularization, Tjeder is thus inter‐ preting them as an example of religious modernization and re-masculinization in the spirit of Christian activism.37 Three further studies, amongst them two on male Christian heroes and my own on Catholic manliness in Scandinavia, analyze the different Catholic and Protestant constructions of masculinity as discussed by Blaschke. With exam‐ ples taken from the Catholic Sacred Heart movement in Belgium and from the writings of Swedish neo-Lutheran theologians respectively, the Belgian historian Tine Van Osselaer and the Swedish Church historian Alexander Maurits illustrate the importance of denominational culture for the perception of Christian heroism. Both describe how Christian heroes are described as instruments of God, with Jesus as the ultimate example. They must show reli‐ gious zeal and a willingness to refrain from the comforts of this world in order to promote the cause of the Christian faith. Yet whereas the Protestant heroes were either kings or male church reformers, fighting for the true faith or for their nation, the Catholic heroes were either heroic and brave religious soldiers like the Papal Zouaves, zealous missionaries, or fervent laymen (or women), defending the rights of the Catholic Church. And despite the fact that Catholic heroes as well as Lutheran ones incorporated Christian virtues such as piety and self-sacrifice, these ideals played a more subordinate role in the neo-Lutheran discourse. In contrast, Catholic heroism focused more on classical Christian virtues such as piety, charity, discipline, humility and gentleness, together with asceticism and strict obedience to the ecclesiastical authorities.38 These kinds of ‘soft’ Christian virtues played an important role in the constructions of Christian manhood among male Catholic missionaries, too. The Catholic Church strongly emphasized its claim to be the only true Church, and as a consequence all non-Catholic regions were regarded as missionary fields. Catholic missionary activities were thus extended to the Nordic coun‐ tries, where the liberalization of religious legislation in the mid-19th century 37 38

See Tjeder 2011; 2010. See Van Osselaer/Maurits 2011; Holger Arning verifies Van Osselaer’s findings in a study on German Catholic constructions of heroism in the 1930s. See Arning 2008.

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enabled the Catholic Church to build up a network of parishes and missions, with schools, hospitals, and other social institutions. Most of the male missionaries were members of religious institutes in Catholic countries, whereas native converts from Protestantism dominated in the Catholic parishes. Three male religious orders take centre stage in my own research, namely the Italian Barnabites, German Jesuits, and French Dominicans, yet I also analyze the ideals of manhood among male converts, priests as well as laymen.39 My research has partially confirmed previous findings that the ‘ultramontanization’ of Catholic culture contributed to giving the Catholic concept of manhood a ‘weak’ and gentle touch that was contradictory to the prevailing secular ideals of masculinity.40 Monastic life with its emphasis on religious virtues such as humility, obedi‐ ence, piety and self-sacrifice served as a model for both clergy and laity, and on a discursive level Catholic ideals of masculinity had a marked anti-bour‐ geois character. The humble, pious, obedient, and self-sacrificing ideals of manliness expressed in the reports of the Catholic missionaries in Scandi‐ navia stood in sharp contrast not only to modern Protestant ideas of manhood, but also to the prevailing middle-class understanding of masculinity. Certainly, in the analyzed correspondence more active characteristics more in line with bourgeois liberal concepts of masculinity were also pointed out, not least by the Jesuits. Yet these characteristics were part of a religious context, where religious virtues were regarded as superior.41 Nevertheless, even if the membership of religious institutes discursively transcended socially constructed gender differences, and women religious sometimes had a great influence on mission work, in Scandinavia as else‐ where, it was nevertheless only men who held the power- and norm-gener‐ ating positions. The reports on the relations between male and female missionaries reveal the then-current division into male and female occupa‐ tions, and the analyzed correspondence shows that women’s subordination was regarded as a natural obligation, and, as is especially evident with the Jesuits, a prerequisite for man’s ability to realize his full manhood. In the publications of the Jesuits, the holiness, high dignity, and the exclusively male character of Catholic priesthood is underlined, and celibacy and male ‘virginity’ is highlighted as a foundation for clerical manhood.42 Tine Van Osselaer, too, clearly illustrates the importance of confessional ideology for Catholic gender constructions in her work on ‘the pious sex’, i.e. 39 40 41 42

My research on Catholic manliness is presented in several publications, among them Werner 2014; 2016; 2011a. See, for example, Götz von Olenhusen 1996. The importance of these ideals is also demonstrated in studies by Marit Monteiro, see Monteiro 2011; 2012. See Werner 2014, 104-191.

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the ascription of religiosity to men and women, in Catholic Belgium in the 19th and early 20th century. Her focus is on the Catholic laity and the activities, norms, attitudes, values and gender ideals represented within popular lay organizations connected to the cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Catholic Action movement, as well as in Catholic family discourse. She shows that Catholic family life was organized in accordance with a monastic model with regular prayers, adoration, attending mass, confession, and reli‐ gious readings. A mixture of contemporary masculine ideals and Christian virtues characterized the ideals of manhood in the movements she studied. Yet religious virtues such as piety, obedience, submission and self-sacrifice had a prioritized position. The male members of the movement were expected to be both pious churchgoers and fervent defenders of church and faith in the public sphere. In the Catholic Action, which represented a more combatant type of Catholic manliness, militaristic metaphors were used to stress the male character of Christian virtues.43 Other studies on Catholic men’s organi‐ zations have come to similar conclusions, such as those of the Austrian histo‐ rian Nina Kogler, who has studied the masculinity discourses of the Catholic Action in Austria in the interwar period.44 Van Osselaer’s results are in many ways in line with the findings of Blaschke, and her analysis of Catholic family discourse and constructions of masculinity are confirmed by other studies. With examples from Germany and France, the historians Mattieu Brejon de Lavergnée and Bertrand Goujon offer an image of Catholic family life marked by devotional practices of different kinds, attending mass, charitable activities, and male engagement for the sake of the church.45 Van Osselaer explains the increased focus on men with the Catholic Church’s efforts to maintain and restore its influence in society. As politics was still a man’s affair, it was important for the churches to secure men’s church loyalty and to engage them for the interests of the church and prevent them from engaging in anti-clerical movements. As potential voters and holders of key positions in society, men’s religious involvement was a prerequisite for the maintenance of a Christian society.46 Marriage and family are accorded great importance in the teaching of all Christian churches and denominations, and the subordinate role of woman was stressed in both Catholic and the Protestant doctrine at the time. Yet in the Catholic tradition, regulated religious life offered an alternative to marriage that was not only accepted but also regarded as superior. According to classical Catholic teaching, vocation only refers to clerical office and regu‐ 43 44 45 46

See Van Osselaer 2013; 2012; 2014; 2016. See Kogler 2016. See also Große Kracht 2016. See Brejon de Lavergnée 2014, 67-81, 83-103. Cf. Schneider 2014, who verifies this picture in his analysis of German religious books for Catholic men. See Van Osselaer 2013, 35-106, 195-249.

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lated religious life, while the Lutheran doctrine of vocation stressed the normative function of marriage and the household, and celibate monastic life was condemned as unnatural and unethical.47 Scholars studying woman and religion in Scandinavia have pointed to the important role of the Lutheran doctrine of vocation and the related household ideology for Christian women, as it strongly emphasized the reproductive and domestic duties of the female sex. Many of the pioneers of the early women’s movement were influenced, directly or indirectly, by this Lutheran gender ideology. To legitimize their socio-political engagement in society they tried to enlarge the domestic sphere to include social activities.48 Several studies from the Swedish research project illustrate that the Lutheran household ideology was also crucial for the construction of Protes‐ tant masculinity. Maurits provides an example in his study of a group of neoLutheran churchmen connected to the University of Lund in the mid-19th century. These High-Church theologians adhered to an ideal of manliness that was characterized by paternalism, a Lutheran ethics of duty, and political engagement to defend the traditional Lutheran social order, not least the role of the household and responsibility of the house-father. They thus stressed the connection between Christian manhood and the function of a house-father with moral, political and religious responsibility for the household and its members. Yet by repudiating liberal views on society, they also distanced themselves from the liberal gender construction with its rigid division between a private and a public sphere in favour of more cooperative, although hierarchical relations within the framework of the household.49 The Danish historian Nanna Damsholt traces the emergence of a new type of Danish masculinity, characterized by a mixture of middle-class liberal and traditional Christian ideals, in a study of gender constructions in the Danish folk high school movement in the 19th century. The Danish folk high schools were part of the Grundtvigian revivalist movement, so called after its leader, the famous theologian, poet and philosopher N.F.S. Grundtvig. They repre‐ sented a new kind of educational establishment, intended for young men, and later also for women, from rural areas. A patriarchal model was upheld at these schools, which were organized as a household with the headmaster and his wife at the top. The Lutheran faith and Danish patriotism constituted the ideological basis, and religion was ever-present in the daily life of the schools. The Danish folk high school movement contributed to removing walls between the old ranks and classes and to transforming and democra‐ 47 48

49

See Birkenmeier 1994, 306/307. See Hammar 1999, 20-78. The Lutheran doctrine of vocation and its importance for the Scandinavian women’s movement is discussed in Hammar 2000a. See also Markkola 2000a, 27-67, 69-112. See Maurits 2013; 2014.

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tizing Danish political culture, but also to confirming and stabilizing a patriar‐ chal gender order.50 The importance of Lutheran household ideology is also demonstrated in the study by Anna Prestjan on ideals of masculinity in the Church of Sweden in the early 19th century. She focusses on the Swedish clergyman Erik E:son Hammar and his religiously motivated settlement movement in Northern Sweden. This philanthropic project, aiming to help alcoholic men and their families by resettling them in ‘colonies’, represented an attempt to restore the Lutheran domestic ideal of man and wife as a complementary team and was also intended to serve as springboards for more extensive social reforms on a Protestant basis. The ideals of gender and masculinity and the aspiration to combine Christian virtues and practical action that meet in this colonization movement show many similarities with the visions of the Muscular Chris‐ tianity movement.51 It is therefore not very surprising that the ideals of clerical manliness revealed in obituaries from the Church of Sweden reflected contemporary, secular ideals of manliness. Qualities associated with general masculine ideals such as vigour, loyalty, decency, and ability are frequently used in the characterizations of the clergymen, whereas more specific Christian ideals such as humility, piety, and love are used rarely. There is also a tendency to counterbalance these kinds of ‘passive’ virtues by combining them with more active qualities, such as physical strength and initiative. They were thus ‘decoded’ to correspond with secular masculinity. Whereas religious virtues dominated the Catholic discourse of masculinity, which is particularly evident when it comes to clerical manliness, the focus was here on contemporary, more secular qualities of masculinity.52 An opposite strategy is at the fore in Elin Malmer’s investigation of the evangelical Swedish Mission Covenant’s missionary activities among conscripts at the beginning of the 20th century. Here the main point was to demonstrate the genuinely male character of Christian virtues, which is reflected in reports and letters in the organization’s youth magazine. Both the Church of Sweden and the Free Churches were engaged in this kind of work among soldiers, and a network of so-called soldiers’ homes was erected. In the homes of the Swedish Mission Covenant a specific evangelical male iden‐ tity was formed with a focus on conversion, and on spiritual and moral growth. The Protestant gender order was clearly marked in these homes, which were led by married couples with the husband as supervisor and his wife as a subordinate helper. The mission among conscripts was motivated by 50 51 52

See Damsholt 2011. See Prestjan 2009. See Prestjan 2011.

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the need to counteract sinful behaviour among the soldiers such as drinking and gambling. Yet it was of course also aiming at winning new members, and Malmer interprets this evangelization work as a strategy of re-masculinization in order to counteract the feminization of the movement. The membership of the Swedish Mission Covenant was, namely, largely female, while the leader‐ ship was almost totally male.53 Other Protestant movements had the same problem, among them the Salvation Army.54 Erik Sidenvall’s work on Swedish evangelical missionaries in China around 1900 reveals an activist ideal of masculinity, where older Lutheran ideals of manliness were combined with modern, middle-class, liberal concepts. He argues that for these evangelical missionaries, who all came from rural, working-class backgrounds, missionary work was an alternative to emigration and that their missionary engagement can partly be seen as a striving for middle class respectability. They thus adopted a modern, middleclass notion of masculinity, not least the idea of the ‘self-made man’, developed within the American Protestant missionary movement to which they were connected. These ideals were mixed with ideas of manliness derived from the Lutheran household ideology, and personified above all by the married clergyman. The Protestant missionaries had to be married men, and marriage was a fundamental component in missionary manhood. To build Christian homes was prioritized as a mission strategy and at the same time regarded as an important means of Christianising the ‘heathen’. The mission‐ aries were thus both modern entrepreneurs and pre-modern patriarchs in their households.55 If compared with constructions of gender and masculinity in the Catholic overseas missions several differences appear. In the Protestant case the missionary work was pursued by religious institutes with regulated religious life as the guiding principle, not a patriarchal household ideology. This is reflected in an interesting way in the German historian Michael Weidert’s work on gender, masculinity and ethnicity in the German mission in East Africa around 1900. In his analysis of reports and letters in missionary maga‐ zines, the Catholic missionary is depicted as a hero, characterized by qualities such as piety, humility and self-sacrificing obedience, and the ascetic ideal of the male religious, represented above all by the priests, is contrasted with the Protestant missionaries and their middle class family life.56

53 54 55

56

See Malmer 2011; Malmer 2013. See Lundin 2013. Cf. Lauer 2000. See Sidenvall 2009; 2011. The Norwegian church historian Kristin Fjelde Tjelle observes similar trends in the Norwegian Protestant mission in South Africa, see Fjelde Tjelle 2011. See Weidert 2007.

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4. Conclusions Christian masculinity was, as we have learnt from the examples mentioned above, re-constructed in different ways during the 19th and early 20th century. Such re-modelling of images of ‘the Christian man’ can be understood as part of the response of the churches to modernity and its challenges, drawing on longstanding, traditional Christian patterns of interpretation. Since the very beginning of Christian religion, male superiority had manifested itself in clas‐ sical doctrines, thereby laying ground for male dominance in society and everyday life. New Christian masculinities in the 19th and early 20th century could easily refer to these traditions. Even if women were seen as equal to men in spiritual matters, this very equality was conceived of as a form of ‘spiritual manliness’.57 It should be noted, however, that the accentuation of male superiority was not only based on the hierarchical anthropology that formed the basis of Christian Creation theology, but was linked to the bour‐ geois ideology of the separate spheres as well. The perception of religion as increasingly feminized and the efforts made by churches and religious organizations to appeal to men and to masculinize the image of Christian religion have been the starting points for the research presented in this article. Two distinct strategies can be identified: The first was to combine elements of contemporary secular masculinity with ‘classical’, Christian virtues regarded as feminine in the hegemonic middle-class liberal discourse; the second one was to define Christian virtues as truly manly, and vice versa. Research on Christian manliness illustrates not only the impor‐ tance of religion but also the need to take into consideration the confessional and institutional aspects of religious identity in the modern world. A common finding in the studies discussed above is that social and missionary engagement on confessional grounds was a key component in the construction of Christian masculinity. In Catholicism, where regulated reli‐ gious life served as a normative foundation, ‘classical’ Christian ideals such as piety, humility, obedience, and self-sacrifice played a more central role than in the family-oriented Protestant gender ideology, with its sharp demar‐ cation between male and female and between politics and religion. Protestant ideals of manhood were more tightly entwined with nationalist ideologies, and also more marked by the gender ideologies of contemporary bourgeois society, whereas piety and the political struggle on behalf of the church were the most significant features of Catholic manliness. In the Protestant case also older gender ideals rooted in the Lutheran ideology of the household had a large impact on the construction of Christian manhood.

57

Cf. Hallonsten 2011.

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Much work remains to be done on Christian masculinities and on Christian men’s strivings to come to terms with the growing dissonance between secular and religious codes of manhood in the modern era. More microstudies from different countries and regions are needed, not least from the Latin parts of the Western world and the world of Orthodox Christianity. In addition, further research is needed in the form of comparative and transna‐ tional studies that include the constructions of masculinity in other religions. Bibliography Ackermans, Gian / Monteiro, Marit (eds) (2007): Mannen Gods. Clericale identiteit in verandering. Hilversum: Verloren. Arning, Holger (2008): Die Macht des Heils und das Unheil der Macht. Die Diskurse von Katholizismus und Nationalsozialismus im Jahr 1934. Eine exemplarische Zeitschriftanalyse. Paderborn: Schöningh. Baumann, Ursula (1992): Protestantismus und Frauenemanzipation in Deutschland 1850 bis 1920. Frankfurt: Campus. Baumann, Ursula (1995): Religion und Emanzipation. Konfessionelle Frauen‐ bewegung in Deutschland 1900-1933. In: Götz von Olenhusen, Irmtraud (ed.): Frauen unter dem Patriarchat der Kirchen. Katholikinnen und Protestantinnen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 89-119. Bederman, Gail (1989): The Woman Have Had Charge of the Church Long Enough. The Men and Religion Forward Movement of 1911-1912 and the Masculinization of Middle-Class Protestantism. In: American Quarterly 3, 432-465. Bedermann, Gail (1995): Manliness & Civilization. A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Birkenmeier, Rainer (1994): Geistliche Berufe. In: Kasper, Walter (ed.): Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche II. Freiburg: Herder, 306/307. Blaschke, Olaf (2000): Das 19. Jahrhundert. Ein zweites konfessionelles Zeitalter? In: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 26 (1), 38-75. Blaschke, Olaf (2002): Der Dämon des Konfessionalismus. Einführende Überlegungen. In: Id. (ed.): Konfessionen im Konflikt. Deutsch‐ land zwischen 1800 und 1970 – Ein zweites konfessionelles Zeitalter. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 13-70.

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Blaschke, Olaf (2011a): Germany in the Age of Culture Wars. In: Müller, Sven Oliver / Torp, Cornelius (eds): Imperial Germany Revisited. Continuing Debates and New Perspectives. Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books, 125-140. Blaschke, Olaf (2011b): The Unrecognised Piety of Men. Strategies of Remas‐ culinization in Germany around 1900. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 21-45. Blückert, Kjell (2000): The Church as Nation. A Study in Ecclesiology and Nationhood. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Borutta, Manuel (2011): Antikatholizismus. Deutschland und Italien im Zeitalter der europäischen Kulturkämpfe. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Brejon de Lavergnée, Mattieu (2014): Making the Charitable Man. Catholic Masculinities in Nineteenth-Century France. In: Van Osselaer, Tine / Pasture, Patrick (eds): Christian Homes. Religion, Family and Domesticity in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 67-81. Broughton, Trev Lynn / Rogers, Helene (eds) (2007): Gender and Fatherhood in the Nineteenth Century. Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan. Brown, Callum (2001): The Death of Christian Britain. Understanding Secu‐ larization 1800-2000. London: Psychology Press. Brown, Callum (2011): Masculinity and Secularization in Twentieth-century Britain. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 47-59. Busch, Norbert (1997): Katholische Frömmigkeit und Moderne. Die Sozialund Mentalitätsgeschichte des Herz-Jesu-Kultes in Deutschland zwischen Kulturkampf und Erstem Weltkrieg. Gütersloh: Kaiser, Gütersloher Verlags-Haus. Curtis, Sarah Ann (2010): L’autre visage de la mission. Les femmes (Histoire & Missions Chrétiennes 16).Paris: Karthala. Damsholt, Nanna (2011): Danish Folk High School and the Creation of a New Danish Man. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 213-231. Davidoff, Leonore / Hall, Catherine (1992): Family Fortune. Men and Women in the English Middle Class 1780-1850. London: Routledge. De Groot, Johanna / Morgan, Sue (2013): Beyond the ‘Religious Turn’? Past, Present and Future Perspectives in Gender History. In: Gender & History 25 (3), 395-422.

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Douglas, Ann (1977): The Feminization of American Culture. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Ekenstam, Claes / Lorentzen, Jörgen (eds) (2006): Män i Norden. Manlighet och modernitet 1840-1940. Stockholm: Gidlunds förlag. Gause, Ute / Heller, Barbara / Kaiser, Jochen Ch. (eds) (2000): Starke fromme Frauen? Eine Zwischenbilanz konfessioneller Frauenforschung heute. Hofgeismar: Evangelische Akademie. Goujon, Bertrand (2014): Gender, Family Life, and Religious Identity in Ultramontane Aristocracy. In: Van Osselaer, Tine / Pasture, Patrick (eds): Christian Homes. Religion, Family and Domesticity in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 83-103. Gross, Michael B. (2004): The War against Catholics. Liberalism and the Anti-Catholic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Germany. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. Große Kracht, Klaus (2016): Die Stunde der Laien? Katholische Aktion in Deutschland im europäischen Kontext 1920-1960. Paderborn: Schöningh. Gugglberger, Martina (2014): Reguliertes Abenteuer. Missionarinnen in Südafrika nach 1945. Wien: Böhlau. Götz von Olenhusen, Irmtraud (1995a): Die Feminisierung der Religion und Kirche im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Forschungsstand und Forschungsper‐ spektiven. In: Id. (ed.) :Frauen unter dem Patriarchat der Kirchen. Katho‐ likinnen und Protestantinnen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 69-88 Götz von Olenhusen, Irmtraud (ed.) (1995b): Frauen unter dem Patriarchat der Kirchen. Katholikinnen und Protestantinnen im 19. und 20. Jahrhun‐ dert. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer. Götz von Olenhusen, Irmtraud (1996): Geschlechterrollen, Jugend und Reli‐ gion. In: Kraul, Margret / Lüth, Christoph (eds): Erziehung der Menschengeschlechter. Studien zur Religion, Sozialization und Bildung in Europa seit der Aufklärung. Weinheim: Deutscher Studienverlag, 239-257. Hall, Donald E. (ed.) (1994): Muscular Christianity Embodying the Victorian Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hallonsten, Gösta (2011): The New Catholic Feminism – Tradition and Renewal in Catholic Gender Theology. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 274-295. Hammar, Inger (1998): Några reflexioner kring religionsblind kvinno‐ forskning. In: Historisk tidskrift 1, 3-29.

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Hammar, Inger (1999): Emancipation och religion. Den svenska kvinnorörelsens pionjärer i debatt om kvinnans kallelse ca 1860-1900. Lund: University Lund. Hammar, Inger (2000a): Calling, Gender and Emancipation Debate in Sweden. In: Markkola, Pirjo (ed.): Gender and Vocation. Women, Religion and Social Change in the Nordic Countries, 1830-1940. Helsinki: SKS, 27-67. Hammar, Inger (2000b): From Fredrika Bremer to Ellen Key: Calling, Gender and Emancipation Debate in Sweden, c.1830-1900. In: Markkola, Pirjo (ed.): Gender and Vocation. Women, Religion and Social Change in the Nordic Countries, 1830-1940. Helsinki: SKS, 20-67. Haupt, Heinz-Gerhard / Langewiesche, Dieter (eds) (2004): Nation und Reli‐ gion in Europa. Mehrkonfessionelle Gesellschaften im 19. und 20. Jahrhun‐ dert. Frankfurt: Campus. Hill Lindley, Susan (1996): You Have Stepped Out of Your Place. A History of Women and Religion in America. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. Hölscher, Lucian (1996): Weibliche Religiosität? Der Einfluß von Religion und Kirche auf die Religiosität von Frauen im 19. Jahrhundert. In: Kraul, Margret / Lüth, Christoph (eds): Erziehung der Menschengeschlechter. Studien zur Religion, Sozialization und Bildung in Europa seit der Aufklärung. Weinheim: Deutscher Studien Verlag, 45-62. Hübinger, Georg (1994): Kulturprotestantismus und Politik. Zum Verhältnis von Liberalismus und Protestantismus im wilhelminischen Deutschland. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Jarlert, Anders (2007): State Churches and Diversified Confessionalization in Scandinavia. In: Yates, Nigel (ed.): Bishop Burgess and his World. Culture, Religion and Society in Britain, Europe and North America in the Eigh‐ teenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Lampeter: University of Wales Press, 171-197. Jonas, Raymond (2000): France and the Cult of the Sacred Heart. An Epic Tale for Modern Times. Berkeley: University of California Press. Kimmel, Michael (2003): Consuming Manhood. The Feminization of Amer‐ ican Culture and the Recreation of the Male Body, 1832-1920. In: Ervö, Sören / Johansson, Thomas (eds): Moulding Masculinities. Bending Bodies. Aldershot: Ashgate, 47-76. Kirkley, Evelyn A. (1996): Is it Manly to be A Christian? The Debate in Victorian and Modern America. In: Boyd, Stephen D. / Longwood, W. Merle / Muesse, Mark W. (eds): Redeeming Men. Religion and Masculini‐ ties. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 80-88.

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Kogler, Nina (2016): Maskulinisierung als pastorale Strategie im österreichis‐ chen Katholizismus. In: Sohn-Kronthaler, Michaela (ed.): Feminisierung oder (Re)Maskulinisierung der Religion im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert? Forschungsbeiträge aus Christentum, Judentum und Islam. Wien: Böhlau, 114-135. Kuhlemann, Frank-Michael (2001): Bürgerlichkeit und Religion. Zur Sozialund Mentalitätsgeschichte der evangelischen Pfarrer in Baden, 1860-1914. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Langlois, Claude (1984): Le Catholicisme au féminin. Les congrégations françaises à supérieure générale au XIXe siècle. Paris: Cerf. Lauer, Laura (2000): Soul-saving Partnerships and Pacifist Soldiers. The Ideal of Masculinity in the Salvation Army. In: Bradstock, Andrew / Gill, Sean / Hogan, Anne / Morgan, Sue (eds): Masculinity and Spirituality in Victorian Culture. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 194-208. Lehmann, Hartmut (1997): Von der Erforschung der Säkularisierung zur Erforschung von Prozessen der Dechristianisierung und der Rechristian‐ isierung im neuzeitlichen Europa. In: Id. (ed.): Säkularisierung, Dechris‐ tianisierung, Rechristianisierung im neuzeitlichen Europa. Bilanz und Perspektiven der Forschung. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 9-16. Lehmann, Hartmut (2004): Säkularisierung. Der europäische Sonderweg in Sachen Religion. Göttingen: Wallstein. Lein, Bente Nilsen (1981): Kirken i felttog mot kvinnefrigjøring. Kirkens hold‐ ning til den borgerlige kvinnebevegelsen i 1880-årene. Oslo: Universitets‐ forlaget. Lundin, Johan (2013): Predikande kvinnor och gråtande män – genus och reli‐ gion i Frälsningsarmén i Sverige 1883-1921. Malmö: Kira. Malmer, Elin (2011): The Making of Christian Men. An Evangelical Mission to the Swedish Army, c.1900-1920. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Chris‐ tian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 191-211. Malmer, Elin (2013): Hemmet vid nationens skola. Väckelsekristendom, värnplikt och soldatmission, ca 1900-1920. Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis. Manns, Ulla (1998): Den religionsblinda kvinnorörelseforskningen – en kommentar till Inger Hammars kritik. In: Historisk tidskrift 2, 197/198. Markkola, Pirjo (2000a): The Calling of Women. Gender, Religion and Social reform in Finland, 1860-1920. In: Id. (ed.): Gender and Vocation. Women, Religion and Social Change in the Nordic Countries, 1830-1940. Helsinki: SKS, 69-112.

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Markkola, Pirjo (ed.) (2000b): Gender and Vocation. Women, Religion and Social Change in the Nordic Countries, 1830-1940. Helsinki: SKS. Maurits, Alexander (2013): Den vackra och erkända patriarchalismen. Prästmannaideal och manlighet i den tidiga lundensiska högkyrkligheten, ca 1850-1900. Lund: Universus / RoosTegner. Maurits, Alexander (2014): The Household of the Pastor. An Exponent of Christian Manliness. In: Van Osselaer, Tine / Pasture, Patrick (eds): Chris‐ tian Homes. Religion, Family and Domesticity in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 53-65. McLeod, Hugh (1988): Weibliche Frömmigkeit – Männlicher Unglaube? In: Frevert, Ute (ed.): Bürgerinnen und Bürger. Geschlechtsverhältnisse im 19. Jahrhundert. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 134-156. McLeod, Hugh (2000): Secularization in Western Europe, 1848-1914. Hound‐ mills: Palgrave Macmillan. Meiwes, Relinde (2000): Arbeiterinnen des Herrn. Katholische Frauenkon‐ gregationen des 19. Jahrhunderts. Frankfurt / New York: Campus. Monteiro, Marit (2011): Masculinity, Memory and Oblivion in the Dutch Dominican Province, 1930-1950. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 95-113. Monteiro, Marit (2012): Repertoires of Catholic Manliness in the Netherlands (1850-1940). In: Pasture, Patrick / Art, Jan / Buerman, Thomas (eds): Gender and Christianity in Modern Europe. Beyond the Feminization Thesis. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 137-155. Morgan, Sue / De Vries, Jacqueline (eds) (2010): Women, Gender and Reli‐ gious Cultures in Britain, 1800-1940. London: Routledge. Mosse, George L. (1996): The Image of Man – The Creation of Modern Masculinity. New York: Oxford University Press. Muschiol, Gisela (2016): Dienste, Ämter und das Geschlecht – Anfragen an die Feminisierungsthese aus katholischer Perspektive. In: Sohn-Kronthaler, Michaela (ed.): Feminisierung oder (Re)Maskulinisierung der Religion im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert? Forschungsbeiträge aus Christentum, Judentum und Islam. Wien: Böhlau, 42-51. O’Brien, Anne (1993): A Church Full of Men. Masculinism and the Church in Australian History. In: Australian Historical Studies 25 (100), 437-457. O’Brien, Anne (2008): Missionary Masculinities, the hom*oerotic Gaze and the Politics of Race: Gilbert White in Northern Australia, 1885-1915. In: Gender & History 1, 68-85.

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Offen, Karen M. (2000): European Feminisms, 1700-1950. A Political History. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Okkenhaug, Inger Marie (ed.) (2003): Gender, Race and Religion. Nordic Missions 1860-1940. Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Mission Research. Okkenhaug, Inger Marie / Nielssen, Hilde / Hestad-Skeie, Karina (eds) (2011): Protestant Missions and Local Encounters in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Leiden: Brill. Pasture, Patrick (2012): Beyond the Feminization Thesis. Gendering the History of Christianity in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. In: Pasture, Patrick / Art, Jan / Buerman, Thomas (eds): Gender and Chris‐ tianity in Modern Europe. Beyond the Feminization Thesis. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 7-26. Pasture, Patrick / Art, Jan / Buerman, Thomas (eds) (2012): Gender and Christianity in Modern Europe. Beyond the Feminization Thesis. Leuven: Leuven University Press. Prestjan, Anna (2009): Präst och karl, karl och präst: prästmanlighet i tidigt 1900-tal. Lund: Sekel Bokförlag. Prestjan, Anna (2011): The Man in the Clergyman. Swedish Priest Obituaries, 1905-1937. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 115-126. Putney, Clifford (2001): Muscular Christianity. Manhood and sports in Protestant America, 1880-1920. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. Rimmen Nielsen, Hanne (1998): Religionsblindhed. En debat i svensk og nordisk kvindehistorie. In: Den jydske historiker. (Special Edition ‘Historie fa*get – et udsyn’). Saurer, Edith (2005): Gender and the History of Religion. New Approaches and Recent Studies. In: Kvinder, køn & Forskning 14, 33-46. Schieder, Wolfgang (1986): Volksreligiosität in der modernen Sozialgeschich‐ te. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck. Schmale, Wolfgang (1998): Einleitung. Gender Studies, Männergeschichte, Körpergeschichte. In: Id. (ed.): MannBilder. Ein Lese- und Quellenbuch zur historischen Männerforschung. Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 5-33. Schneider, Bernhard (2014): Masculinity, Religiousness and the Domestic Sphere in the German Speaking World. In: Van Osselaer, Tine / Pasture, Patrick (eds): Christian Homes. Religion, Family and Domesticity in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 27-51.

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Schneider, Bernhard (2016): Feminisierung und (Re-)Maskulinisierung der Religion im 19. Jahrhundert. Tendenzen der Forschung aus der Perspektive des deutschen Katholizismus. In: Sohn-Kronthaler, Michaela (ed.): Femi‐ nisierung oder (Re)Maskulinisierung der Religion im 19. und 20. Jahrhun‐ dert? Forschungsbeiträge aus Christentum, Judentum und Islam. Wien: Böhlau, 11-35. Schneider, Bernt (1996): Vergessene Welt? Religion, Kirche, Frömmigkeit als Thema der deutschen Geschichtswissenschaft. Historiographische und methodologische Sondierungen. In: Fössel, Amalie / Kampmann, Christoph (eds): Wozu Historie heute? Beiträge zu einer Standortbestim‐ mung im fachübergreifenden Gespräch. Köln: Böhlau, 45-79. Sidenvall, Erik (2009): The Making of Manhood among Swedish Missionaries in China and Mongolia, c.1890-c.1914. Leiden: Brill. Sidenvall, Erik (2011): Protestant Mission in China. A Proletarian Perspective. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven Univer‐ sity Press, 149-169. Smith, Anthony D. (2003): Chosen Peoples. Sacred Sources of National Iden‐ tity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sohn-Kronthaler, Michaela (2016): Feminisierung des kirchlichen Personals? Entwicklungen und Beobachtungen am Beispiel religiöser Frauen‐ genossenschaften in österreichischen Diözesen im langen 19. Jahrhundert. In: Id. (ed.): Feminisierung oder (Re)Maskulinisierung der Religion im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert? Forschungsbeiträge aus Christentum, Judentum und Islam. Wien: Böhlau, 78-108. Stearns, Peter (1990): Be a Man in Modern Society. New York: Holmes & Meier. Taylor Huber, Mary / Lutkehaus, Nancy (eds) (1999): Introduction. Gendered Mission at Home and Abroad. In: Id.: Gendered Missions. Women and Men in Missionary Discourse and Practice. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. Thompson, Edward P. (1964): The Making of the English Working Class. New York: Pantheon Books. Tjeder, David (2003): The Power of Character. Middle Class Masculinities, 1800-1900. Stockholm: Stockholm Universitet. Tjeder, David (2010): Manlig man i en omanlig tid? J. A. Eklunds kamp med moderniteten. Lund: Sekel Bokförlag.

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Tjeder, David (2011): Crises of Faith and the Making of Christian Masculini‐ ties at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 127-145. Fjelde Tjelle, Kristin (2011): Missionary Masculinity. The Case of the Norwe‐ gian Lutheran Missionaries to the Zulus, 1870-1930. Stavanger: School of Mission and Theology (Dissertation). Tosh, John (1999): A Man’s Place. Masculinity and the Middle Class Home in Victorian England. London: Yale University Press. Turin, Yvonne (1989): Femmes et religieuses au XIX siècle. Le féminisme en religion. Paris: Nouvelle Cité. Van Osselaer, Tine (2012): ‘From that Moment on, I was a Man!’ Images of the Catholic Male in the Sacred Heart Devotion. In: Pasture, Patrick / Art, Jan / Buerman, Thomas (eds): Gender and Christianity in Modern Europe. Beyond the Feminization Thesis. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 121-135. Van Osselaer, Tine (2013): The Pious Sex. Catholic Constructions of Masculinity and Femininity in Belgium c.1800-1940. Leuven: Leuven University Press. Van Osselaer, Tine (2014): Home is Where the Heart is. The Sacred Heart Devotion in Catholic Families in Interwar Belgium. In: Van Osselaer, Tine / Pasture, Patrick (eds): Christian Homes. Religion, Family and Domesticity in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 159-177. Van Osselaer, Tine (2016): Männer in der Kirche. Ritueller Raum und die Konstruktion katholischer Männlichkeit. In: Sohn-Kronthaler, Michaela (ed.): Feminisierung oder (Re)Maskulinisierung der Religion im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert? Forschungsbeiträge aus Christentum, Judentum und Islam.Wien: Böhlau, 140-154. Van Osselear, Tine / Buerman, Thomas (2008): Feminization Thesis. A Survey of International Historiography and a Probing of Belgian Ground. In: Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique 103 (2), 497-544. Van Osselaer, Tine / Maurits, Alexander (2011): Heroic Men and Christian Ideals. In: Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 63-94. Van Osselaer, Tine / Pasture, Patrick (eds) (2014): Christian Homes. Religion, Family and Domesticity in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press.

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Warren, Allen (1994): Popular Manliness. Baden-Powell, Scouting and the Development of Manly Character. In: Mangan, James A. / Malvin, James (eds): Manliness and Morality. Middle-class Masculinity in Britain and America, 1800-1940. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 199-219 Weidert, Michael (2007): “Solche Männer erobern die Welt”. Konstruktionen von Geschlecht und Ethnizität in den katholischen Missionen in DeutschOstafrika, 1884-1918. Trier: University Trier (Dissertation). Welter, Barbara (1974): The Feminization of American Religion 1800-1860. In: Hartman, Mary / Banner, Lois (eds): Clio’s Consciousness Raised. New York: Octagon Books, 137-157. Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.) (2004): Nuns and Sisters in the Nordic Countries after the Reformation. A Female Counter-Culture in Modern Society. Uppsala: The Swedish Institute of Mission Research. Werner, Yvonne Maria (2011a): Alternative Masculinity? Catholic Mission‐ aries in Scandinavia. In: Id. (ed.): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven Univer‐ sity Press, 165-187. Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.) (2011b): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century. Leuven: Leuven Univer‐ sity Press. Werner, Yvonne Maria (2014): Katolsk manlighet. Det antimoderna alterna‐ tivet. Katolska missionärer och lekmän i Skandinavien. Göteborg, Stock‐ holm: Makadam förlag. Werner, Yvonne Maria (2016): Katholische Männlichkeit in Skandinavien. In: Sohn-Kronthaler, Michaela (ed.): Feminisierung oder (Re)Maskulin‐ isierung der Religion im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert? Forschungsbeiträge aus Christentum, Judentum und Islam. Wien: Böhlau, 52-77. Werner, Yvonne Maria / Harvard, Jonas (eds) (2013): European Anti-Catholi‐ cism in a Comparative and Transnational Perspective. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Woodhead, Linda: Gendering Secularization. In: Kvinder, Kvinder, Køn & Forskning 1 (2), 20-33.

Good News: Moral Masculinity, Whiteness, and the Media in Contemporary US History1 Felix Krämer Three months after Reagan’s inauguration, a young man targeted the presi‐ dent. In the seemingly endless moment after the shots were heard in front of a Hilton Hotel nearby Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. on the afternoon of March 30, 1981, ABC-journalist Frank Reynolds repeatedly kept asking the on-site reporter live on the telephone: “Excuse me! Did the president walk into the hospital?”2 The anchor-man of ABC Evening News appeared extremely distressed sitting behind the desk in his news studio since he could not make sense of what had happened. Uncertainty ran rampant. While reporting, Reynolds stumbled and then took recourse to leadership and manhood. The journalist’s main concern apparently was if the president liter‐ ally ‘walked’ into the hospital ‘on his own feet’, evidently referring to the man’s virility. Then the pictures of the incident began clearing up the scene, giving evidence of the assassination attempt. The president had, in fact, been struck by a bullet. However, there was another layer of evidence to the good news of Reagan’s surviving the shooting. In the course of the many-weekslong coverage of his recovery, the reporting on the presidential body surviving the assassination attempt was filtered through the narrative of a ‘born again’ experience. Doctors of the George Washington Hospital were marvelling over his physique, as the journalists did not get tired of reporting. He had allegedly lost half the blood in his body and this appeared to be a less than subtle hint at the transcendental bodily experience that was transposed into a medial born-again narrative. Even later, when Reagan relived his expe‐ riences in TV interviews, he would confess: “I talked to my friend up there”.3 And since his ‘friend up there’ had told him to forgive the assassin John Hinckley, just as the Pope John Paul II had forgiven the man who targeted him, the Holy Father, Reagan’s becoming a moral leader happened over and

1 2

3

Many thanks to Sabina Fazli, Daniel Gerster, and Michael Krüggeler for discussing and commenting this paper. ABC, Evening News, 30/03/1981, Headline: Reagan Assassination Attempt. The discourse analysis that this article is based on was accomplished by use of the Vander‐ bilt Television News Archive, wherein the TV news of ABC, CBS and NBC are search‐ able via key words; see: http://tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/ [Accessed 17/08/2017]. The parts of the newscasts can be located by the date and the keywords within the online archive. The coverage can be viewed in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. CNN, Larry King Live, 11/01/1990, Interview: Ronald Reagan.

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over again throughout the decade of the 1980s and beyond during this seem‐ ingly infinite loop of reports on him overcoming the attempt on his life. I will come back to this particular media hour that gave birth to Reagan’s moral leadership at the end of this article. So far, this article has assumed the link between white masculinity, leadership and faith in US politics in the wake of perceived crises. But is there such a linkage after all? Of course, every US president has attended a church service on the morning of his inau‐ guration, since James Madison first took office in 1809. But personal confes‐ sion by a president seems, at most, only part of the truth about the liaison between leadership, manhood and religion in politics. In 2009, two hundred years after Madison took office, Barack Obama became the first black presi‐ dent to move into the White House. In fact, he and his wife attended a preinauguration Christian church service, too. Nevertheless, a flood of attempts preceded and followed Obama’s election to question his commitment to the Anglo-Saxon Protestant heritage in North America. This phenomenon led Ta-Nehisi Coates to observe that Donald Trump – who had just beat the first female presidential candidate in the history of US elections – had also become “the first white president”4 in US history. This is to say that Trump was elected for his whiteness to eradicate the ‘blackness’ in leadership that Obama’s presidency supposedly had implemented.5 Building on this percep‐ tion of the racist entrenchments of the political, I argue that Christian masculinity is subcutaneously configured as white, too, and simultaneously Christian belief is coded as masculine, virile and dominant as soon as it comes to leadership in the United States.6 The basis of this configuration and the site of my investigation into contemporary history is the media. The role of the media has until now been decisively underestimated as to its produc‐ tiveness in terms of the construction of hegemonic masculinity, faith and lead‐ ership.7 In this chapter, I will outline the dimension of this historiographical blind spot against the backdrop of a case study focusing on white right-wing Evangelicals who were tilling the field for Ronald Reagan from the late 1970s on, before the mainstream media took over and helped inscribe him into a born again moral leader. First and foremost, my research on media discourse reveals a certain type of moral leadership that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s deriving its force in particular from its performative presence in the mainstream news. 4 5

6 7

Coates 2017. At least since the 1990s, critical whiteness studies have systematically shown that the construction and persistence of white hegemony is deeply enmeshed with daily practices upholding privileges, see Roediger 1991 and Ignatiev 1995. For religion, see Mannion 2017. The concept of hegemonic masculinity refers to the deconstructive use Raewyn Connell introduced in the mid-1990s, see Connell 1995.

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The two components of this intensifying narrative are a supposed crisis of white masculinity, and right-wing religious arguments on morality – among them chauvinist, anti-feminist, anti-abortion, hom*ophobic, and not least racist discursive strands. This may sound extremely familiar to today’s media consumers who just experienced a campaign culminating in a frantic election and presidency. However, current observers continued to marvel about the success of populist preacher figures on the far right, while the discussion on political representation leaves the impact of media capitalism on this develop‐ ment untouched in its substance.8 Thus, the evolution of white, right-wing preachers and politicians about four decades ago cannot be fully understood without considering a variety of shifts in US politics exacerbated in neoliberal society. In the media, Evangelical preachers exploited these changes and performed a certain kind of moral masculinity which resonated with social and political issues. The good news they were referring to was: They had arrived to bring salvation and a new kind of leadership to allegedly ruthless politics in America. But even more importantly, those agents of morale and mega-churches, like pastor Jerry Falwell for instance, were provided with a mega-stage of daily evening news, no matter how critical or sceptical the reports aired by the mainstream media sounded. As I have shown elsewhere, long-extant genealogical roots and discursive strands of this contemporary history of moral leaders condensed around 1980, building upon a crisis supposedly emerging in the mid-1970s.9 This crisis trope needs to be located within the apparatus of a modern dispositif of hegemonic masculinity; it needs to be decoded as a power operation.10 However, a specific white Evan‐ gelical masculinity became a political force in the United States in the late 1970s. This development needs further theoretical reflection on the employed terms and issues – hegemony and crisis. This is the subject of the first part of this article. In a second part, I will focus on the cultural and communicative background of the inscription of right-wing voices in US politics since the late 1970s. A third part is dedicated to the process of ‘televisualization’ and its methods as a public practice in construing leadership ideals. In a fourth part, the self-inscription of born-again preachers into the leadership landscape around 1980 moves into the focus. Finally, I will reflect on the complicated impact moral masculinity and media capitalism had in contemporary history

8

9 10

An exception to this generalizing assertion surely is the important work on media, capitalism and society by members of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham, which was shut down in 2002. On masculinity crisis, see Krämer 2015. The term ‘dispositif’/‘apparatus’/‘réseau’ refers to Foucault’s work and denotes a historical power operation organizing the political subjects in the matrix of one theme. Hegemonic masculinity is to be analyzed as such a dispositif for the 20th century. Foucault 1999, 299.

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by returning to Reagan’s momentum as well as to contemporary criticism of the white right-wing moral leadership of the present day.

1. Theoretical Considerations on Religious Masculinity in Crisis and its Media Two terms are decisive for studies dealing with the construction of masculinity and social power – especially the ones interrelated with religious belief. First, there is the issue of hegemony – a term Raewyn Connell borrowed from Antonio Gramsci in order to contrast the assertion of a multi‐ plicity of masculinities with the analysis of power relations.11 Hegemonic masculinity is the white heterosexual and dominant model within a hierarch‐ ical gender system. Hegemonic patterns are the most productive ones for the in- and exclusions of individuals, especially in religious communities and societies. Second, as I mentioned above, there is the proclamation of a crisis – in particular, a crisis based on that very hegemonic model of masculinity. Whenever we come across these two elements in history, and specifically in revivalist movements, these two patterns intersect with religious belief. For that reason, crises need to be analyzed as productive signifiers.12 Crises are power operations set out to re-affirm the dominant model of masculinity as part of a dispositif, an apparatus which is itself powerfully enmeshed with religion, as Giorgio Agamben has demonstrated.13 By exploring hegemonic masculinity at work in a never merely secular political sphere, we may be able to explain the persistence of ‘gender gaps’ and the role that ‘the new father’ plays, for instance; significant points of reference in the contemporary discussion that Friederike Benthaus-Apel addresses in her chapter in this book.14 Simultaneously, hegemonic ideals of gender orderings structure politics, culture, but also the notion of the other: other masculinities, their hierarchical relation to femininities and, last but not least to the masculine self in European Christian societies and beyond. And this is certainly the case in the history of the United States, particularly when it comes to discursive enmeshments of white Protestantism and leadership. These observations do overlap with some approaches in Yvonne Werner’s historiographical account of Northern European masculinities.15 By opposing the feminization theory of religion in modern times, Werner argues that reli‐ 11 12 13 14 15

See Urbinati 1998. See Krämer/Mackert 2010. In Agamben’s conceptualization, a dispositif is initially tied to trinity within the ‘oikos’; see Agamben 2009. See in this volume Benthaus-Apel, 85-101. Werner (ed.) 2011. See also Werner, 39-63, in this volume.

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gion is by no means passive in modern contexts but rather, especially when it comes to crisis proclamations, ultimately active in centring the dominant gendered self.16 Quintessentially, this is addressed for instance by the findings of David Tjeder. Evident in writings by Swedish Protestant church leader Eklund and his followers, the crisis discourse seems to be a stereotypical example of how the mechanism of problematizing a masculinist leader position works for certain men. When crises are proclaimed in nationalistic rhetoric, this discourse aims to re-centre hegemonic masculinity rather than indicate the decline of the dominant gender model. Studies like Tjeder’s help to deconstruct the binary of a static female religiosity, on the one side, and a masculine, active, becoming one, on the other. He finds that, for Eklund and his followership, the inner struggle was coded as the thoroughly male fron‐ tier.17 In particular, the interconnectedness of Protestant masculinities and leadership are part of this configuration within modern masculinity, formed as a nationalistic pattern, as scholars in the mid-1990s have convincingly shown for various modern contexts.18 Building on all these studies, Björn Krondorfer states in this volume: We have learned to see religion as an objectifiable phenomenon, wherein gender becomes one of the lenses by and through which we can understand religious identi‐ ties and practices, discourse and institutions. A ‘critical men’s studies in religion’ approach is part of this larger mode of discernment; it asks questions specifically pertaining to men and masculinities in the religious traditions, querying and critiquing men’s identities and performances as well as assumed male authority and power. It can also include questions about male-gendered imaginings of the divine.19

To focus on masculinities thereby inevitably requires taking the relationality of the category of gender seriously by conducting an intersectional analysis of power relations wherein religion is again conceptualized as one tremendously important socio-political factor among others. Mechanisms of othering, hege‐ mony and power are at work, which unfold once we integrate them with the central themes of masculinity and religious faith or morals. And this does not only lead to political ideals. An almost untapped field seems to be the media seen from the vanishing point of capitalism within an embattled attention economy. I will try to relate this discussion to my argument on the emergence of a certain type of ‘moral leadership’ in US American media and politics as a reaction to and an interaction with both a crisis discourse emerging in the second half of the 1970s and an Evangelical revival movement spreading by the end of the decade.20 As I have said above, the case I make for the inter‐ 16 17 18 19 20

On the complication of the modernity concept, see Eisenstadt 2000. Werner (ed.) 2011. On Muscular Christianity, see also Hall (ed.) 1994 and Putney 2001. See e.g. Mosse 1996; Kimmel 1996; Boyd et al. (eds) 1996. Krondorfer, 285, in this volume. See Krämer 2015.

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connectedness of masculinity and a specific version of right-wing morality in leadership might range from the Evangelical preachers promoting Reagan as far as to the enmeshments of the Trump figure with the media as a virtual and an outmost political space. With these categorical reflections in mind, I would like to shed light on a pivotal move within contemporary US history: the performance of right-wing ‘moral’ in US politics around 1980.

2. The Emergence of ‘Moral Leaders’ in the United States A certain brand of political preachers moved to the foreground in the US media of the early 1980s. Depending on their political preference, commenta‐ tors either cheered or deplored the admonition and verbal muscle-flexing of religious and political actors of that kind. Print and TV news had repeatedly drawn the attention of a broader public to Evangelical preachers and their revival movement as early as the late 1970s.21 The medial performance of Evangelical leaders seemed to enthral commentators in mainstream news in the TV landscape especially. Thus, journalists like, for instance, ABC reporter Jim Wooten attempted – with the best of intentions – to notify their newscast audience of the dangers of mixing religion and politics through far-reaching documentary reports.22 A closer look reveals that TV journalism developed more and more into becoming a co-producer of the religious-political messages that Evangelical preachers aimed at airing via TV stations into millions of US-Americans’ living rooms.23 Politicizing pastors became known to a far greater public than their own networks and stations could have ever reached. Via critical reports, a nation-wide stage was set ready to be entered and to accommodate the moral agenda of preachers such as James Robison, Pat Robertson, or the Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell from Lynchburg in Virginia – not that far from Washington, D.C. They were repre‐ senting themselves as faithful, trustworthy, and tough counter models to the liberal politicians they promised to replace in order to bring salvation to the entire nation, prospectively guaranteeing to remedy in the future the suppos‐ edly severe lack in leadership through their strong hands and with the help of God. All of a sudden, politicizing pastors appeared as people of faith sanc‐ tioned by the power of male leadership within the setting of an expansive television public wherein a broad cultural and national crisis was increasingly propagated that had supposedly seeped into every nook and cranny since the 21 22

23

For precursors of this movement, see Jewett/Wangerin 2008. See ABC, Evening News, 23/09/1980, Special Assignment (Politics and Religion); ABC, Evening News, 24/09/1980, Special Assignment (Politics and Religion); ABC, Evening News, 25/09/1980, Special Assignment (Politics and Religion). See Hannig 2010.

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mid-1970s.24 Preachers promised US society – more precisely, and first and foremost, its complaining white middle class – to lead the way out of their predicament through a particular form of religious awakening.25 The on-air use of the terms ‘moral’ and ‘strong leadership’ increased significantly, which blazed the trail for the success of Evangelical pastors reaching nation-wide audiences through their TV appearances in newscasts distributed by the big three networks – ABC, CBS, and NBC. For example, a report aired by NBC featured a woman who would praise Pastor Jerry Falwell when interviewed: “I think he’s God’s man for the hour”. A young man said: “I think this is what we need in America, somebody who is concerned about our country and is willing to give his life to save it”.26 NBC commented that Jerry Falwell would probably be the most notable voice and actor on the right, and added that he was by far not alone. But how was this Christian leadership position rooted in American culture? First, aspirants needed to be ‘born again’ in order to become a leading figure in the early 1980s. Second, their narration of experiences had to be authenti‐ cated. A potential leader needed to inscribe himself into a good example. Susan Harding hints at loosely connected tropes and images that could be assembled to underwrite white right-wing politicians’ credentials as Christian leaders. The televangelical preachers of the 1980s emerged out of the populist apostolic tradi‐ tion in America. The tradition enables preachers to enact, believers to recognize, and sceptics to scorn charismatic religious authority. The televangelists were all autho‐ rized by more formal means as well, but their extraordinary reputations depended on continuous evidence of miraculous action in their lives and works. They produced this evidence by constantly narrating themselves in terms of Bible-based story cycles which made manifest their divine election.27

Inscribing their bodies in the biblical truth made their divine election manifest. In this respect, the Evangelical TV preachers where at the heart of modern politics in the United States. Thus, and through these media channels, an effi‐ cacious ideal of moral leaders was forged and developed. In particular, TV newscasts relentlessly impressed on their audiences the need for moral leader‐ ship as an inevitable and compatible political quality, successfully funnelling their rhetoric into public spaces, specifically in those years from around the 24 25

26 27

See Robinson 2000 and Krämer 2009. One of the first newscasts expressing fascination as well as alienation in the light of politicizing pastors, their TV stations, and the new religious movement was signifi‐ cantly a report by Roger Mudd, introduced by Walter Cronkite and aired by CBS, Evening News, 27/01/1978. The report concentrated on Jerry Falwell as a pivotal figure within a yet still diffuse picture. CBS, Evening News, 27/01/1978, Evangelical Broad‐ casting. NBC, Evening News, 19/08/1980, Special Segment (Born Again Politics). Harding 2000, 85.

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end of the 1970s to the beginning of the 1980s. Incidentally, the long shadow of this extremely significant figure of moral leadership informed Ronald Reagan’s inauguration and reaches into the highest and most prominent polit‐ ical sphere: Its career can be traced through the different facets and patterns of the required profile of a moral leader, the making of Bill Clinton’s sex affair into a scandal, George W. Bush’s born-again identity and militant masculinity, and right up to Barack Obama performance as an ideal family father. The right-wing elements of this narrative are probably most radically embodied by the ‘white preacher’ and populist Donald Trump. However, this is as much as to say that these different types do not completely blend into a somewhat coherent and clear-cut ideal. In any case, the problematization of the respective masculine agents of a particular leadership persona is the key issue. Even the performative media image of Hillary Clinton depended on a deeply gendered bias when she ran against Barack Obama in the course of the pre-elections in 2008. In 2016, as candidate for presidency, she was up against an expanding world of images, generated since the 1980s, the decade in which the genealogy of this particular leadership ideal is rooted.

3. Televisualization On the basis of reports of TV news casts, the emergence of the televisualiza‐ tion of the political and particularly of the figure of the right-wing moral leader in contemporary history can be traced discourse-analytically. The ABC-, CBS-, and NBC-news had already come to be a linchpin of political opinion as early as in the 1960s. They began to deliver news from far and wide into the living rooms of a huge majority of American households each and every evening.28 Viewed from the perspective of diachronic shifts in contemporary history, television was the site of change and a catalyst of the politics of hegemony. Why? On the one hand, television news reported on social phenomena but, on the other, it worked as a producer of various discourses in the public sphere. TV became the leading medium in the period under investigation. Whenever utterances and discourses publicly crystallized, most US-Americans observed this through the TV screens which delivered the daily news. Thus, we have to inevitably regard political history as one of publicity that is predominantly produced and perpetuated in and by the televi‐ sion medium. Furthermore, cultural history needs to consider the social emancipation movements of the 1960s as another genealogical starting point of reference. Private aspects turned into political matters and identity politics, suppression, 28

See Spigel 1992.

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and exclusion became increasingly subject to public debates.29 At the centre of these events were not only demonstrators on the street but a televisualized culture, although the TV news was predominantly selected, interpreted, commented on, broadcasted and anchored by Protestant, white, heterosexual men. At the beginning of the 1970s and through such communicative constric‐ tions, African-American emancipation, the women’s movement and gay liber‐ ation nevertheless increasingly promoted their social claims to the public. But at the moment they gained public attention, their aims were problematized by TV newscasts: consequently, from the mid-1970s on, the Big Three (ABC, CBS and NBC) broadcast stories on crisis-shaken white men, shattered middle-class families, indebted communities and US society in imbalance. By the end of the decade, a white Evangelical movement had moved to the centre of the political field. TV news reported on and thereby promoted Evangelical pastors into the ranks of nationally-relevant political actors. Around the year 1980, journalistic commentary, influenced by the trope of a crisis in masculinity and by an Evangelical revival, forged the ideal of a specific moral leader which was firmly anchored in the landscape of televi‐ sion evening news and its interpretative schemata. Both of these two deriva‐ tions – fragile masculinity and religious awakening – revolved around white masculine US identity in crisis. The pledge to cope with this allegedly pivotal problem became the legitimizing basis of claims to moral leadership. The first prominent victim of this public change in leadership values was Jimmy Carter. Against the backdrop of the shattered Nixon-figure, Carter had at first been represented in the media as a faithful and trustworthy moral alternative. In addition to his commitment to an Evangelical born again-identity, he embodied, according to the media, a particular ideal of manly meticulousness and was portrayed as rigorous and tough. As the news obsessively reported, he was the first president to walk the entire distance from the Capitol to the White House during his inauguration parade. But that perception of Carter’s leadership did not last; he was perceived as a strong leader only through the first half of his presidency. Additionally, Evangelicals like Jerry Falwell accused Carter of not keeping his commitment to religious faith with the aim of establishing a religious state. Towards the end of the 1970s, Carter’s credi‐ bility as a leader had declined with the public. He was portrayed as an unmanly weakling in the media.30 All of these discourses on faith, belief, virility and strong leadership resonated in an expanding TV landscape. In place of the many political actors who had the opportunity to articulate themselves in the newspaper landscape that had lost ground against television news in the embattled attention 29 30

See Levine 2007. See Krämer 2016.

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economy, all of a sudden by the end of the 1970s, Carter’s presidency appeared to be a concatenation of moments of weakness, if we attach credence to the contemporary media reports attesting Carter a lack of faith and confidence. Against this backdrop, President Carter’s ‘crisis of confi‐ dence’ speech, aired live in July 1979, might be both a symptom and a cata‐ lyst of these changes in terms of the hegemonic demand for a different leadership profile.31 His stranded look, culminating at times in an almost pleading performance at a White House press conference, is a symptomatic expression of the fact that a discursive shift must have by then occurred behind Carter’s back, affecting the leadership ideal.32 Reagan’s press aide Larry Speakes would later declare about the challenge of a White House press conference, “It’s a ritual you have to go through. I think you have to prove your manhood so to speak with the press corps”.33 Viewed from this angle, the previously vague figure of moral leadership – understood as an inevitable political and historical claim – produced Reagan himself as a media event. In the wake of assembling the two strands – re-masculinization and moral awak‐ ening – strong leadership was conventionalized as a value sui generis, and ironically Carter, as its first prominent victim, took an active part in this new creation when he did not tire, after his defeat against Reagan, to point out that his performance would of course have been one of a ‘strong leader’.34 Unchallenged, strong leadership became inseparably tied to virility and central to any political performance. And Evangelical preachers had become authors of policy in the early 1980s not only in this sense of a strong masculinity: They contributed the catchwords for anti-abortion rallies, railed at hom*osexuals, and functioned as sounding boards in the dissemination of a moral agenda. White right-wing preachers introduced the terms morality, nation, struggle, liberty, leadership, family values, endangered childhood, surveillance, security and salvation into the sphere of the political public. While the emancipation movements of the late 1960s – the Civil Rights Movement as well as the women’s and gay liberation movements – had been 31

32

33 34

See ibid. As I have shown, the 39th president (had been) turned into an unfortunate political actor not least by the TV News of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Starting out as a potential saviour in terms of good leadership after Watergate and Vietnam in the mid-1970s, TV-reports began to portray him as a weak leader surrounded by an untrustworthy staff throughout the years 1978 and 1979. In this view, Carters great defeat against Reagan in the 1980 election consequently succeeded a performatively demolished media image. He could not live up to the conservative pattern of moral leadership which was a fusion of virile masculinity and religious credibility, gaining tremendous importance in the economy of attention shaped by contemporary media. Carter pleaded for support and help in the course of this press conference which, of course, was counterintuitive in terms of becoming a moral leader. CBS, Special Report, 25/07/1979, Carter Press Conference. CBS, Evening News, 19/03/1987, Presidential News Conferences. See ABC, Evening News, 05/11/1980, Campaign ’80/Elec.

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countered effectively by the proclamation of crisis aiming at a self-affirma‐ tion of white heterosexual, male, middle-class identity, the bodies of Evangel‐ ical preachers developed into media placed on pedestals in order to join this very hegemonic choir. The immanent interconnection with liberal media and the televised public sphere via the crisis of masculinity – and the discourse on the severe lack of leadership in this shift towards the exclusively white Chris‐ tian and masculinist movement – has not been fully addressed in cultural studies so far. In the course of these events, the preachers managed to be seen as signi‐ fying change and were coded as nationalist symbols of public stability. However, in contrast to the left-wing movements starting in the 1960s, the right-wing revival movement did not insert itself into the media as part of a set of abstract political claims but was presented as a condensation of concrete spiritual needs and wishes. This concretization was embodied by the examples of preacher figures, their speeches, and performances, as I would like to show in the next part of this chapter by focusing on the junction of preacher and politician in contemporary US history.

4. Preachers Born Again in Politics TV preachers had certainly not been able to saturate the entire public imagearena with their moral mantra, their body-political anti-abortion agenda, or hom*ophobic campaigns against same-sex desire through their own media channels and networks alone.35 Their moral agenda became recognizable only through their interplay with the so-called mainstream media stations on a national level. Besides TV coverage, daily and weekly newspapers published articles and reported on marches on Washington, printed pictures on which Evangelical men of faith were able to style themselves as patriots, as faithful representatives and delegates of a Christian majority in the United States. Again, TV reports took up these images valorizing the conveyed messages and elevating them to the rank of important national news. Thus, the relation between preacher figures, visual culture, and moving images evolved inter‐ medially, blurring the lines between secular news, on the one side, and a reli‐ gious sense of mission, on the other. Their iconic position within the visual culture helped Evangelical leader figures to essentialize themselves as well as their revivalist messages and enabled them to set their moral agenda on a national level.

35

See for a more extensive account on the interconnection of Evangelical media forms – Christian university, church service, and preacher figure – with national aired TV networks: Krämer 2015, 11, 195 ff., 222 ff., 259 ff.

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Beyond an idea of a revolutionary change (back) towards the supposed Judeo-Christian foundations of the nation, they rhetorically based their selfimage on arguments drawn from the exemplary values of a representative democracy by accentuating that Christian politicians and preachers would stand and speak for a ‘Moral Majority’ – a cipher manifested in Jerry Falwell’s eponymous organization founded in 1979. The protagonists of this religious movement claimed to represent a majority of ‘totally normal’ and average Americans – men and women – that had allegedly been hit extraordi‐ narily hard by the crises of the 1970s. Ostensibly, those people were suppos‐ edly protesting against the decline in values, lack of morality and oppression, as Evangelical leaders insisted. This majority was seeking the meaning of national identity at the heart of its Christian faith and confidently hoped that only by God’s presence in America could the future be created. The nation‐ alist political ambition of the representatives of the Christian Right derived from these intermingling arguments. They were aimed at defending the inter‐ ests of this storm-tossed crowd. As Jerry Falwell was quoted in the first publi‐ cation of the magazine Moral Majority Report: The 1960’s was known as the decade of civil or racial rights; the 1970’s that of sexual or women’s rights; however the 1980’s will be the battle over religious rights. Probably at no other time in the world’s history have we seen such an outpouring of secular humanism pitted against Christianity, the flesh against the spirit, Satan against God. As Dr. Jerry Falwell has stated, ‘The 1980’s is the Decade of Destiny’.36

Beyond the national and civil rights of believers, the contemporary pioneers of faith in the TV landscape embodied another sacred right. At every avail‐ able opportunity, they announced they would guide the United States as a chosen people back to its divine destiny. This is the above-mentioned iconic embodiment of national and religious leadership by some of the ChristianRight leaders displayed to a broader public by the Washington Post, for instance, in April 1979 after a Washington rally entitled the ‘Clean Up America Rally at the Capitol’.37 The Journalist describes the scene: Pastor of a 16,000-member Baptist church in Lynchburg, Va., and head of a multi‐ million-dollar religious broadcast empire, Falwell was flanked by a handful of conservative congressmen at the noontime rally. Thrusting his large frame before the television cameras, the 45-year-old evangelist vowed to stamp out ‘the national cancers degrading the Republic’ as part of his campaign to ‘Clean Up America’.38 36 37

38

Decade of Destiny. Special Report on Legislative Future. In: Moral Majority Report, December 1979, 3. See Stephanie Mansfield, ‘Clean Up America’ Rally at Capitol. In: Washington Post, 28/04/1979. An Illustration shows: Rev. Jerry Falwell, right, leads flag salute at Capitol. Others are, from left, Rep. Robert Dornan, and Sens. Gordon Humphrey, John Warner, Paul Laxalt and Jesse Helms. Picture was taken by James K. W. Atherton. Ibid.

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The printed image’s outline of the group of preachers with their eyes trained on the capitol was afterwards portrayed and visually represented in other media formats depicting their march on Washington. Since this media event, a wave of reports on these political preachers followed on the national stage.39 Even before this good news about such a patriotic leadership elite found its visualized way into media and politics, the big TV-news stations had reported on a revival of religion of all sorts between 1975 to 1978. Coverage of camp meetings on college campuses and awakening rallies at public places in cities reached TV audiences. Initially, preachers acting as political actors did not appear at the centre of the attention economy in these reports. In late 1979, preachers were moved to the centre of national attention via the TV screens and especially through the coverage of the evening news of ABC, CBS, and NBC, and became the focal point of the religious movement within a short period of time around the turn of the decade. Of course, this is due to the fact that the news stations were already tied into an early stage of a media capi‐ talist attention economy. All of a sudden, Evangelical pastors were in great demand and nearly overnight, and a broad public became familiar with their political opinions on sex, abortion, family values, hom*osexuality, p*rnog‐ raphy and moral leadership. Their statements were constantly cited. This permanent medial murmuring – like an electronic chapel speaking in tongues – had the above-described effect, namely, that the claims of Evangelical spokesmen stressing that they would speak for a growing number of citizens in the country appeared to be true. Moreover, the protagonists of the movement did not hesitate to historicize themselves boldly as ‘mediums’ standing in the great tradition of awakenings in the United States, highlighting their subjective role within a bigger political and religious plan. While formulaically promoting their own example and their personal born-again experiences, they presented their contemporary political actions through biblical narratives and narrations. Thus, acting preacher figures like Jerry Falwell became “the third testament” – to use a term coined by Susan Harding – within the political sphere by performatively translating those stories into political reality.40 However, the medial transposi‐ tion of their embodiments into a representative culture was accomplished by the mainstream news. In the election campaign of 1980, ABC, CBS, and NBC regularly showed political preachers in the daily evening newscasts. When they appeared on screen, those pastors spoke about the past, present and 39

40

Of course, a march on Washington literarily quotes the many marches on Washington people had held before. The act is encoded with civil liberties and political rights in the United States. Susan Harding remarks that pastors like Jerry Falwell inscribed themselves and their personal biographies in bible narratives becoming “a third testament”: Harding, 2000, 28, 91, see fn. 38, 287.

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future of the US nation weaving eschatological narratives into their speeches addressing political questions. They themselves were assigned to the key positions of prophets and chosen leaders. “Take the helm and guide America back to a position of stability and greatness”, as Jerry Falwell, for instance, invited his fellow colleagues in a foreword of a book Richard Viguerie published in 1980 entitled The New Right: We’re Ready to Lead. “Take the helm” refers to Ephesians from the New Testament.41 Quoted by the news with such phrases, the preachers cast themselves as meaningful political actors. The preacher adopted a public role which, before, had at most existed vaguely in the personas of politicians explicitly labelled as religious. Thus, the preacher seized became the ideal politician, the confession to born-again experiences, biblical narratives, and reasons for leadership found their way into political rationalities. Alongside the appearance of the preacher figures in the political landscape presented by mainstream news, the Evangelical movement made attempts to disparage the leadership qualities of others in their own publications. They declared opponents of regular school prayer and supporters of the bodily autonomy of women and abortion rights to be unfaithful weaklings. Thus, their supposed moral agenda matched the ideals of hegemonic masculinity. Hegemony was achieved by the consent of the many while, simultaneously, the leadership ideal was exclusively built upon a new city on a hill and on the wobbly ground of religious confession and beliefs and projected onto some Armageddon soon to come. Thus, the imagery used by Evangelical maga‐ zines and the spokesmen of the movement to discredit, for instance, Jimmy Carter’s leadership reached society through different channels. Discourse fragments were produced and sent to cross over the apparent border towards mainstream news. Two examples show the highly charged nationalist imagery conveyed by the Moral Majority Report on its cover. By using an apocalyptic pictorial language, Carter’s refusal to support school prayer would allegedly cause the collapse of the Capitol, as argued visually on the cover in March 1980.42 Claiming a particular morality, culminating in the school prayer issue, was tied to lacking leadership qualities. In this reading, Carter’s weak leader‐ ship, which was bemoaned from many different sides at that time, did not only lead towards a weaker state but, set against the backdrop of a struggle of good against evil, caused the beginning of an apocalyptic scenario repre‐ sented by the collapse of the parliament building as the ultimate national and civil religious symbol. Another cover portrays the preacher and politician

41

42

Ephesians 6,17: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (King James Version); see also The Future, The Bible and You, Publication of The Old Time Gospel Hour, Dr. Jerry Falwell, Lynchburg, VA 1980, 7. Moral Majority Report 1 (3), 14/03/1980.

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(Falwell on the right, Reagan on the left) closing rank.43 This completed the amalgamation of preacher and politician through the handshake of the two men a few months prior to the elections in November 1980. As I have argued before, such images were taken up by other papers and magazines, TV news and mainstream media in general, which strengthened their performative outreach. However, the obsession with Washington that Evangelical politicians like Jerry Falwell had developed by the turn of the decade from the 1970s to the 1980s is not an expression of conventional right-wing politics, being tradition‐ ally sceptical of federalist government in the United States as such. This becomes clear when considering the context of the far right’s fundamental distrust of federal politics, especially when movements from the South are involved, as in the case of the Tea Party Movement in recent years.44 In contrast, the struggle appeared not to be fought against the government in Washington but gained momentum for Evangelical preachers as a fight geared towards taking over the leadership in the nation’s capital in 1981. This is why they fought for a white male nationalist awakening in Washington, D.C. As the chosen people, the US nation should enter the decade of destiny. This political goal became the strongest line in the spectrum of genealogical fundamentalism. But even more importantly, the television media system in which the postmodern fundamentalists emerged was an expanding structure, aiming at increasing influence as a whole. In it, Evangelicals focused on the missionary goals within nationalism since the second half of the 1970s. Thus, the nexus of strength in leadership, morality, and power in Washington, D.C. appeared as a triad on the rise and as the counterpart to the collapsing Capitol. The Washington Post image, depicting the leading figures of the Christian Right gazing toward the façade of the parliament and the collapse of the Capitol building depicted in the cover of the Moral Majority Report one year later, are the two sides of the medal coined by traveling images and processes of mutual exchanges of signifiers among Evangelical publications and main‐ stream news iterated, inscribed, and reiterated performatively, to put it in terms of Judith Butler’s concept. The third dimension is the closing of ranks between preacher and politician, Falwell and Reagan, displayed in the second Moral Majority Report cover image while they were shaking hands and presented to a broad public. On the basis of such performances, Evangelical preachers became visible on the political scene. Occasionally, they appeared carrying an offertory, sometimes as spiritual entertainers, but most effectively they entered the public media to be themselves used as media, embodied in the corpus of the 43 44

Moral Majority Report 1 (10) 30/07/1980. See Lepore 2010.

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politician in the course of the 1980s. A remarkable, extremely productive portion of the rise and the unexpected success of media pastors in politics is due to the attempts of liberal journalists to prepare, air, and place extra critical reports on the phenomenon. By using illustrations of the problematized char‐ acters and Christian Right leaders, they introduced them to a broad public. But the assumption was wrong – probably then as it is now (if the obsessive coverage of every 140 characters Donald Trump or his team tweets is intended to enlighten people and not just an inevitable part of a capitalist media economy capitalizing on attention) – that journalists could succeed at uncov‐ ering morale double standards among Evangelical politicians or at making remarkably smart critiques of their religious opponents. Contrary to the jour‐ nalists’ intentions, this – as we have seen in the course of the past election – fuelled and strengthened the media performance of the populist preacher figure. In the 1980s the support of school prayers, agitation against gays after (and before) the HIV epidemic became a discursive factor in moral debates, and the desire for federal funding of segregated and racist schools, campaigns against abortion, feminist or gay activists’ efforts against gender discrimina‐ tion and black activism against structural racism were of course reasons enough for liberal journalists to file argumentative cases against the agenda of the Right. But even earlier, mainstream journalism had already introduced preachers to the evening news by its well-intentioned efforts to save the allegedly ultimately modern separation of religion and politics. From this unhoped-for platform, the preachers’ messages began to spread. Convinced of the vigour of the constitutionally guaranteed separation of church and state, liberal journalists seemed to be so sure about their duty in the production of public opinion via the media system that they were astonished to learn that Christian activists argued it was religion the Founding Fathers aimed at protecting from being eradicated by a secular state when writing the stipula‐ tion on religious freedom into the document. Journalists reported on what they considered to be a complete misinterpretation (fake news!). They reported that those preachers aimed at the re-Christianization, re-masculiniza‐ tion, and that they were up against Christian underpinnings in education, society, and family orderings which these Christians wanted to defend against secularism. Within an expanding ‘attention economy’, they were feeding the claim for moral leadership via a media system on the move by circulating those statements and discourses. Then, that pivotal day at the end of March 1981, after assassin John Hinckley had already been arrested, media discourse added a new spin on this contemporary history on masculinity, leadership and born-again identity in politics which did not need any Evangelical preacher to perform but which inaugurated the new president Ronald Reagan in a new media landscape configured according to the new version of moral leadership.

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5. Conclusion: Tuning in the Moral Leader’s Game The expanding television culture of the early 1980s paused for the blink of an eye at the very moment when the message of the shots at Reagan reached the studios. Later, the assassin put on record that he had been obsessed with a movie scene from Taxi Driver, a film featuring young actress Jodie Foster, wherein a presidential candidate was shot. Capturing on its cover the moment when a bullet hit the president’s body through an image based on a photo taken at the scene a few days after the assassination attempt, TIME magazine would headline it as, ‘A Moment of Madness’. And, of course, there could have been a different rationality guiding the interpretations of the things happening. The interpretative approach was configured before, but the image chosen deliberately depicted exactly when the president’s body was struck. The space where the truth about this ‘Moment of Madness’ was constituted, was the mainstream news. However, mastering the crisis as a crisis of masculinity intermingling with economic topoi was due to the revivalist discourses that the media already adopted in the course of the coverage on the assassination attempt. Moral masculinity incarnated moral leadership and vice versa in the 1980s through the body of the President via mainstream news reports on the assassination attempt and its consequences, as I sketched out in the beginning of this article. Against the backdrop of the above-described discourse shift, Reagan achieved his credibility as a preacher of all sorts of political visions on small govern‐ ment, arms build-up, the expensive Star Wars programme (SDI) and cuts to welfare spending, not only by convincing his audience from a speaker’s desk but from a political pulpit with a live and medially coded born-again experi‐ ence on his side which was reinforced by the many times the attack on him circulated through media coverage and journalists felt they had no other choice but cite and discuss the event. Surviving the assassination attempt live on television, Ronald Reagan became a moral leader. The performativity of the occurrences had such a vigorous effect on the political reality because Reagan stood beyond criticism at the centre of a nationalist system neatly divided again into the two spheres of good and evil after the assault. In partic‐ ular, the born-again revival movement conveyed by the media coincided with a discourse of crisis in masculinity. In that sense, the man was born again in politics – a new form of politics that preachers like Jerry Falwell could not have dreamed of when they first came up with the idea in 1979 to predict a ‘Decade of Destiny’ for the approaching 1980s. The crisis and the revival had become discursive strands that had spawned the persona of Reagan just as much as liberal journalists who were critical about the return of religion in politics but continuously demanded strong leadership to cope with the supposed crisis after and before the occurrences in 1981.

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“You know what the problem is with this? Tom didn’t see Obama come […]”, Mary Edsall told me one day in late 2009 after the first black president had entered the White House, while she took Building Red America: The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Permanent Power, a book her husband had published in 2006 from the shelf.45 Thus, the journalist was probably right in diagnosing an enduring right turn, even though he might have located an different genealogical origin to this evolution than I would suggest.46 If we take the preacher figure as a conservative and politically tremendously successful agent in contemporary history seriously, and if we take the analysis one step further back to political Evangelicalism and masculinity implemented via media discourse in the years before Reagan took office, we might come to the conclusion that ‘Red America’ had indeed been built, albeit much earlier in contemporary history. And it was built by them attracting the attention, friendly and unfriendly, of mainstream news. In this view, current proponents of moral leaders are ordinary figures among others in this tableau made of whiteness, right-wing faith and manhood. And they still face an opposition which leads to favourable depictions in mainstream journalism within a fatal media capitalist setting unable to reflect on its polit‐ ical impact. At least it seems as if media capitalism with its terms and condi‐ tions in the attention economy appears to encourage reporters to promote populist leaders – then and now. This might be a surprising conclusion to a chapter on masculinity, religion and politics in the United States, but it appar‐ ently is of utmost importance since we have no clue how to get out of this. What if historians will one day have to go back to the late 1970s to find the genealogical reference point for the furious shape moral leaders as political preachers have enduringly taken on in 2016 and beyond? Bibliography Agamben, Giorgio (2009): What is an Apparatus? In: Hamacher, Werner (ed.): What is an Apparatus? And Other Essays. Stanford: Stanford University Press 2009, 1-24. Boyd, Stephen B. / Longwood, W. Merle / Muesse, Mark W. (eds) (1996): Redeeming Men: Religion and Masculinities. Louisville: Westminster Press.

45 46

Edsall 2006. Perhaps some of Edsall’s contemporary scepticism was tied too closely to the imme‐ diate experience of George W. Bush’s government, particularly since, with Chain Reaction, the Washington Post reporter had already successfully contributed to a better understanding of what the neoliberal shift of the 1980s meant to different groups in the United States one and a half decades earlier. See Edsall/Edsall 1992.

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Coates, Ta-Nehisi (2017): The First White President. The Foundation of Donald Trump’s Presidency is the Negation of Barack Obama’s Legacy (October). In: The Atlantic, URL: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar chive/2017/10/the-first-white-president-ta-nehisi-coates/537909/ [Accessed: 05/06/2018]. Connell, Raewyn (1995): Masculinities. Cambridge: Allen & Unwin. Edsall, Thomas B. / Edsall, Mary D. (1992): Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics. New York: Norton & Company. Edsall, Thomas B. (2006): Building Red America. The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Permanent Power. New York: Basic Books. Eisenstadt, Shmuel N. (2000): Multiple Modernities. In: Daedalus 129 (1), 1-29. Foucault, Michel (1999): Le jeu de Michel Foucault. In: Michel Foucault. Dits et écrits. Vol. 3 1976-1979. Edited by Daniel Defert and François Ewald. Paris: Gallimard, 298-329. Hall, Donald (ed.) (1994): Muscular Christianity. Embodying the Victorian Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hannig, Nicolai (2010): Die Religion der Öffentlichkeit. Medien, Religion und Kirche in der Bundesrepublik 1945-1980. Göttingen: Wallstein. Harding, Susan (2000): The Book of Jerry Falwell. Fundamentalist Language and Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Ignatiev, Noel (1995): How the Irish Became White. New York: Routledge. Jewett, Robert / Wangerin, Ole (2008): Mission and Menace. Four Centuries of American Religious Zeal. Augsburg: Fortress Publ. Kimmel, Michael S. (1996): Manhood in America. A Cultural History. New York: Free Press. Krämer, Felix (2009): Playboy tells his Story. Geschichte eines Krisen‐ szenarios um die hegemoniale US-Männlichkeit der 1970er Jahre. In: Feministische Studien. Zeitschrift für interdisziplinäre Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung 27 (1), 83-96. Krämer, Felix / Mackert, Nina (2010): Wenn Subjekte die Krise bekommen. Hegemonie, Performanz und Wandel am Beispiel einer Geschichte moderner Männlichkeit. In: Landwehr, Achim (ed.): Diskursiver Wandel. Wiesbaden: Springer, 265-279. Krämer, Felix (2015): Moral Leaders. Medien, Gender und Glaube in den USA der 1970er und 1980er Jahre. Bielefeld: transcript.

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Krämer, Felix (2016): Der Fall Carter. Das Scheitern eines US-Präsidenten in den Fernsehnachrichten zwischen 1975 und 1981. In: WerkstattGeschichte 71, 63-81. Lepore, Jill (2010): The Whites of Their Eyes. The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Levine, Elena (2007): Wallowing in Sex. The New Sexual Culture of 1970s American Television. Durham: Duke University Press. Mannion, Gerard (2017): Religion and the Trump Administration. Published on 26th January 2017. URL: https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/essays/re ligion-and-the-trump-administration [Accessed: 04/03/2017]. Mosse, George L. (1996): The Image of Man. The Creation of Modern Masculinity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Putney, Clifford (2001): Muscular Christianity. Manhood and Sports in Protestant America, 1880-1920. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Robinson, Sally (2000): Marked Men. White Masculinity in Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press. Roediger, David R. (1991): The Wages of Whiteness. Race and the Making of the American Working Class. London. Spigel, Lynn (1992): Make Room of TV. Television and the Family Ideal of Postwar America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Urbinati, Nadia (1998): The Souths of Antonio Gramsci and the Concept of Hegemony. In: Schneider, Jane (ed.): Italy’s “Southern Question”. Orien‐ talism in One Country. Oxford: Berg Press, 135-156. Viguerie, Richard A. (1980): The New Right. We’re Ready to Lead. Viguerie Co. Werner, Yvonne Maria (ed.) (2011): Christian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Leuven: Leuven University Press.

Feminization or (Re-)Masculinization of Religion in Contemporary Germany: A Critical Review of the ALLBUS 2012 Study1 Friederike Benthaus-Apel 1. Empirical Research on the Connection between Religion and Gender: The Religion and Gender Project This article presents findings from the research project Religion and Gender, an interdisciplinary study, through the perspective of the sociology of religion and gender studies.2 The aim of this project was to understand current processes of ascription and self-ascription in terms of the social construction of gender and the processes of endowing life with meaning.3 As one dimen‐ sion of the larger question, the study focused on how a specifically religious – and, in this case, Christian – orientation shaped the personal construction of meaning and how this related to social constructions of femininity and masculinity. To explore this matter, the project utilized narrative interviews to investigate whether and how the relationship between gender and the construction of meaning manifested itself in the life histories of Protestantsocialized men and women. In terms of the latter, the study paid special atten‐ tion to the greater religiosity and church involvement of women, a gender gap frequently discussed in the field of the sociology of religion. In this article, the analysis also explores this gender gap and investigates the interrelation‐ ship between religion and gender in terms of gender roles.4 The interdisci‐ plinary study examined the extent to which the gender gap of women’s 1

2

3 4

ALLBUS was a social survey of trends in attitudes, behaviour, and societal change in the Federal Republic of Germany 2012. Interviewees were people of in Western and Eastern Germany who resided in private households and were born before 1st January 1994. The questionnaires include twelve main topics. We analyzed the questions on ‘religion and world view’ and ‘family and changing gender roles IV (ISSP)’ as well as ALLBUS-Demography. The project was carried out as a collaboration between the Comenius Institute in Münster and the Evangelische Hochschule Rheinland-Westfalen-Lippe. In the qualita‐ tive part of the study, twelve interviews about life history were conducted with Protes‐ tant-socialized and/or -committed men and women on questions of the constitution of life’s meaning. This part of the research took place at the Comenius Institute and was undertaken by Prof. Dr. Sabine Grenz and Dr. Albrecht Schöll. The quantitative part was undertaken by Veronika Eufinger, M.A. (Ruhr Universität Bochum) and the author. Benthaus-Apel et al. 2017, 21ff. See Section 2 for an explanation of the approach taken towards gender roles.

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greater religiosity, spirituality, church involvement and religiously shaped worldview related to gender roles. Furthermore, the project sought to under‐ stand the peculiarities of this religiosity and how those who participated in this study understood the meaning of their lives through their gendered expe‐ rience, both in terms of specifically female or male dimensions of gender and through the adoption of specific gender norms.5 It drew here on data from the Allgemeine Bevölkerungsumfrage (ALLBUS) of 2012, a general survey of the population, for this analysis.6 The following article will first identify the point of departure for research focusing on the question of the invisible religion of unchurched men (1.1). Section 1.2 explores the feminization of religiosity and considers how such a thesis relates to gender roles. Section 2 addresses the explanatory contribution of gender roles for the analysis of religion: After explaining the gender-role orientations within the German resident population in 2012 and offering a socio-structural explanation for this (2.1 and 2.2), gender roles are discussed as an explanatory variable for understanding religiosity, spirituality, church involvement (2.3) and religious worldview (2.4). The conclusion discusses the empirical results regarding the thesis of the feminization of religiosity and answers the question of the (re-)masculinization of religiosity (3). 1.1 Are Men Religiously “Tone-Deaf”? The Question of the Invisibility of Unchurched Men as the Starting Point of the Research Project The focus of this project on religion and gender arose in connection with the study Was Männern Sinn gibt: Leben zwischen Welt und Gegenwelt.7 The Men’s Ministries of the Protestant and Catholic Churches (Männerar‐ beitsstellen der katholischen und evangelischen Kirche) in Germany commis‐ sioned this study, which the Research Institute for Contemporary Religious Culture (Institut zur Erforschung der religiösen Gegenwartskultur) at the University of Bayreuth conducted.8 The point of departure of this work was the observation that men were less frequently involved in New Religious Movements than women were. The study, originally commissioned by the churches and entitled Die unsichtbare Religion kirchenferner Männer (The Invisible Religion of Unchurched Men), posed the question of, “[…] how men relate to the subject of religion”, going on to concede that this “did not refer to the relatively rare type of male lay Christians involved in the church, 5

6 7 8

In the qualitative interviews it was possible to take into account different sexual orien‐ tations; in the secondary analytical analysis of the data from the ALLBUS 2012, gender was operationalized as affiliated with the gender of ‘man’ or ‘woman’. ALLBUS 2012. Engelbrech/Rosowski 2007. See Bochinger 2007.

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but rather unchurched ‘ordinary’ people”.9 Accordingly, the authors went on to ask if the old cliché was correct, that men tend to be “religiously tonedeaf”. The study pursued this question using the approaches of the sociology of knowledge and the sociology of religion. The findings showed three typical patterns of how men construct meaning: Men describe meaning through what they ‘experience’,10 by means of ‘earned’ meaning,11 or as meaning that ‘happens’.12 Moreover, the researchers explored how such constructions of meaning were differently embedded in cosmological and ethical concepts. Far-reaching conclusions arose from the work influencing the Protestant Church’s current conception of working with men: In attempting to enter a discussion with men about the values that determine life, it becomes clear that for men, ‘meaning’ is established first and foremost through their own making and doing. For example, men agree with the statement that meaning comes about when someone endows something with meaning himself. They are proud of what they have achieved themselves, which they experience as meaningful. […] While men today evaluate the significance of the church in their everyday lives more positively than previously and feel connected to the church in a manner similar to women, the vast majority of men nonetheless remain critically distant to the church. […]. Even today the church is still not experienced as a place in which the male need for self-determination is given sufficient space.13

Yet, it is doubtful whether these statements, made by men, can be seen as typically male. Rather, the study by Engelbrecht and Rosowski on typically male forms of dealing with religion and church must be challenged for at least two reasons: First, a proper methodological approach to such a population would require a female control group. It could be presumed, for example, that both men and women endow their own lives with meaning. Second, state‐ ments by men and women cannot be simply described as typically ‘male’ or ‘female’; rather, it is necessary to determine what comprises typically ‘female’ or ‘male’ patterns of interpreting meaning.14 The project Religion and Gender addresses these gaps in the research: the present article proceeds from an understanding of ‘gender’ as a social 9 10 11 12

13 14

Engelbrecht/Rosowski 2007, 9 (own translation). ‘Experienced’ meaning could, for example, involve leisure activities, which create meaning directly in themselves. ‘Earned’ meaning refers to professional or personal successes ‘earned’ oneself. Meaning that ‘happened’ refers to such things as overcoming a serious illness, since the illness is understood as something that ‘happened’, but overcoming it is what creates meaning. Männerarbeit in der EKD 2011, 14 (own translation). Engelbrecht and Rosowski drew attention to this open research question noting that only, “a continuing comparative analysis of the texts by men undertaken here with our interview material with women, generated in the same way […] would make clear the gender-typical peculiarities of the interpretation of religious meaning”, Engelbrecht/ Rosowski 2007, 173 (own translation).

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construction, i.e. what is understood by ‘female’ or ‘male’, respectively, is subject to social processes of negotiating gender orders within a social situa‐ tion that has to be specified in a historical and social-cultural perspective. The project Religion and Gender explores this matter through qualitative and quantitative sampling methods. Thus, the project’s interest is to explore whether and to what extent typical patterns can be observed between religious interpretations of meaning and constructions of gender. The quantitative part of this project examines the greater religiosity of women, with particular interest to the gender gap ascertained in research in the field of the sociology of religion. In addition, the study took into account the question of whether one can speak of a progressive feminization of religiosity and the related matter of its re-masculinization. 1.2 Feminization or (Re-)Masculinization of Religiosity? The statement that women are more religious than men is widely accepted into the sociology of religion.15 Current studies show that the gender gap, which points to greater church involvement and a more pronounced reli‐ giosity among women, exists in most cultures where Christianity has a stronger public attraction among the population in Europe.16 At the same time, these studies point out the complexity of explaining this gender gap,17 and their chosen explanatory models are diverse drawing upon sociological, social-psychological, and biological approaches to examining this question. In research within the fields of the history of religion and theology, researchers often attribute the gender gap of women’s greater church involve‐ ment and religiosity to the feminization of religiosity.18 Religiosity relies on this topos to explain women’s increased presence in the 19th century in the public and institutional forms of religious life within the realm of Christian cultures. In this process, ‘piety’ becomes stylized as an ‘integral component of femininity’.19 Schneider summarizes the various interpretative dimensions of the thesis of a feminization of religiosity, as discussed in the research as follows: As a reminder, it should be noted once again what is variously understood by ‘femi‐ nization’: The recoding of religion as feminine, an autonomous interpretation of faith by women, a process of the retreat of men from the churchly space, an above average presence of women in churchly life. Such tendencies are supposedly mani‐ fested as a ‘feminization of religious personnel’; as a ‘feminization of the faithful’, 15 16 17 18 19

See Inglehart/Norris 2003. See Klein et al. 2017. See Voas et al. 2013. See Olenhusen 2000; Scheepers 2011; Wieser 2015. See Borutta 2001.

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that is to say, those participating in the churchly-religious offerings; as a ‘feminiza‐ tion of piety’; and as a ‘feminization of religious discourse’, that is to say in the discursive ascription of religiosity/piety to the female gender.20

In current studies on the gender gap conducted in the field of the sociology of religion, two aspects of the feminization thesis attract particular attention: First, the gender gap, as it is used here, refers to the gap or disparity between the genus groups of men and women in church participation and in their representation in church leadership.21 This perspective aims at investigating the discrimination against women within society. In this regard, the thesis of the feminization of religiosity focusses on questions of injustice, such as, for example, the lower representation and participation of women in church lead‐ ership and the underrepresented engagement of feminist theological insights in formulating theological discourse and church dogma.22 These studies explore the shifting of gender relations in terms of increasing gender equality and investigate whether religious content is feminized or masculinized.23 Secondly, current research on the gender gap in Western industrial societies examines the greater religiosity and church involvement of women in terms of the decreasing importance of religion and the church.24 These analyses concentrate predominantly on the historical, social, cultural and religious implications mentioned above, which arose because of the close interconnect‐ edness between the Christian religion and gender relations since the late 18th century. The development of the modern bourgeois gender order promoted gender-typical jurisdictions, which bound femininity, on the one hand, to the private and familial sphere of life, and masculinity, on the other, to the public, political, and employment-related sphere of life. Karin Hausen has described this as the origin of the typically bourgeois gender character. Femininity, considered from this vantage point, became associated with the ascription of heightened emotionality, whereas masculinity was characterized by height‐ ened rationality.25 This thesis of the origins of typically bourgeois gender characteristics incorporate the practical aspects of everyday life.26 Neverthe‐ less, the social ascription which attributes typical gender norms to women and 20 21

22 23 24 25 26

Schneider 2016, 12 (own translation). In both theory and empirical evidence, studies of gender focus – according to the crit‐ ical objection by Connell – on gender difference, rather than on systematically directing attention towards the similarities between the genders. Connell’s criticism shows the necessity of thoroughly examining the question of how the ‘school of thought’ of the production of gender differences – inherent in the theoretical under‐ standing of gender as a social-cultural category of difference – is pertinent to specific lines of questioning, see Connell 2013. See Scheepers 2011, 4/5. See Studienzentrum der EKD für Genderfragen 2015. See Bergelt 2017; Klein et al. 2017; Voas et al. 2013; Voicu 2009. See Hausen 2012, 43. See Habermas 2000.

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men finds its basis in how civil gender roles have developed. According to this process, the ascription and self-ascription of religiosity to women relates to a presumption of their heightened emotionality.27 The analysis below, based on the data of the ALLBUS 2012, addresses this interpretation of the feminization of religiosity.28 The goal of this inquiry is to empirically demonstrate how gender-role orientations related to the adult resi‐ dential population in Germany in 2012. Furthermore, the study explores whether and how gender-role orientations correspond to this traditional model, which relies on the complementarity of ‘female’ housework and ‘male’ gainful work. Does such a complementary model of gender roles, dominant in an earlier era, still exist in current society? And, if so, what kind of public agreement exists in terms of this gender-role orientation? Are men and women in equal agreement? Does this traditional gender-role orientation, based on complementarity, exhibit a significant connection to church involve‐ ment, religiosity, spirituality, and religious worldview? Can the examination of gender-role orientation thus contribute to explaining the greater religiosity of women? Or are these initial signs of a remasculinization of religiosity which have to be taken into account in this regard? On the basis of such questions, the study interprets the empirical results of ALLBUS 2012, with respect to the thesis of the feminization of religiosity, with caution. The analysis of developments related to a feminization of reli‐ gion within a changing society cannot be carried out only on the basis of such cross-sectional data as those collected in that study. In this regard, the study examines from a quantitative point of view the profile of women’s selfassessment with respect to religiosity, spirituality, churchliness and religious worldview. The greater self-assessment in these dimensions are interpreted as an allusion of the feminization of the Christian religion.29

2. The Plurality of Gender-Role Orientation and its Interaction with the Christian Religion Gender roles express overall social, gender-typical behavioural expectations at the macro-level, as well as personally adopted patterns of gender-typical behaviour, at the micro-level.30 Thus, attitudes about gender roles, which 27 28 29

30

See Borutta 2001 and Blaschke 2017. In 2012, the Allgemeine Bevölkerungsumfrage in 2012 included extensive questions on the subjects of religion and worldview as well as on gender roles. Thus, the study understands gender as a socio-cultural category that generates social order and as a structural category that expresses social difference. In keeping with this in the empirical analysis, gender is operationalized by us as gender affiliation and gender role. See Becher/El-Menour 2014, 17.

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reflect as gender-role orientation the personal attitudes of men and women with respect to their normative ideas about the allocation of job and family responsibilities, express the current gender order. How the demands of job and family can be managed within a marriage or partnership in a manner consistent with the ideal of gender equality constitutes a part of the current social and political debates. In this context, a stronger normative approval of greater gender equality can be ascertained as well as a socio-political paradigm shift which Ostner has described as a politics of de-familialization.31 It can be expected that, alongside these developments, traditional gender-role orientations disintegrate and new patterns of gender roles emerge. Added to this is the fact that differing models of gender-role orientation distinguished the German Democratic Republic (DDR) from the Federal Republic of Germany (BRD), disparities which until today shape the attitudes of the population toward the compatibility of job and family for women and men. The study turns first to an empirical investigation of gender-role orientation within the Federal Republic of Germany in terms of its current residential population, approaching these data in regards to gender affiliation as well as to differences between the former East and West Germany. Second, it explores connections between gender-role orientations in East and West Germany in terms of religiosity, church involvement and worldview, bearing in mind that the connection between gender-role orientation and (Christian) religion is interdependent and the direction of the connection is not unam‐ biguous. 2.1 Three Patterns of Gender-Role Orientation The ALLBUS 2012 contains two sets of questions on the compatibility of job and family. One of these points to a factor analysis for typical patterns of gender-role orientation. This factor analysis yielded three patterns of genderrole orientation. This factor analysis yielded three patterns of gender-role orientation (see Table 1). Factor one demonstrates an egalitarian/performance-oriented gender-role orientation. Here, the central variables are attitudes viewing the compatibility of job and family responsibility positively, for both the mother and the father. The roles of mother and father are not viewed as impaired by paid work. On the contrary, the mother’s profession is presumed to be a positive experience for the child’s development. This factor favours the full-time employment of both parents and thus corresponds to the performance requirements of the classical normal employment biography for both parents.

31

See Ostner 2008.

92

FRIEDERIKE BENTHAUS-APEL Factors of Gender-Role Orientation egalitarian/ part-time-oriented/ performanceegalitarian oriented

fractured/ complementary

A working woman is also a good mother Parents should work full-time and share the housework A working man can also be a good father

,815

A working mother is good for the child The man earns the money, while the household and care of the children are solely the woman’s responsibility Both parents work, household and children are solely the woman’s responsibility A man working full-time is a poor father

,572

-,549

-,361

,792

A child suffers when the mother works Parents should work part-time and share the housework and child care The man can also take responsibility for house‐ hold and children

-,509

32

Cronbachs α

-,315

,695 ,729

,758 ,484

,512 ,699

,816

,743

,516

-,316

,262

,717

Coefficients less than.300 were discarded.

Table 1: Structure Matrix of Gender Role Orientation in Split 2 (Source: ALLBUS 2012; own calculations, see Benthaus-Apel et al. 2017, 242).

Due to its constitutive view that parents should work part-time and share the household responsibilities, factor two is referred to as a part-timeoriented/egalitarian gender-role orientation. This factor most strongly expresses a gender-neutral allocation of work reflecting a transformation in the perception of the father’s role: the full-time employment of the father is seen as negative for the child, and the father’s help in the household and in caring for the child is given special emphasis. This orientation points to a transformation in the perception of the male gender role. This new model of gender roles expresses attitudes discussed in social discourse about the trans‐ formation of gender roles under the catchphrase of the new father,33 which connotes a positive view of the father’s helping role in terms of the household and in taking care of children. In addition, this model of gender-role orienta‐ tion presumes that the mother works outside the home. The third factor expresses a gender-role orientation that is fractured/ complementary. The two central variables here show, on the one hand, an acceptance of the traditional role of the father as employed and the mother as responsible for the household and family basing themselves on the traditional complementary orientation. But such a complementary gender-role orienta‐ 32

33

While factors one and three have acceptable internal consistencies, Cronbach’s α for factor two is actually unacceptable for further interpretations due to the limited sample number. See Gesterkamp 2007; Volz/Zulehner 2009.

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tion appears, on the other hand, to be fractured because the mother is never‐ theless expected to have a job even with unchanged responsibility for household and family even though her working is seen as negative for the child’s well-being. The results of the factor analysis show that not two but three gender roles can be categorized, which points to a distinct plurality of gender roles. 2.2 Determinants of Gender-Role Orientations Table 2 shows the results of a regression analysis, in which the three genderrole orientations are considered as dependent variables. For the overall sample it can be seen that the egalitarian/performance-oriented gender-role orientation can be explained by patterns of socialization in East Germany, by female gender, and by higher age. Gender-Role Orientation egalitarian/ performance-oriented Overall

West

East

Overall

-,150***

-,151**

-,077**

-,118**

-,217***

East/West

-,341*** Gender -,139*** (Woman/Man) Year of Birth -,116*** Education Income

part-time-oriented/ egalitarian West

fractured/ complementary East

West

East

,176***

,182***

,164***

-,149***

-,173***

-,227***

-,243***

-,121***

-,145***

,220

,200

Overall ,246***

,117*** -,094*

0,85* -,137**

R2 ,155 ,033 ,063 ,017 ,006 ,024 Linear regression; standardized Beta-coefficients. Levels of significance: * = p < 0,05; ** = p < 0,01; *** = p < 0,001.

-,199*** ,073

Table 2: Regression Analyses: Gender-Role Orientation as Dependent Variable (Source: ALLBUS 2012; own calculations, see Benthaus-Apel et al. 2017, 246).

The fractured/complementary gender-role orientation, in contrast, is deter‐ mined by socialization in West Germany, by higher age, and by male gender. In addition, the fractured/complementary orientation points to lower educa‐ tional level and lower income. In the overall sample, the new pattern of the egalitarian/part-time-oriented gender-role orientation is explained by social‐ ization in West Germany and by female gender. If the calculations are considered separately, according to differences between East and West,34 an egalitarian/performance-oriented gender-role orientation emerges which displays the same determinants in East and West Germany. In contrast, the egalitarian/part-time-oriented gender-role orienta‐ 34

The question asked was where the respondents had spent the bulk of their childhoods, and hence, their socialization in East or West Germany.

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tion in the West points to a higher educational level, whereas in the East it correlates to female gender and lower income. The complementary/fractured gender-role orientation in the West, points to the influence of male gender, higher age, lower income, and a lower educational level. In East Germany, in contrast, only the male gender role and a lower educational level contribute to explaining the fractured/complementary gender-role orientation. These results confirm the existence of the various gender-role orientations in the old and new German states as well as the preference for an egalitarian/ performance-oriented gender role among women and a complementarity model or orientation among men. The part-time/egalitarian gender-role orien‐ tation is in West Germany, in contrast, part of a gender model reflecting more highly educated persons, regardless of their gender affiliation, whereas in East Germany this role orientation is explained more by the female gender and economic reasons, namely, a lower income. The following subchapter explores whether there are connections between the three gender-role orienta‐ tions and religiosity, spirituality, church involvement, and worldview. 2.3 Gender-Role Orientations as Determinants of Religiosity,35 Spirituality, and Church Involvement36 Table 3 points to the results for religiosity showing that in the overall sample religiosity is explained above all through the factors of socialization in the West, female gender, higher age and a fractured/complementary gender-role orientation. Income has a small positive influence, whereas a part-time/egali‐ tarian gender-role orientation exhibits a slightly negative influence on reli‐ giosity. If one looks solely at the West German sample, the question of religiosity points not only to the influence of the female gender and higher age, but also to a fractured/complementary gender-role orientation, whereas a part-timeoriented/egalitarian gender-role orientation once again has a slightly negative effect on religiosity. In the East German sample, in contrast, the fracturedcomplementary gender-role orientation has the strongest influence on reli‐ giosity, followed by female gender and higher age. 35 36

Religiosity and spirituality were ascertained by the ALLBUS through the question of self-assessment as ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’ on a ten-point scale. Church involvement is the expression of an index consisting of a point system that rates church involvement on a scale of 0 to 10, taking into consideration the frequency of church attendance, other church activities, trust in the Protestant or Catholic churches as well as the desire for a church funeral and having had a church wedding (or having the desire for one). For participation in public church activities and private practices 0 to 2 points were given; for participation in (or a desire for) church rites of passage as well as trust in the institutions 0 or 1 points were given, see Benthaus-Apel et al. 2017, 227.

95

FEMINIZATION OR (RE-)MASCULINIZATION OF RELIGION Religion (dependent variable) Religiosity Overall East/West Gender (Woman/Man) Year of Birth

Spirituality East

-,148***

-,171***

-,130**

-,085**

-,111**

-,147***

-,167***

-,096*

,074*

,079*

,290***

Overall

Church involvement

West

West

Overall

West

East

,320***

,199***

Educational Level Income ,074** Egalitarian/ performanceoriented GRO Part-timeoriented/ -,067* egalitarian GRO Fractured-comple‐ ,139*** mentary GRO

East

-,112*** -,143*** -,152*** -,195*** ,139**

,092**

,178***

,208***

,149**

-,059*

-,105**

,105***

,076**

,217***

,186

,093

,051

-,154**

-,098** ,118**

,214***

R2 ,156 ,074 ,059 ,051 ,017 Linear regression; standardized Beta coefficients. Levels of significance: * = p < 0,05; ** = p < 0,01; *** = p < 0,001.

,041

Table 3: Regression Analyses: Gender-Role Orientation as Independent Variable (Source: ALLBUS 2012; own calculations, see Benthaus-Apel et al. 2017, 249).

In the overall sample, spirituality is determined by forms of socialization in West Germany. Additionally, female gender and younger age contribute to explaining a self-assessment as spiritual in the overall sample. The genderrole orientations have no influence here. If one looks solely at the West German sample, female gender and young age determine, once again, a selfassessment as spiritual, whereas in the East German sample a higher educa‐ tional level and the rejection of an egalitarian/performance-oriented genderrole orientation contribute to this self-assessment. In the overall sample, church involvement on the other hand is determined by socialization in West Germany, female gender, higher age, higher income and (slight) rejection of a part-time/egalitarian gender-role orientation. Furthermore, East-West differences are discernible also with respect to levels of church involvement: in the West German sample this is explained by those same features that apply to the overall sample. In contrast, for persons social‐ ized in the East, on the other hand, a complementary/fractured gender-role orientation and (higher) income contribute to helping explain levels of church involvement. The results show that the self-assessment as religious and spiritual as well as levels of church involvement point to clearly discernible differences between West and East Germany. In the overall sample, female gender is an important feature explaining religiosity, spirituality and church involvement in each case. This confirms the gender gap of a greater religiosity of women. A fractured/complementary gender-role orientation and a rejection of an egal‐

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itarian/performance-oriented gender-role orientation contribute noticeably to religiosity and church involvement in both the overall sample and the West German sample. In contrast, for those socialized in East Germany, the rejec‐ tion of an egalitarian/performance-oriented gender-role orientation is a striking feature that explains a self-assessment as spiritual. On the basis of this research, it is now possible to show how gender and gender-role orientation affect religiosity, spirituality, and church involvement. The results show that female gender and age have a noticeably stronger influ‐ ence on religiosity, spirituality, and church involvement than the gender-role orientation. Yet, fractured/complementary gender-role orientation also emerges as an important feature that contributes to explaining a religious worldview. 2.4 Gender-Role Orientations as Determinants of Worldviews The ALLBUS 2012 permits the construction of three types of worldview: a Christian-churchly worldview, an anomic worldview, and a secular, selfreliant worldview.37 The examination points out that gender-role orientation can explain world‐ view (see Table 4). In the overall sample a Christian-churchly worldview is explained by patterns of a socialization in the West, female gender, and most strongly by a fractured/complementary gender-role orientation. This reveals the especially prominent contribution of a fractured/complementary genderrole orientation upon a Christian-churchly worldview. In the West German sample, a Christian-churchly worldview appears to be contingent upon a rejection of a part-time-oriented/egalitarian gender-role orientation. For those socialized in East Germany, a Christian-churchly worldview points to a frac‐ tured-complementary gender-role orientation, whereas here an egalitarian/ performance-oriented gender-role orientation offers a negative explanatory contribution for agreement with a Christian-churchly worldview. This fact reveals that a modern gender-role orientation, as represented by the part-timeoriented/egalitarian and the egalitarian/performance-oriented gender-role orientations, is linked with a worldview that is not oriented towards the Chris‐ tian-churchly but rather towards the secular/self-reliant.

37

Explorative factor analyses established three patterns of worldviews: a religious one (Cronbach’s α =.773), characterized by reference to God and a life after death, an anomic one (Cronbach’s α =.768), which rejects any meaning to life, and a secular/ self-reliant one (Cronbach’s α =.681), which sees the creation of a meaning of life as the responsibility of each individual, see Benthaus-Apel/Eufinger 2017, 248.

97

FEMINIZATION OR (RE-)MASCULINIZATION OF RELIGION Worldviews (dependent variables) Christian-churchly anomic Overall East/West Gender (Woman/Man) Year of Birth

West

East

Overall

Secular, self-reliant West

2

Overall

West

East

-

-

-,103**

,200*** -,073*

-,128**

-

,085*

-,123*

Education Income Egalitarian/ performance-oriented GRO Part-time-oriented/ egalitarian GRO Fractured-comple‐ mentary GRO

East

,119* ,099*

,086**

-,145**

,118**

,076**

,100**

,089**

,087**

-,075** ,227***

,168*** ,207***

,115** ,257*** ,075**

,145***

,162*** ,132*

R ,106 ,049 ,092 ,031 ,034 Linear regression; standardized Beta-coefficients. Levels of significance: * = p < 0,05; ** = p < 0,01; *** = p < 0,001.

,034

-,090** ,036

,031

,062

Table 4: Regression analyses: Gender-Role Orientation as Independent Variable (Source: ALLBUS 2012; own calculations, see Benthaus-Apel et al. 2017, 250).

Table 4 also makes clear that in all three samples a secular/self-reliant worldview is not explainable by gender alone: education and income are the socio-structural features that contribute to a secular/self-reliant worldview. Moreover, gender is also contingent upon a slight rejection of the fractured/ complementary gender-role orientation. In the overall sample, a secular/selfreliant worldview points to distinct patterns of socialization in East Germany, by (higher) income and by an egalitarian/performance-oriented gender-role orientation. For those socialized in East Germany, a secular/self-reliant worldview suggests the influence of higher age and an egalitarian/ perfor‐ mance-oriented gender-role orientation. Thus, even in 2012 two religious and gender cultures still exist: for those persons socialized in East Germany, gender-role orientations following the principles of the equality of the partners with regard to paid work and family work relate to patterns of interpreting meaning and the world, which refer back to secular self-reliance. At the same time, a fractured/complementary gender-role orientation and an egalitarian/part-time-oriented gender-role orientation reflect different patterns of socialization in the West. While reli‐ giosity is determined by a fractured/complementary gender-role orientation in Eastern and Western Germany, the distinctive feature in the West is that the part-time-oriented gender role is linked to a rejection of religiosity and church involvement.

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3. Conclusion Examining gender roles highlights the differentiation of current gender-role orientations in the matter of religiosity, spirituality, church involvement, and worldview, based on the three patterns of gender roles as discussed above. The basic reasons to explain religiosity remain the difference between East and West Germany, female gender as well as higher age. The fact that the female gender displays a greater explanatory power for religiosity than the traditional fractured/complementary gender-role orientation indicates that other features emerge as important in this regard, beyond the available opera‐ tionalization of gender roles as carried out in the ALLBUS 2012. But the present analyses suggest that the concept of gender roles can help explain a distinctly Christian-churchly worldview. Even if this analysis conceives the gender roles as an independent variable, there is presumably an interdepen‐ dent relationship at play here. Thus, the explanation of religious orientations by gender roles permits the following conclusions with respect to the thesis of the feminization of reli‐ giosity. First, a fractured/complementary gender-role orientation is a predictor of religious attitudes and activities replicated in subsequent generations. Second, one cannot project a development of a feminization of religiosity in the younger generation, which is determined by gender-role orientation. The new part-time-oriented/egalitarian gender-role orientation (which in West Germany forms an alternative between egalitarian and complementary genderrole orientations) and a stronger religiosity of women is not ascertained. Rather in the new part-time-oriented/egalitarian gender-role orientation, tendencies towards further secularization are clear. The egalitarian/perfor‐ mance-oriented gender-role orientation, which is typical of persons socialized in East Germany, especially correlates with a repudiation of a Christian/ churchly construction of meaning. This also holds true for a self-assessment as religious and spiritual, and for levels of church involvement. Third, the research findings contradict the assumption of Engelbrecht and Rosowski (2007), presented earlier in this article, suggesting that a worldview empha‐ sizing an individual’s construction of meaning is not typical of men. The regression analyses show that both in the overall sample as well as in the two samples of East and West Germany, a secular/self-reliant worldview is inde‐ pendent of gender, whether male or female. Yet, a worldview in which the statement ‘Life has a meaning only when people endow it with meaning themselves’ is of central importance could still, in 2012, point to the influence of a personal socialization in East Germany. Such a worldview also depends on the influence of a (higher) income. To return to the question posed at the beginning of this article, about tendencies towards the feminization or (re-)masculinization of religiosity, we

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see that the results of this investigation do not point to processes of (re-)masculinization. Rather, and more to the point, these analyses demon‐ strate that the gender gap, which manifests in a greater religiosity of women, can also be confirmed for the year 2012. But this gender gap cannot be explained solely through agreement with traditional gender-role orientations, which needs to be studied in more detail. One clue to this question points to an analysis this article did not set out to undertake, requiring us to take into consideration the role of the particular form of religious socialization experi‐ enced in the parental home as playing a role in the explanation of religiosity and spirituality, especially for men.38 Bibliography ALLBUS (2012): Allgemeine Bevölkerungsumfrage der Sozialwissenschaften. Köln: GESIS Datenarchiv für Sozialwissenschaften (DVD Release 2013). Becher, Inna / El-Menour, Yasemin (2013): Geschlechterrollen bei Deutschen und Zuwanderern christlicher und muslimischer Religionszugehörigkeit (Forschungsbericht 21). Nürnberg: Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge. URL: https://www.bamf.de/SharedDocs/Anlagen/DE/Publikat ionen/Forschungsberichte/fb21-geschlechterrollen.pdf?__blob=publication File [Accessed: 28/03/2017]. Benthaus-Apel, Friederike / Grenz, Sabine / Eufinger,Veronika / Schöll, Albrecht / Bücker, Nicola (2017): Wechselwirkungen. Geschlecht, Reli‐ giosität und Lebenssinn. Qualitative und quantitative Analysen anhand von lebensgeschichtlichen Interviews und Umfragen. Münster: Waxmann. Benthaus-Apel, Friederike / Eufinger, Veronika (2017): Geschlechterrollenori‐ entierung in Ost- und Westdeutschland und ihre Auswirkungen auf Reli‐ giosität und Weltsichten. In: Sammet, Kornelia / Benthaus-Apel, Friederike / Gärtner, Christel (eds): Religion und Geschlechterordnungen. Wiesbaden: Springer, 237-272. Bergelt, Daniel (2017): Geschlechternormen zur Erklärung des Gender Gap in der Religiosität. Überlegungen zu einer Erweiterung des Modells einer pfadabhängigen Entwicklung religiöser Unterschiede. In: Sammet, Kornelia / Benthaus-Apel, Friederike / Gärtner, Christel (eds) Religion und Geschlechterordnungen. Wiesbaden: Springer, 217-236. Blaschke, Olaf (2017): Religion ist weiblich. Religion ist männlich. Geschlechtsumwandlungen des Religiösen in historischer Perspektive. In: Sammet, Kornelia / Benthaus-Apel, Friederike / Gärtner, Christel (eds): Religion und Geschlechterordnungen. Wiesbaden: Springer, 79-98. 38

See Benthaus-Apel et al. 2017, 268.

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Bochinger, Christoph (2007): Geleitwort. In: Engelbrecht, Martin / Rosowski, Martin: Was Männern Sinn gibt – Leben zwischen Welt und Gegenwelt. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 9-15. Borutta, Manuel (2001): Antikatholizismus, Männlichkeit und Moderne. Die diskursive Feminisierung des Katholizismus in Deutschland und Italien (1850-1900). In: AIM Gender. URL: https://www.fk12.tudortmund.de/cms/I SO/de/arbeitsbereiche/soziologie_der_geschlechterverhaeltnisse/Medienpo ol/AIM_Beitraege_erste_Tagung/Borutta.pdf [Accessed: 29/03/2015]. Connell, Raewyn (2013): Gender. Published by Ilse Lenz and Michael Meuser. Wiesbaden: Springer Verlag. Engelbrecht, Martin / Rosowski, Martin (2007): Was Männern Sinn gibt – Leben zwischen Welt und Gegenwelt. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. Gesterkamp, Thomas (2007): Die Krise der Kerle. Männlicher Lebensstil und der Wandel der Arbeitsgesellschaft. Münster: LIT Verlag. Habermas, Rebekka (2000): Frauen und Männer des Bürgertums. Eine Fami‐ liengeschichte (1750–1850) (Bürgertum. Beiträge zur europäischen Gesellschaftsgeschichte 14). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Hausen, Karin (2012): Geschlechtergeschichte als Gesellschaftsgeschichte (Kritische Studien zur Geschichtswissenschaft 202). Göttingen: Vanden‐ hoeck & Ruprecht. Inglehart, Ronald / Norris, Pippa (2003): Rising Tide, Gender Equality and Cultural Change around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge Press. Klein, Constantin / Keller, Barbara / Traunmüller, Richard (2017): Sind Frauen tatsächlich grundsätzlich religiöser als Männer? Internationale und interreligiöse Befunde des Religionsmonitors 2008. In: Sammet, Kornelia / Benthaus-Apel, Friederike / Gärtner, Christel (eds) Religion und Geschlechterordnungen. Wiesbaden: Springer, 99-134. Männerarbeit der EKD (2011): Zur Freiheit befreit – Männer in Bewegung. Konzeption der Männerarbeit der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland. Hannover. URL: http://www.ekkw.de/media_ekkw/service_lka/konzeption ekd(1).pdf [Accessed: 09/10/2016]. Olenhusen, Irmtraud Götz von (2000): Feminisierung von Religion und Kirche im 19. und 20 Jahrhundert. In: Lukatis, Ingrid / Sommer, Regina / Wolf, Christof (eds): Religion und Geschlechterverhältnis. Opladen: Leske und Budrich, 37-48. Ostner, Ilona (2008): Ökonomisierung der Lebenswelt durch aktivierende Familienpolitik? In: Evers, Adalbert / Heinze, Rolf G. (eds): Sozialpolitik. Ökonomisierung und Entgrenzung. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 49-66.

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Scheepers, Rajah (2011): Einführung. In: Die Zukunft der Kirche ist weiblich. Zur Ambivalenz der Feminisierung von Gesellschaft, Kirche und Theologie im 20. Jahrhundert (epd-Dokumentation 25/26). Neudietendorf: Evange‐ lische Akademie Thüringen, 4/5. Schneider, Bernhard (2016): Feminisierung und (Re-)Maskulinisierung der Religion im 19. Jahrhundert. Tendenzen der Forschung aus der Perspektive des deutschen Katholizismus. In: Sohn-Kronthaler, Michaela (ed.): Femi‐ nisierung oder (Re-)Maskulinisierung der Religion im 19. und 20. Jahrhun‐ dert? Forschungsbeiträge aus dem Christentum, Judentum und Islam. Wien / Köln / Weimar: Böhlau-Verlag, 11-41. Studienzentrum der EKD für Genderfragen in Kirche und Theologie (2015): Atlas zur Gleichstellung von Frauen und Männern in der evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland. Hannover. Voas, David / McAndrew, Siobhan / Storm, Ingrid (2013): Modernization and the Gender Gap in Religiosity. Evidence from Cross-national European Surveys. In: Wolf, Christof / Koenig, Matthias (eds): Religion und Gesellschaft (Special edition Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 65). Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 259-284. Voicu, Mălina (2009): Religion and Gender across Europe. In: social compass 55 (2), 144-162. Volz, Rainer / Zulehner, Paul M. (2009): Männer in Bewegung. Zehn Jahre Männerentwicklung in Deutschland. Ein Forschungsprojekt der Gemein‐ schaft der Katholischen Männer in Deutschland und der Männerarbeit der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland. Published by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Volume 6. BadenBaden: Nomos-Verlag. Wieser, Renate (2015): Alte Frauen und ihre Religiosität. Intersektionalitäten zwischen “Alter(n)”, “Geschlecht” und “Religion”. In: Brunnauer, Cornelia / Hörl, Gabriele / Schmutzhart, Ingrid (eds): Geschlecht und Altern. Interdisziplinäre Betrachtungen. Wiesbaden: Springer, 113-133.

2. Masculinities in Premodern und Modern Islam

Protectors, Statesmen, Terrorists? Gender and Masculinities in Muslim Texts and Contexts Miriam Kurz1 To provide an overview over the relation of Islam and masculinity is not an easy task. Both Islam and masculinity are hot topics in current public debates, often discussed in connection with the trope of ‘crisis’, and both are often essentialized and constructed as clearly distinguishable entities. The ‘Muslim man’, the symbiosis of both, has also received critical attention from the media, politicians, populists, and security forces. Muslim men have been increasingly problematized and “securitised”2 in Europe and North America since 9/11 and subsequent terror attacks, and more recently with the mediacovered atrocities of the so-called Islamic State. Muslim men have been targeted by state-sponsored anti-radicalization and prevention programs in Europe and criminalized by right-wing and conservative politicians and groups and certain kinds of feminists in the wake of the refugee ‘crisis’ in Europe. In contrast to the simplifications of public discourse, both Islam and masculinity are complex, plural and dynamic phenomena. Many renowned scholars devoted themselves to conceptualizing Islam.3 While this is not the place to elaborate on this extensive body of literature, I would just like to stress the obvious: that Islam has given rise to plural traditions, movements, forms of devotional practice, and legal opinions, and that the latter have always been linked to specific places and specific times. There is no timeless manifestation of Islam; and current trends labelled ‘Salafi’ which call for a return to the ‘pure’ and ‘original’ Islam of the time of the prophet Muhammad are themselves modern ways of relating to the tradition, formulated in the present and promoted, for example, by contemporary communication tech‐ nologies.4 Masculinity, on the other hand, is a plural phenomenon too. This can be reflected in the use of the plural form ‘masculinities’, as suggested by the 1

2 3 4

I am thankful to Schirin Amir-Moazami for her fruitful comments on an earlier version of this paper as well as to the editors of this volume for their careful copy-editing. A note on transliteration and dating: Transliteration of Arabic terms follows the guidelines of the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES). All dates mentioned in this contribution refer to the Gregorian calendar, not the Islamic (Hijri) calendar. Isakjee 2012. See e.g. Ahmed 2016; Asad 1986; Bowen 2012; el-Zein 1977; Hodgson 1974, 1977a, 1977b. Cf. e.g. Salvatore 1999.

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Australian sociologist Raewyn Connell.5 Masculinities are socially con‐ structed and dynamic. They change and evolve over time as well as from context to context. Masculinities are constructed not only in distinction from women, but significantly vis-à-vis other (groups of) men,6 and masculinity as a category of analysis intersects with other categories of social distinction. The historian Mrinalini Sinha has put this very accurately: [M]asculinity itself is understood as constituted by, as well as constitutive of, a wide set of social relations. Masculinity, seen thus, traverses multiple axes of race, caste, class, sexuality, religion, and ethnicity. Masculinity, that is to say, cannot be confined solely within its supposedly ‘proper’ domain of male-female relations.7

Intersecting categories of difference such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religious affiliation can render the masculinities of subjects and groups visible,8 while white, heterosexual, middle-class masculinities often remain unmarked and unquestioned – “fraglos gegeben”, as sociologist Michael Meuser puts it in German.9 For this reason, it is crucial to take the racializing logic of public discourse on Muslims in Europe into account, as will be discussed below. In the first part of my contribution, I will give an overview of gender-rele‐ vant Qur’anic terms and how they have been understood in Muslim legal discourse. I will discuss conceptions of gender and masculinities insofar as they have been the object of research with regard to Muslim legal and exeget‐ ical discourse. In the second part of this article, I will cursorily survey academic studies on Muslim masculinities and highlight the gendered dimen‐ sion of public discourse on Islam and Muslims in European contexts. I suggest that an understanding of the mechanisms of racialization and sexual‐ ization which underlie much of the discursive production of the ‘Muslim man’ in European public discourses should inform any discussion and analysis of Muslim masculinities in Europe.

1. Gender and Masculinities in Muslim Theological Literature 1.1 Gender-Relevant Terms in the Qur’an The Qur’an addresses people both in gendered and non-gendered ways. While we do not find terms for the abstract concepts of ‘gender’ and/or ‘sex’ in the Qur’an, we encounter terms for gendered beings and terms relating to 5 6 7 8 9

See Connell 1987, 2000. See Bourdieu 2001; Connell 2000, 2005; Meuser 2008; Sinha 1999. Sinha 1999, 446. On ethnicity, see Huxel 2008a, 2008b. See Meuser 1998, 296; cf. also id. 2003, 170.

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humans regardless of their gender.10 Historian and women’s studies scholar Margot Badran distinguishes two groups of terms: One group she identifies consists of terms referring to biological difference, and the second group of terms refers to “culturally constructed categories” of gender.11 She observes that gender terms in the latter sense (group two) appear more frequently than terms indicating biological difference (group one), although the meaning of the terms in the two groups is sometimes inversed,12 which makes the categorization appear less stringent. The sex-related Qur’anic terms are aldhakar (male) and al-unthā (female), both indicating biological sex. According to Badran, they usually appear in one of two contexts: either with respect to procreation, or when emphasis is placed on the fact that both sexes, male and female, are equal before God, regardless of their biological differ‐ ence.13 The most common terms indicating “culturally constructed categories”14 of gender in the Qur’an are rajul (man), and imraʾa (woman). The form marʾ, which is the male form of imraʾa, is rarely used for the male gender in comparison to rajul. Both rajul and imraʾa are more frequently used in their plural forms in the Qur’an: rijāl and nisāʾ (for the female plural the form niswa also rarely appears). Badran remarks that imraʾa mostly connotes wife.15 Most frequent among terms specifying gender are, according to Badran, terms that specify the social relationship among people, such as father, daughter, son, sister, etc. Besides these terms indicating family rela‐ tionships, we are also confronted with terms like boy and young woman, which reveal additional information, such as the age of a person.16 The Qur’anic terms referring to humans generally, both men and women, are insān (human being; humankind), nās (people, humans), bashar (human being; humankind), ahl (people), and expressions like man (who, whoever). Within the academic discipline of uṣūl al-fiqh,17 there is a consensus that terms of a general nature like man and nās refer to men and women alike.18 While the aforementioned terms grammatically take the masculine form, they are gender-inclusive in meaning and should thus be translated as ‘human(s)’ and ‘humankind’ (and not as ‘man’ and ‘mankind,’ as Badran criticizes has 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

18

See Badran 2002, 288. Ibid., 289. See ibid. See ibid. Ibid. See ibid. See ibid. Uṣūl al-fiqh is a scholarly discipline concerned with identifying the sources of law and principles of extracting legal norms from the Qur’anic text. Thus, uṣūl al-fiqh is concerned with the methodology of jurisprudence, see Calder 2012. See Katz 2017, n.p.

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often been the case).19 The rule here, according to Badran, is that grammati‐ cally masculine terms in the plural or dual form20 can comprise women as well, while the singular form of a masculine term is gender-specific, indi‐ cating a male person.21 According to the scholar of Islamic law and gender Marion H. Katz, there is some discussion among legal scholars as to whether grammatically masculine plural forms include women or not.22 Yet she considers this discussion relevant only on a theoretical level, asserting that in practice, there has been a consensus among most scholars as to which rights and duties apply to women and men alike and which rights and duties are specifically male ones.23 Generally speaking, Badran asserts that both the notion of the, “fundamental equality of all human beings”24 and the notion of humans as beings with biological difference are conveyed in the Qur’an.25 According to her, beyond regulations of how a husband has to provide for his wife, the Qur’an gives no prescriptions for gender roles.26 1.2 Constructions of Gender and Masculinity in Muslim Legal Discourse I will now turn to contemporary analyses of gender27 constructions in Muslim legal discourse and in exegetical literature (exegesis of the Qur’an), a genre called tafsīr.28 The works engaging with these subjects are feminist analyses

19 20

21 22

23

24 25 26 27

28

See Badran 2002, 291. Arabic has a separate grammatical form, the dual, for things that come in pairs, i.e. for talking about two things or two persons. The dual form is thus grammatically distinct from singular and plural forms. See Badran 2002, 291. Discussions refer to Q 33:35, a verse where the female plural is repeated separately after the male plural forms in order to emphasize that both men and women are addressed. For the discussion of the arguments see Katz 2017, n.p. The rights and duties specifically applying to men being the congregational Friday prayer, military engagement and the option of having sexual relations with slaves, see ibid. Badran 2002, 292. See ibid. See ibid., 289. In the following, I use the term ‘gender’ as an analytical category. With regard to the source material discussed here, i.e. the legal and theological texts, it is difficult to uphold a clear distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ throughout the text, as both are closely intertwined in the sources under consideration. Often, authors depart from the biological sex of persons and link sex causally to gendered characteristics, capabilities, roles and certain ways of behaviour. As the example of sex change also suggests, a central preoccupation from a Muslim legal perspective is that gender identity and biological sex are to be (brought) in line. On a discussion of the sex/gender distinction and the critique it has received, cf. Mikkola 2017. Tafsīr (Arabic) means ‘interpretation’ and denotes a genre of literature as well as the process of interpretation. Mostly though not exclusively, tafsīr refers to the interpreta‐ tion of the Qur’an, cf. e.g. Rippin 2012.

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of legal and tafsīr literature written by female scholars, and include Muslim feminist perspectives.29 I will focus on their interpretations of constructions of gender and masculinity, the way they address issues of hierarchy, gender roles, and male and female qualities. When it comes to Islamic legal discourse, Katz finds that the latter “posits a strict and fundamental male-female gender binary”.30 Legal texts formulate rights and duties of subjects in terms of male and female. As legal rulings depend on the sex of subjects, it is a major concern from the perspective of Islamic law to distinguish people based on their sex (in a binary, heteronor‐ mative framework). The importance attributed to the unambiguous distinction between male and female by legal scholars is noticeable in the concept of tashabbuh, which means imitation of the ‘opposite’ sex. The prohibition of tashabbuh in legal texts was mostly aimed at practices of cross-dressing but could apply generally to any kind of social practice conceived as genderspecific, “such as modes of walking and speaking”.31 As practices of tashabbuh challenge the clear distinguishability between persons of male and female sex, it is problematized in Muslim legal discourse. Another challenge to the application of law based on the male-female binary order have been intersex persons, which are subsumed in the legal tradition under the category of al-khunthā. As Katz notes, persons whose sex could not be unambiguously determined were an object of discussion and concern in classical legal texts. For jurists, it was of central interest to identify a person’s sex in cases of ambiguity. According to Katz, jurists subscribed to the premise that every person has a true sex, even if in some cases the latter might not be identifiable by humans, while studies investigating medieval Islamicate medical discourse on sex differences suggest that the medical discourse differed from legal discourse in that it featured the idea of a sex continuum instead of a strict male-female binary.32 Still, in terms of legal rights and duties, gender intersected with other lines of difference and markers of a person’s status in pre-modern texts.33 Factors of age, religion, social class, and the status as a free person vs. slave matter(ed) beyond gender. For example, “[t]he full legal capacity of women contrasted with the partial legal capacity of slaves”.34 The Islamic studies scholar Kecia Ali argues that, “[s]laves and women were overlapping categories of legally inferior persons constructed against one another and in 29 30 31 32 33 34

Cf. Abou-Bakr 2013; Bauer 2006, 2009; Carter 2003; Geissinger 2008; Katz 2017; Klausing 2014; Mir-Hosseini 2003; Mubarak 2014. Katz 2017, n.p. Ibid. Cf. Gadelrab 2011; Ragab 2015. See Katz 2017, n.p. Ibid.

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relation to one another”. 35 She understands both “enslavement and femaleness as legal disabilities”36 and as entangled in legal discourse. In this connection, she also puts forward a “vital relationship […] between slave ownership and marriage as legal institutions”.37 Both of these legal institutions seem thus to play a role in the production of masculinities, and could provide fertile ground for further exploration. Looking from a meta-perspective on Islamic law, Katz finds that the male, adult and free subject is usually set as the norm in the legal tradition, which coincides with the Western legal tradition.38 Questions of gender in texts of substantive law are mostly discussed when women or intersex subjects are the matter of concern. The male subject is treated as the universal norm,39 preventing a closer investigation of gender aspects with regard to men.40 Yet, there are legal aspects in regard to which men’s gendered dimensions appear. A constitutive element of masculinity from a legal perspective can be considered a man’s ability to reproduce and have sexual intercourse with his wife. Legal scholars deem it a valid reason for divorce on a woman’s behalf if her husband is not able to consummate the marriage.41 Besides potency, provision constitutes a marker of masculinity from the perspective of Islamic law, which implies that a ‘full’ man should also be an economically capable subject. In addition, Katz remarks that, “classical fiqh [...] reserved certain forms of authority for males”,42 referring to the Qur’anic concept of qiwāma.43 This means that from a legal perspective, men are endowed with authority that distinguishes them from women and can thus be considered a marker of masculinity as well. This has also been discussed in detail in litera‐ ture concerned with the interpretation of the Qur’an (tafsīr),44 a genre I will address in the following.

35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

43 44

Ali 2010, 8. Ibid. Ibid. See Katz 2017, n.p. See Meuser 1998, 2003. See Katz 2017, n.p. See Mashhour 2005, 575; Katz 2017, n.p. See Katz 2017, n.p. Fiqh means Islamic jurisprudence. In the words of El Shamsy, “[t]he term fiqh refers commonly to religious knowledge, especially knowledge of Islamic law derived through legal reasoning […]”. The root letters f-q-h convey the meaning of deep understanding, insight, and discernment and the root is linked to reli‐ gious knowledge or understanding in the Qur’an (9:122), see El Shamsy 2015, n.p. For the term qiwāma, see footnote 46 below. For an explanation of the term and genre of tafsīr, see footnote 28 above.

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1.3 Constructions of Gender and Masculinity in Muslim Exegetical Discourse Turning to exegetical discourse with regard to gender constructions, the literary scholar Omaima Abou-Bakr’s feminist reading provides a representa‐ tively select examination of tafsīr scholars’ (i.e. Qur’an exegetes’) under‐ standings of gender-relevant verses in the Qur’an, “addressing men as domestic beings, as husbands, fathers, and legal guardians in relation to women”.45 Her analysis mainly relies on two verses: Q 4:34 from sūrat alnisāʾ, where the hierarchy in the marital relationship is addressed, stating that men are women’s protectors and providers (al-rijālu qawwāmūna ʿala lnisāʾi), and measures against disobedient women are suggested, and Q 2:228 from sūrat al-baqara, where the procedure for divorce is discussed and it is stated that men are a degree above women (wa-li-l-rijāli ʿalayhinna dara‐ jatun).46 Abou-Bakr compares modern and classical47 tafsīr works by male authors with regard to these two verses. She finds that classical male exegetes (i.e. authors of tafsīr literature)48 devoted considerable attention to men’s responsibilities towards women and to divine commands directed at men to treat their women relatives fairly. These scholars construct an ideal image of a man in the domestic sphere as mild and humble, patient and conciliatory.49 Abou-Bakr labels the construction of the ideal husband or father in the exegetical works of this time span “benevolent or condescending patri‐

45 46

47

48 49

Abou-Bakr 2013, 94, original emphasis. In Q 4:34, qawwāmūna is a noun in the plural form referring to men (al-rijāl): Men stand above women, or as Badran renders it, men are the protectors of/providers for women (see Badran 2002, 290), while qiwāma is a related noun denoting the principle of male governance over their wives. Both the terms qawwāmūn/qiwāma and daraja (degree) and the related verses have sparked much discussion and controversy, see e.g. Cheema 2013, Mubarak 2004, and Val 2013. As Kathrin Klausing finds, early exegetes accepted as an unquestioned given the privileged status of men (faḍl) which was linked with their qiwāma and daraja over women and which did not require any explanation. Starting with exegetes al-Samarqandi (d. 985) and al-Razi (d. 1210), what Klausing labels “the first scientific attempt to explain” a verse was made, seeking to explain the different nature of man and woman and thus making sense of the differ‐ ence in the distribution of qiwāma; see Klausing 2014, 223. The same reasoning is typical of modern exegetes who have devoted attention to basing the differences between men and woman in scientific explanations. Authors like Muhammad Abduh (d. 1905) and Rashid Rida (d. 1935), for example, explain why the husband has a higher status and authority over his wife with reference to the natural sciences. Roughly speaking, the classical Islamic period comprises the time span between the 8th and 13th century CE and thus coincides with the medieval period in Western terms. The terms ‘medieval’ and ‘classical’ carry different connotations, which is why I stick to the term ‘classical’ in this context. She refers to Ibn Abbas (d. 688), al-Tabari (d. 923), and al-Zamakhshari (d. 1144), see Abou-Bakr 2013, 94. See ibid., 94/95.

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archy”.50 The authority men have over women (the aforementioned qiwāma or daraja) is justified by the surplus in moral and lenient conduct men are expected to display vis-à-vis women and by the focus on men’s duties. This is one pattern of masculinity she identifies in tafsīr literature within the realm of male-female relations. As a representative example of modern tafsīr, Abou-Bakr takes the 19thand early 20th-century religious scholar and reformer Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905). Comparing his tafsīr to those of the classical authors mentioned before, Abou-Bakr notices a shift in focus from the responsibilities of men towards the responsibilities of women. She shows that Abduh’s view of ideal masculinity is based on biological essentialism, assuming that men are by nature (fiṭra) superior to women and thus assume leading status: In Abduh’s view, men are created perfectly, their intellectual capability exceeds women’s, and thus they are naturally destined to be leaders (riʾāsa fiṭriyya).51 AbouBakr suggests that Abduh places the biological superiority of men even above Qur’anic rulings, e.g. when he says that even if Islamic juristic rulings allowed women to lead prayers and other things, fiṭra would demand that men perform these tasks rather than women. For Abduh, it follows from the ‘fact’ that men are created perfectly that men are also more beautiful than women. A sign of their beauty and thus proof of their preferable creation as compared to women lies in their “beards and moustaches”.52 Men with beards and moustaches conform to the manly ideal, while men who are bald or do not have much hair are deemed less manly. Masculinity is measured in terms of body hair here, exceeding the physical qualification of a person as a man through male genitals and the ability to procreate.53 The recourse to biologically based arguments (the differences in the ‘nature’ of men and women) in constructing and legitimizing gender difference is

50 51

52 53

Abou-Bakr 2013, 97. Ibid., 98/99. Abou-Bakr translates riʾāsa fiṭriyya as innate presidency or innate head‐ ship. The idea of riʾāsa fiṭriyya, i.e. that men are biologically entitled to headship in society through a number of qualities that distinguish them from women, is developed in his Tafsīr al-manār from 1907, see Abou-Bakr 2013, 98. Abduh 1990, 69, cited in Abou-Bakr 2013, 99. Ahmed Ragab researched constructions of sex differences in medical discourse from Islamicate contexts, taking into consideration authors between the 8th and 11th centuries. His work does not explore social constructions of gender, but provides a basis for further inquiry into how medical conceptions of sex differences fed into gender constructions. As to the biologically based conceptions of masculinity and femininity of his medieval authors, Ragab concludes that the markers of sex difference were the following: “For all these authors, the chief signs of masculinity and femi‐ ninity were largely the same: hair distribution (being possibly the most important feature), voice, menstruation or lack thereof, shapes of joints and muscles, urine, pulse, fertility, sexuality and sexual preferences, and the shape and function of genital organs”. See Ragab 2015, 452.

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typical of late 19th-century modernist scholars54 and alludes to Abduh’s situat‐ edness within a modern discourse of state, society, modernity and progress which is tied up with conceptions of gender. The ideal attributes of mildness and patience which can be found in the classical texts studied by Abou-Bakr are replaced here by physical beauty, strength, intellectual superiority, and biologically based authority. Mildness, patience, and endurance become female qualities for modern exegetes like Abduh.55 Abou-Bakr concludes that “two different patriarchal constructions of male‐ ness”56 pervade the writings of the classical tafsīr authors she examined and the writings of the modernist scholar Muhammad Abduh: one of conditioned masculinity, the other of unconditioned masculinity. It should be noted that in both discursive formations of masculinity examined by Abou-Bakr, classical and modern, masculinity is constructed through a distinction from women. In contrast, the Qur’an scholar Karen Bauer does not attest to a major shift in gender constructions and the perception of male and female nature between classical and modern tafsīr authors.57 She questions whether early authors held different (i.e. more women-friendly) views when it comes to male authority and the intellectual ability of men versus women. The Islamic studies scholar Kathrin Klausing presumes in accordance with Bauer that premodern authors took gender-based hierarchy in marriage and male supremacy as natural and did thus not feel compelled to comment on the reasons for these.58 The concern with equality and equal treatment is, as Bauer remarks, a modern concern.59 In classical tafsīr discourse, just treatment of men and women did not imply equal treatment.60 Bauer assumes that pre-modern exegetes, “never questioned that the text grants certain rights and responsibili‐ ties to men alone; they held the view that, on the whole, the male character is innately suited to particular duties and privileges”.61 This might explain why early commentaries do not question the privileged position of men. In contrast, for later and particularly for modern authors it becomes important to justify their views and to justify differences in rights and status between men and women, which led authors to start commenting on male and female

54

55 56 57 58 59 60 61

See Katz 2017, n.p. Arguing with the ‘nature’ of women’s vs. men’s psyche and biologically based differences in their intellectual abilities is typical not only of Islamic modernist thinkers but symptomatic of Western scientific discourses in the late 19th century and also served to justify social hierarchies between men and women. Cf. e.g. Shields 2007. See Abou-Bakr 2013, 99. Ibid. See Bauer 2006, 130. See Klausing 2014, 222. See Bauer 2009, 637; cf. also Mir-Hosseini 2003. See Bauer 2009, 637. Ibid.

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nature.62 From al-Samarqandi (d. 985) on, as Klausing shows, exegetes sought to explain Qur’anic passages suggesting a privileged status of men with a difference in nature between men and women.63 Higher rationality is quite commonly stated to be a male quality in premodern tafsīr after alSamarqandi.64 In modern tafsīr, scholars attribute higher emotionality instead of inferior rationality or intellectual capability to women,65 thus men are constructed as more rational and less emotional vis-à-vis women. Pre-modern exegetes, according to Bauer, held the conviction that the husband should provide financially for his wife and family and the wife in return should be obedient.66 Klausing also found a man’s function as provider for the family to be a constitutive and central element of masculinity in both pre-modern as well as modern exegetes’ views.67 This suggests that the image of the man as the providing head of the family and endowed with authority underlies the constructions of masculinity of both pre-modern and modern tafsīr discourse. This is, as shown above, in accordance with legal discourse.68 What is specific to modern tafsīr authors is that they idealize a gendered role distribution between wife and husband.69 In modern tafsīr discourse, influenced by the colonial context, the wake of nationalism and Victorian conceptions of gender, women became tied up with their reproductive role and femininity was primarily defined within the framework of the family (and the nation), i.e. being wife and mother, being responsible for household and bearing and raising children, while pre-modern scholars rarely held women responsible for household work.70 Femininity beyond this interpretive lens is not discussed by modern scholars.71 While in classical tafsīr works, men are considered as domestic beings among other aspects of their identities, Abduh, for example, does not root masculine identity or qualities within the domestic realm. With him and modern exegetes more broadly, as Abou-Bakr argues, 62 63

64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71

See Bauer 2006, 133; Klausing 2014, 222. See Klausing 2014, 223. Klausing’s study of gender role concepts in 21 Arabic tafsīr works does not provide a systematic analysis of constructions of masculinity, but it allows some glimpses. It comprises commentaries from the earliest Islamic period to the present and from different schools of law and different theological positions. In her analysis, Klausing focuses on the interpretation of five verses from two suras which are relevant to constructions of femininity and which she found the most fruitful regarding discussions on gender roles among tafsīr scholars, see ibid., 16. In all of these verses, the relation between men and women, marriage, and divorce are addressed. See Klausing 2014, 225; Bauer 2006, 132. See Klausing 2014, 225. See Bauer 2009, 641/642. See Klausing 2014, 227. Cf. section 1.2 in this article. See Klausing 2014, 228. See Katz 2017, n.p. See Klausing 2014, 228.

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the distinction between female, domestic responsibilities and male, public responsibilities becomes sharper: “Modern exegetes, on the other hand, remove the requirement of domestic or family responsibilities for men, attributing it to women only, and guard manhood with the timeless natural‐ ness of fitra”.72 In other words, for modern exegetes like Abduh, manhood is grounded in a man’s biological nature and is not dependent on the fulfilment of further criteria. Despite these differences between early and modern exegetes concerning their way of argumentation, the use of scientific explanations, and the way they envision gendered labour distribution, there is historical continuity in the principal gender constructions of male tafsīr authors according to Klausing and Bauer. While the prophet Muhammad as an ideal husband had already been a trope (among others) in 9th and 10th century Abbasid literature on love and marriage,73 some contemporary Muslim scholars devoted attention exclu‐ sively to the prophet Muhammad as a gendered role-model for Muslim men and husbands.74 Their works cover the prophet’s relation with and behaviour towards his wives and establish ethical norms of conduct for Muslim husbands on this basis. The prophet’s conjugal performance is presented as exemplary for Muslim men. These writings explicitly render men the object of discussion as gendered beings and use Islamic sources to demand a certain ethical behaviour of men. The Islamic studies scholar Kecia Ali highlights character traits of the prophet such as gentleness, compassion and supportive‐ ness towards his wives and postulates these character traits from a feminist standpoint as virtues that Muslim husbands should adopt in their conduct with their wives.75 Ali’s views resonate with the 20th-century Lebanese writer Nazira Zayn al-Din’s (1908-1976) take on men and masculinity.76 Zayn al-Din harshly criticizes men’s behaviours of her time, together with ideals of masculinity based on strength, power, and aggression. She rejects the idea 72 73 74

75 76

Abou-Bakr 2013, 100. Cf. Myrne 2014. Cf. Ali 2004; Al-Shammari n.d. Alongside the prophet’s ethical example, the Middle Eastern studies scholar Ruth Roded analyzes aspects of the discourse on the prophet Muhammad’s virility, covering both Western discursive attacks on it as well as Muslim responses and bringing different constructions of his virility to the fore, see Roded 2006. The Islamic studies scholar Amanullah De Sondy investigates male prophets in the Qur’an as a source for constructions of masculinity in Islamic contexts, cf. De Sondy 2011, partly 2014. Yet, De Sondy speaks of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ and subscribes to a widely lamented ‘crisis of masculinity’ without critically questioning the assumptions and concepts behind the terms. He fails to let his readers know how he understands the terms and to which authors he refers, which is particularly prob‐ lematic as both are contested concepts. See Ali 2004. As discussed in Abou-Bakr 2013.

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that men are intellectually more capable and rational than women by nature.77 Instead, and similar to Ali, she envisions an education of male character oriented after prophetic examples. The ideal of masculinity she outlines is “inspired by the ethics and characters of the prophets, especially Jesus Christ and Muhammad”78 and entails humbleness, peacefulness, piety, and wisdom as male virtues,79 while she criticizes codes of masculinity around force, aggression, strength and physical power. With reference to prophetic exam‐ ples, she asks men to prefer inner values over outer strength. She propagates the same standards and ideals in character and behaviour for both men and women, and does not subscribe to a gendered notion of virtues and gendered judgement of performance. As Abou-Bakr cites her: What is considered a flaw in a man should also be a flaw in a woman, and what is considered a flaw in a woman should also be the same in a man; what is considered virtuous in a man should also be virtuous in a woman, and what is virtuous in a woman should also be the same in a man.80

2. Contemporary Western Academic and Public Discourse on Muslim Masculinities 2.1 Scholarship on Muslim Masculinities and its Pitfalls Looking at constructions of masculinity in Muslim contexts, it is not only of relevance to examine normative sources like the Qur’an and exegetical and legal discourse, but also other literature from Muslim contexts, as well as gender identity constructions of Muslims in the contemporary world from an anthropological or sociological perspective. In the following part of this article, I will concern myself with the study of Muslim masculinities in these areas and highlight some problematic trends in the study of Muslim construc‐ tions of masculinity in the European context, including a critical discussion of the social and political context in which these gender constructions are located. Compared to the extensive literature on women in Islam, the study of masculinities in Muslim contexts is a rather recent field of study. The first collection of papers gathered under the theme of Middle Eastern construc‐ tions of masculinity was published in 2000 by the artist and writer Mai Ghoussoub and Turkey specialist Emma Sinclair-Webb under the title Imag‐

77 78 79 80

See Abou-Bakr 2013, 103. Ibid. See ibid., 103/104. Zayn al-Din 1928, 95, cited in Abou-Bakr 2013, 104.

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ined Masculinities: Male Identity and Culture in the Middle East.81 It comprises contributions by academic scholars and journalists that vary greatly in their approach, methodology, and the material they draw on. Some contri‐ butions examine institutions and practices like military service and circumci‐ sion from sociological or anthropological perspectives, while others explore constructions of masculinity in film and literature. Alongside Muslim, Arab and Turkish constructions of masculinity and identity, the book also includes discussions of Israeli/Jewish constructions of masculinity. Another collection with the title Islamic Masculinities edited by the literary and masculinity studies scholar Lahoucine Ouzgane82 also covers a wide range of sites of constructions of masculinity from male infertility in Egypt, the construction of ‘stranger-masculinities’ within the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the prophet Muhammad’s virility,83 male, Muslim, hom*osexual iden‐ tity constructions,84 and more. Migration scholars Lydia Potts and Jan Kühnemund edited a mixed-method collection in the German language on constructions of masculinities and gender within the context of migration and Islam in Germany.85 Contributions range between analyses of discursive constructions of Muslim*86 masculinities,87 explorations of identity construc‐ tions based on qualitative interviews, and contributions on risk and resources in the socialization of ‘migrant youth’ and Muslim men’s stances on violence. In academic scholarship, hom*osexuality and hom*oerotic relations in Islami‐ cate contexts have represented a focus of inquiry. Alongside edited volumes on the topics of Islam and hom*osexuality,88 hom*oeroticism in Classical Arabic Literature,89 Islamic hom*osexualities90 and Sexuality and Eroticism among Males in Moslem Societies,91 there are explorations of Arab Concepts of hom*osexuality,92 of the Andalus scholar Ibn Hazm’s juridical opinions on male and female hom*osexuality93 and of the contemporary legal scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s stance towards hom*osexuality as a threat to “Muslim

81 82 83 84 85 86

87 88 89 90 91 92 93

Ghoussoub/Sinclair-Webb (eds) 2000. Ouzgane (ed.) 2006. See Roded 2006. See Siraj 2006. Potts/Kühnemund (eds) 2008. I use Muslim* here to indicate that the Muslimness of the subjects under study (if not of the whole sample, at least of a considerable part) is not explicit but implicit. To which extent the men studied would self-identify as Muslims cannot be assessed. E.g. Scheibelhofer 2008a. Habib (ed.) 2010, vol. 1/2. Wright/Rowson (eds) 1997. Murray/Roscoe (eds) 1997. Schmitt/Sofer (eds) 1992. Salti 1997. Adang 2003.

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masculinity”.94 The sociologist Asifa Siraj is among the gender studies scholars who has researched the gender and identity constructions of gay and lesbian Muslims in present-day Britain.95 Female hom*osexuality in particular is addressed by the writer and gender studies scholar Samar Habib, cultural studies scholar Sahar Amer, and Asifa Siraj.96 It seems striking that hom*osexuality, hom*oerotic relations, and gay men’s (and, to a lesser degree, also lesbian women’s) identity constructions in Islam‐ icate contexts receive considerable scholarly attention. This might be due to the higher visibility of hom*osexual masculinities as, from a heteronormative point of view, forms of ‘deviant’ and therefore marked masculinities, but it is also symptomatic of an orientalist legacy.97 The Western scholarly obsession with Muslim (hom*o-)sexualities is grounded in the assumption that sexuality in general and hom*osexuality in particular are suppressed in Islamicate soci‐ eties, an assumption which is historically closely intertwined with orientalist knowledge production. Both the intellectual historian Joseph Massad and Arabic and Islamic studies scholar Thomas Bauer show that the discursiviza‐ tion of hom*osexuality (conceptualized in ‘scientific’ terms as clearly identifi‐ able illness) and its concurrent suppression mainly started with the colonial intervention in Muslim majority societies.98 Especially in the UK context, some scholars from disciplines like anthro‐ pology, social geography and sociology have conducted research on Muslim masculinities.99 For the German context, the existing scholarship is meagre, particularly with regard to ethnographic approaches.100 In Scheibelhofer’s analyses of the constructions of masculinity among his young, male, AustrianTurkish interlocutors, religion does not feature as an analytical category, neither with regard to public discourses on Islam that they are confronted with, nor with regard to the (potential) religious dimension of their identities. Scheibelhofer mainly focuses on the ethnic and migrant dimension of his interlocutors’ identifications. The role of Islam in the young men’s identity constructions and their self-positioning vis-à-vis public discourses on Muslim masculinities could be explored in a more systematic way. This is also the case for much of the scholarship on Muslim* masculinities in Germany, which has thus far been conducted within sociology, migration studies, or educational science, mostly using qualitative interviews only, and 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Kugle/Hunt 2012. See Siraj 2006; 2016. Habib 2007; Amer 2009; Siraj 2016. See Boone 2015. Cf. Massad 2007; Bauer 2013. Cf. Archer 2001; Farooq 2011; Farooq/Parker 2009; Hopkins 2006; 2008; Hoque 2015; Isakjee 2012; Siraj 2006; 2014. On the German context, cf. Kurz 2017; for Austria, cf. Scheibelhofer 2008b; 2010a; 2014.

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mostly not investigating the Muslimness of the male interlocutors or the Muslim aspects of their (gender) identity constructions.101 The overlap of ethnic and religious difference, or migrant identities and Muslim identities (which exists in all of the above-mentioned works, although not always for the whole sample), are thereby overlooked. A religious perspective, as Siraj remarks more generally, is rarely adopted.102 In Western academic anthologies on men and masculinities, Muslim and other minority masculinities are rarely taken into account.103 This does not reflect the diversity of Western societies that these publications focus on regionally, but illustrates prevailing implicit norms of a white, secular, middleclass, heterosexual male subject and a blind spot of many scholars in the field. ‘Other’ masculinities in terms of ethnicity, race, religion and sexual orienta‐ tion are treated separately. The political scientist and anthropologist Paul Amar observes that masculinity studies have been governed by a focus on stigmatized sub-groups of society: While generic manliness or virility and the public or general figure of civilized mankind was attributed, by law and practice, to property-owning middle- or upperclass white men, masculinity was often interpellated as a figure of sexual excess or developmental atavism – marked by class/criminality or race/coloniality (Bederman 1995, Carver 1996). Masculinity studies, until today, remains haunted by the needs to problematize deviant, working-class, youth, colonized and racialized masculinities and to provide pragmatic interventions and public policy fixes.104

Looking at the way in which Muslim men in the German and UK context have been studied, the problematizing focus from the unmarked, hegemonic standpoint Amar criticizes is obvious. The contemporary study of Muslim masculinities has a frequent focus on patriarchy, criminality, and violence, portraying Muslim men (or Turkish, Arab, or ‘migrant’ men) as deviating from the norm of the white, middle-class, secular man who is supposedly committed to gender equality.105 Among the academic output on Muslim masculinities in the German context, there is a number of studies which focus 101 102 103

104 105

See e.g. Bukow et al. 2003; Haeger 2008; Huxel 2008a; 2008b; Spies 2010; Spindler 2006; 2010; Toprak 2005; Tunç 2008. See Siraj 2014, 101. Cf. also Bagheri 2012; Tunc 2008, 106. Among the publications dealing with men and masculinities that do not take Muslim masculinities into account are the following: BauSteineMänner (eds) 2001; Bereswill/Meuser/Scholz (eds) 2009; Bereswill/Neuber (eds) 2011; Bereswill/Scheiwe/Wolde (eds) 2006; Bosse/King (eds) 2000; Ervø/ Johansson (eds) 2003; Fenske/Schuhen (eds) 2012; Meuser 2009; Meuser/Scholz 2012; Mühling/Rost (eds) 2007; Prömper/Jansen/Ruffing (eds) 2012; Scholz 2012; and Walter (ed.) 2002. Wippermann/Calmbach/Wippermann 2009 conducted a representa‐ tive quantitative survey in Germany combined with qualitative approaches, where ethnicity and religion are not addressed in their category building and analysis. Amar 2011, 45. On academic and public discourse in Britain, see Hopkins 2006, 338.

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on violence and criminality and therefore to a certain extent reinforce the dominant view linking young Muslim men with violence and aggressiveness, even when they critically dismantle dominant discourses and stereotypes.106 Among these are the works by educational scientist Ahmet Toprak on Turkish men in Germany in the context of domestic violence (in family and marriage) and by Ahmet Toprak and psychologist Katja Nowacki on Muslim boys who were sentenced for violent assaults on others and who took part in antiaggression training, as well as the work of sociologist Tina Spies who investi‐ gated the identity constructions of three young men in Germany with a Turkish or Kurdish-Turkish migration history, also in the context of violence and criminality.107 In addition, migration scholar Susanne Spindler focuses on the masculinities of young ‘migrant’ men (many of them with a Turkish or Kurdish heritage) in German juvenile detention centres, with a special interest in body- and violence-based expressions of masculinity.108 2.2 The Racialized, Securitized and Sexualized Image of ‘the Muslim Man’ in Public European Discourse The challenges and conditions which European contexts with their secular discourses and Christian underpinnings pose to practicing Muslims, be they descendants of Arabic immigrants or ethnically German converts, in their daily life and in their constructions of identity and positioning need to be addressed critically.109 Muslims who are visible as such110 and people who are associated with ‘Muslimness’ in European contexts due to their skin colour or some kind of ‘Middle Eastern’ appearance, for example, but who might not actually be Muslims or who might not primarily identify as such, generally have to navigate stigmatization, discrimination, and anti-Muslim racism,111 and these phenomena play out in gendered ways.112 With regard to both Muslim men and women, sexuality features as a central battlefield for antiMuslim racism.113 The trope of the sexually oppressed Muslim woman is

106 107 108 109

110

111 112 113

Such as Spies 2010. Cf. Toprak 2005; Toprak/Nowacki 2012; Spies 2010. Cf. Spindler 2006; 2010; Bukow et al. 2003. For a critical discussion of the constant problematization of Islam and Muslims in European public discourses, cf. Amir-Moazami 2015; for the particular challenges ethnically German converts to Islam in contemporary Germany face in family, school and work contexts and in encounters with the state, cf. Özyürek 2015. E.g. through practices of dress such as headscarves, long garments, certain beard styles, or by becoming visible as Muslims through asking for halal food options at schools and the opportunity to pray at work. Cf. e.g. Bayraklı/Hafez (eds) 2017; Shooman 2014; Taras 2012. Cf. e.g. Jaffe-Walter 2016. See Messerschmidt 2016; Keskinkılıç n.d.

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complemented by the trope of the sexually dangerous and aggressive Muslim man.114 The image of ‘the Muslim man’ which is constructed in much public discourse, but also (as shown above) perpetuated in academic discourse on Islam and Muslims in Europe, shall be discussed here in particular. Muslim men’s identities are securitized in government-initiated radicalization preven‐ tion programmes,115 and Muslim men are hyper-sexualized and racialized in public discourse, as the heated debates after the assaults in Cologne (New Year’s Eve 2015/2016) show particularly clearly.116 The media discussions around the Cologne assaults attest to the racializa‐ tion of Muslims, and particularly male Muslims, in European secular contexts. Sexism, violence, and difference are ethnicized in much of the Cologne discourse, i.e. they are attributed exclusively and causally to a partic‐ ular ethnicity.117 Men belonging to marginalized groups of society are the targets of sexualized racism, or “ethnosexism”.118 Arab or Muslim men’s (supposed) gender constructions and sexism are linked causally to their ethnicity, race or religion, while white men’s sexism or gender constructions are not attributed to their ethnicity, race, religion or atheism.119 This can also be observed with regard to the recent ‘#MeToo’ campaign and the debates around US-film producer Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment in Holly‐ wood circles in autumn 2017. In seeking an answer to the asymmetry of ethnosexism, political scientist Ozan Keskinkılıç turns to the work of Greg Noble, suggesting that the figure of the Muslim is the “manifestation of evil”: ‘This imagining of evil moves from the idea of a specific act being evil, to the perpetrator being evil, to a cultural community being evil. Such moves constitute a kind of ‘permission’ to indulge in affectively charged social acts that target those identified as social demons.’ (Noble 2012: 220/221) Hence, the evil is projected onto all subjects who appear to be Muslim.120

Keskinkılıç shows how Muslim men have figured as ‘sexual danger’ in German anti-Muslim discourse both before and after Cologne.121 In this discourse, ‘truth’ about the Muslim/Arab/migrant man is produced in the 114 115 116 117 118 119

120 121

Cf. Dietze 2016. See Isakjee 2012. See Dietze 2016; Keskinkılıç n.d.; Scheibelhofer 2016. See Messerschmidt 2016. Dietze 2016, 4. Similarly, Louise Archer shows for educational discourses in Great Britain that white boys’ underachievement at school as compared to girls is explained differently from the underachievement of boys belonging to ethnic minorities. For white males, expla‐ nations refer to differences in social status/class or the high performance of women, but, “the problems facing ethnic minority males have been located inherently within their ‘race’ and culture, and the young men themselves have been positioned as part of ‘the problem’”, Archer 2001, 80. Keskinkılıç n.d., 69. For the Cologne discourse, see also Dietze 2016, 11.

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Foucauldian sense: He is constructed as an object of knowledge and inserted into a system of power which subjectifies him as problematic from the perspective of sexual politics.122 Keskinkılıç identifies the sexual motif as a central trope in anti-Muslim discourse with a colonial and orientalist legacy: the preoccupation with protecting the white woman from the dangerous and hypervirile sexuality of the Arab/Muslim/black man.123 The trope of the sexual danger posed to the nation’s (white) women (next to the trope of the radical or radicalized Muslim man as a security threat to the nation) is one that Arab, North-African, or in another sense Muslim* looking men in Germany (and certainly other European contexts) are confronted with and have to navigate in their daily life. Thus the German and European context imposes particular discursive conditions on Muslim men which are distinct from Muslim majority contexts and need to be critically taken into account when doing research on Muslim masculinities in Europe. In a case-study analysis of the discourse on Turkish men in Germany, Paul Scheibelhofer illustrates another facet of public discourse on Muslim* men and masculinities: the “discursive production of the ‘Turkish-Muslim man’”124 who is associated with patriarchy and religious fundamentalism. Scheibelhofer emphasizes the fact that hegemonic masculinity125 in the German and Austrian contexts is maintained in dominant societal discourses through attributing ‘archaic masculinity’ to migrant men,126 whereby the latter are marked as ‘Other’, and white, non-Muslim men and their masculinities are constructed as enlightened, progressive, and unproblematic. Sexism, patri‐ archy and violence among white men are thereby concealed. Through ongoing reiterations of these tropes in public discourse, such artic‐ ulations of Muslim* masculinities shape dominant views in society and thus work as performatives by producing realities through their pronouncement. They come to life in the social experience of Muslims and non-Muslims and acquire measurable effects. Social constructions of masculinities are given life by their articulation. Through repetition they can achieve a remarkable durability (Dunn 2001, 292). These ‘widely held shared beliefs’ or ‘commonsense’ understandings (Dwyer 1998, 53) are constantly yet subtly reinforced by television representations, newspaper and maga‐ zine images and other institutions (Said 1997; Dwyer 1998; Dunn 2001), and so influ‐ ence what Alexander calls the ‘dominant imagination’ (1998, 440).127

122 123 124 125 126 127

See Dietze 2016, 12. See Keskinkılıç n.d., 66. Scheibelhofer 2008a. Or hegemonic masculinities in the plural, as Meuser and Scholz argue, see Meuser/ Scholz 2005, 216. See Scheibelhofer 2010b. Hopkins 2006, 337.

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Thus, Muslim constructions of masculinity cannot be considered and studied in isolation from the particularities of the discursive context they are located in, and scholarship on Muslim masculinities in Europe has to be sensitive towards the workings of securitized and sexualized racism.

3. Conclusion In this article, I have provided a broad overview of a number of fields, texts and contexts which can be of interest with regard to Islam and constructions of masculinity. From a discussion of Qur’anic sex and gender terms, to constructions of gender and masculinity in Muslim legal and exegetical discourse, to contemporary studies of European Muslim* masculinities and public discourse on European Muslim* men, I have tried to address different Islam-related sites where constructions of gender and masculinity have been or can be studied. As the historian Mrinalini Sinha and others have remarked, there is poten‐ tial to extend the study of masculinities to the field of male-male relations.128 This could be fruitful with regard to further analysis of Muslim legal and tafsīr discourse, for example. Through the works of Omaima Abou-Bakr, Karen Bauer, and Kathrin Klausing, we get a partial idea of tafsīr authors’ conceptions of masculinity. It would be interesting to explore these beyond marriage and family. As Klausing rightly suggests, the reception history of tafsīr works deserves scholarly attention129 and could shed more light on gender constructions at different times. As to the realm of male-female rela‐ tions, legal practice (i.e. the examination of historical documents of law cases, court decisions, divorces) would also be worth looking at. With regard to the study of Muslim masculinities in Europe, I would like to highlight two points. First, we need to be careful not to essentialize Muslim masculinities, but to question to what extent men’s being Muslim affects their gender identity constructions, and to recognize the entanglement and intersec‐ tion of religion, race, ethnicity and nationality. Second, the sensitive political, social and discursive context, with the high visibility and marked-ness of Muslims in public discourse and public spheres, their racialization and sexu‐ alization (along with Muslim men’s securitization), demand an increased awareness of the danger of reproducing stigma or dominant views of normality in academic scholarship. This is particularly important given the dominant, stereotyped image of Muslim* men as hyper-masculine, misogy‐ nist, aggressive, violent and a sexual danger, or at least Europe’s suspicious

128 129

See Sinha 1999. See Klausing 2014, 246/247.

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130

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Ragab, Ahmed (2015): One, Two, or Many Sexes. Sex Differentiation in Medieval Islamicate Medical Thought. In: Journal of the History of Sexu‐ ality 24 (3), 428-454. Rippin, Andrew (2012): Tafsīr. In: Bearman, Peri / Bianquis, Thierry / Bosworth, Clifford E. / Van Donzel, Emeri / Heinrichs, Wolfhart P. (eds): Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2nd edition. Brill Online. URL: http://dx.doi.org/1 0.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_7294 [Accessed: 29/01/2018]. Roded, Ruth (2006): Alternate Images of the Prophet Muhammad’s Virility. In: Ouzgane, Lahoucine (ed.): Islamic Masculinities. London et al.: Zed Books, 57-71. Said, Edward W. (1997): Covering Islam. How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. London: Vintage. Salti, Ramzi M. (1997): Exploring Arab Concepts of hom*osexuality. Disserta‐ tion Thesis. University of California, Riverside. Salvatore, Armando (1999): Islam and the Political Discourse of Modernity. Reading: Ithaca Press. Scheibelhofer, Paul (2008a): Die Lokalisierung des Globalen Patriarchen. Zur diskursiven Produktion des ,türkisch-muslimischen Mannes‘ in Deutsch‐ land. In: Potts, Lydia / Kühnemund, Jan (eds): Mann wird man. Geschlechtliche Identitäten im Spannungsfeld von Migration und Islam. Bielefeld: Transcript, 39-52. Scheibelhofer, Paul (2008b): Ehre und Männlichkeit bei jungen türkischen Migranten. In: Baur, Nina / Luedtke, Jens (eds): Die soziale Konstruktion von Männlichkeit. Hegemoniale und marginalisierte Männlichkeiten in Deutschland. Opladen: Barbara Budrich, 183-199. Scheibelhofer, Paul (2010a): A Question of Honour? Masculinities and Posi‐ tionalities of Boys with Turkish Background in Vienna. In: Riegel, Chris‐ tine / Geisen, Thomas (eds): Jugend, Zugehörigkeit und Migration. Subjektpositionierung im Kontext von Jugendkultur, Ethnizitäts- und Geschlechterkonstruktionen. 2nd revised edition. Wiesbaden: VS, 275-290. Scheibelhofer, Paul (2010b): Die Krise des fremden Mannes? Hegemoniale Männlichkeit und Verschiebungen von Fremdkonstruktionen. In: EWE 21 (3), 392-394. Scheibelhofer, Paul (2014): Integrating the Patriarch? Negotiating Migrant Masculinity in Times of Crisis of Multiculturalism. Dissertation Thesis. Central European University, Budapest. URL: https://www.academia.edu/7 204181/_Integrating_the_Patriarch_Negotiating_Migrant_Masculinity_in_T imes_of_Crisis_of_Multiculturalism_PhD_Thesis_Manuscript [Accessed: 20/06/2016].

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Scheibelhofer, Paul (2016): Konstruktionen von Männlichkeit und Gewalt in Debatten um „Köln“. In: AEP – Informationen. Feministische Zeitschrift für Politik und Gesellschaft 2, 1-3 [PDF version of the author]. Schmitt, Arno / Sofer, Jehodea (eds) (1992): Sexuality and Eroticism Among Males in Moslem Societies. Binghampton, NY: Haworth Press. Scholz, Sylka (2012): Männlichkeitssoziologie. Studien aus den sozialen Feldern Arbeit, Politik und Militär im vereinten Deutschland. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot. Shields, Stephanie A. (2007): Passionate Men, Emotional Women: Psychology Constructs Gender Difference in the Late 19th Century. In: History of Psychology 10 (2), 92-110. Shooman, Yasemin (2014): „… weil ihre Kultur so ist“. Narrative des anti‐ muslimischen Rassismus. Bielefeld: Transcript. Sinha, Mrinalini (1999): Giving Masculinity a History. Some Contributions from the Historiography of Colonial India. In: Gender & History 11 (3), 445-460. Siraj, Asifa (2006): On Being hom*osexual and Muslim. Conflicts and Chal‐ lenges. In: Ouzgane, Lahoucine (ed.): Islamic Masculinities. London et al.: Zed Books, 202-216. Siraj, Asifa (2014): “Men Are Hard… Women Are Soft”. Muslim Men and the Construction of Masculine Identity. In: Gelfer, Joseph (ed.): Masculini‐ ties in a Global Era. New York: Springer, 101-116. Siraj, Asifa (2016): British Muslim Lesbians. Reclaiming Islam and Reconfig‐ uring Religious Identity. In: Contemporary Islam 10 (2), 185-200. Spies, Tina (2010): Migration und Männlichkeit. Biographien junger Straffälliger im Diskurs. Bielefeld: Transcript. Spindler, Susanne (2006): Corpus delicti. Männlichkeit, Rassismus und Krim‐ inalisierung im Alltag jugendlicher Migranten. Münster: Unrast-Verlag. Spindler, Suanne (2010): Eine andere Seite männlicher Gewalt. Männlichkeit und Herkunft als Orientierung und Falle. In: Riegel, Christine / Geisen, Thomas (eds): Jugend, Zugehörigkeit und Migration. Subjektposition‐ ierung im Kontext von Jugendkultur, Ethnizitäts- und Geschlechterkon‐ struktionen. 2nd revised edition. Wiesbaden: VS, 291-308. Taras, Raymond (2012): Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Toprak, Ahmet / Nowacki, Katja (2012): Muslimische Jungen. Prinzen, Machos oder Verlierer? Ein Methodenhandbuch. Freiburg: Lambertus.

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Toprak, Ahmet (2005): Das schwache Geschlecht – die türkischen Männer. Zwangsheirat, häusliche Gewalt, Doppelmoral der Ehre. Freiburg: Lambertus. Tunç, Michael (2008): „Viele türkische Väter fliehen von zu Hause“. Mehrfache ethnische Zugehörigkeiten und Vaterschaft im Spannungsfeld von hegemonialer und progressiver Männlichkeit. In: Potts, Lydia / Kühnemund, Jan (eds): Mann wird man. Geschlechtliche Identitäten im Spannungsfeld von Migration und Islam. Bielefeld: Transcript, 105-132. Val, Mohamed S. M. (2013): Rethinking the Qiwāmah. A Qur’āno-Centric Evaluation of Modern Women Exegetes’ Perspectives. In: Al-Bayān 11 (2), 55-70. Walter, Heinz (ed.) (2002): Männer als Väter. Sozialwissenschaftliche Theorie und Empirie. Giessen: Psychosozial. Wippermann, Carsten / Calmbach, Marc / Wippermann, Katja (2009): Männer: Rolle vorwärts, Rolle rückwärts? Identitäten und Verhalten von traditionellen, modernen und postmodernen Männern. Opladen: Barbara Budrich. Wright, Jerry W. Jr. / Rowson, Everett K. (eds) (1997): hom*oeroticism in Classical Arabic Literature. New York: Columbia University Press.

The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities: A FarReaching Field of Inquiry Amanullah De Sondy All around the world, the chattering classes have noticed that young men in particular seem restless, prone to antisocial and even misanthropic fugues. They seem lost. Middle-aged men seem left behind. In general, it seems as if our ‘gendered’ lives are quite dysfunctional today. As the sociologist Sallie Westwood highlighted: What is clear is that the lived reality of family life is increasingly diverse with less marriage, more divorce and more women as lone parents. […] Statistically the classic nuclear family accounts for only 24 per cent of households, while lone parent families now constitute 9 per cent of families; and with the growing age of the popu‐ lation 26 per cent of households are single person households (General Household Survey 1993). Fertility rates have fallen and women, on average, have their first child at 28.1

In academia, scholars of masculinity studies have been thinking about this fundamental change for at least a decade and identified a potential ‘crisis of masculinity’. My own work borrows the term: The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities2 which was the first full, book-length focus on Muslim masculinities. Despite the title, one might ask whether there really is a crisis of masculinities generally, and within Islamic studies and the study of Muslims in particular. If we focus on heteronormative understandings of human beings and a static understanding of religions, then there is no crisis. But because we live in a world where the margins are now more vocal and visible, the field has actually changed. We have been talking about different genders for decades now. And we are beginning to appreciate living religion in ways that we often did not in the past. No faith tradition remains a mono‐ lith today under these circ*mstances. An inquiry into Islam via masculinities studies emerges on the coat tails of the foundations laid out by Muslim feminists. As Grayson Perry, the English contemporary artist, maintained in his most recent musings on The Descent of Man:3 Understandably, women have led the discussions about gender. They are the ones who have been most oppressed by its constraints, after all. On the subject of gender, the feelings of many men can be summed up as “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, the status quo seems to work for them. But I am asking: 1 2 3

Westwood 1996, 26. De Sondy 2014. Perry 2016.

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Does it? Really? What if half the victims of masculinity are men? Masculinity might be a straightjacket that is keeping men from ‘being themselves’, what‐ ever that might mean. In their drive for domination, men may have neglected to prioritize vital aspects of being wholly human, particularly issues around mental health.4 The term ‘feminist’ should be understood loosely since some may not iden‐ tify as feminist, but it is important to note their immense contribution in iden‐ tifying and highlighting how manifest the ‘male’ is in Islamic circles. It is then important to begin any discussion on Islamic masculinities through this important vantage point as it quickly makes clear that this inquiry works in relation to, in support of and elaborating on the work of great Muslim femi‐ nists. It was Muslim feminists who challenged patriarchal interpretations of Islam’s holiest text, the Qur’an. The outcome has been seismic and immense. Muslim men are now having to answer for their own gender and can no longer construct their own masculinity by furnishing text upon text on ‘Muslim women’. As Kecia Ali, the renowned expert on Islamic law from the USA, stated: Twenty years ago, when I was an undergraduate, another student in a history seminar casually referred to women as ‘people of gender’. He was not being ironic. At the time, I felt amused and superior and frustrated: not only did he not get it but he really didn’t get it. Two decades later, my amusem*nt has taken on a rueful tinge: despite the formulaic acknowledgment that masculinity and femininity are recipro‐ cally constructed, ‘gender’ scholarship in my field, Islamic Studies, has focused almost exclusively on women.5

In this short essay, I want to highlight some key points in the crisis of Islamic masculinities and argue that issues of gender, especially masculinity are crucial for our understanding of Islam and Muslims. I will develop this argu‐ ment with some discussion on two of the most current and critical concerns – namely Islamophobia and hom*ophobia.

1. The Qur’anic World of Prophets and Ideals of Masculinity In my initial attempt at understanding Muslim views on Islamic masculinity, I remember speaking with a friend in Glasgow about what he understood to be Islamic masculinity. “It’s all about the prophet Muhammad, is it not? He’s the perfect model”, he said. But what exactly did that mean? The prophet Muhammad’s life is extremely colourful and is inextricably bound to the revelation of the Qur’an. How do Muslims today live their life in relation to a human being who is said to embody the ideals of Islam? This is no easy task, 4 5

See ibid., 3/4. Ali 2012.

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especially since the prophet was a ‘man’ whose masculinity has, until now, never been in question. In one view the prophet Muhammad’s sayings and actions are, in a way, taken out of his bodily experience, but it is also his bodily experiences that many Muslims look up to and aim to emulate. Who does this include and exclude? It is these different shades in the life of the prophet Muhammad that have allowed for a variety of images to be painted of the last prophet of Islam. The multiple marriages of the prophet Muhammad are an issue of contentious debate both in terms of his vocation of submitting to God and upholding sexual ethics through them. Returning back to the role of the prophet then, one would understand that Muhammad’s main mission was to serve God and have others do the same. During the contemporary period, this was not affected by his multiple marriages, but in fact strengthened, as his focus was on strengthening his relationship of submission to God and not to any other human being. This may further challenge the concept of marriage and monog‐ amous relationships, which, at times, could become a hindrance to submitting fully to God alone, and there are examples in the lives of prophets who do not marry. The Islamic prophet Jesus’ life is one of those examples. It begins and ends in circ*mstances that defy every social norm that supports notions of a nuclear family or the gendered roles found within them. Born as a boy, his ultimate role in submission to God as a messenger is exactly the same as all other prophets, including Muhammad whose family life is more conventional. Yet God removes the biological issues in Jesus’ being, comparable to that of Adam, although making it evident that he was created, at least, from a substance. In doing so, God raised Jesus’ agency beyond biology and family matters. Unlike Adam, Joseph and Muhammad, there is no mention of Jesus having a female companion in the Qur’an, which further distances Jesus from the others. This in turn raises the question of Jesus’ masculinity and in what way it is to be understood, if at all. The Qur’an does mention that Jesus was of the same nature of Adam, as is stated in the Qur’an, “Verily, in the sight of God, the nature of Jesus is as the nature of Adam, whom he created out of dust and then said unto him, ‘Be’ – and he is”.6 If God believed that Adam needed to have a partner in the form of Eve as an essential part of Islamic masculinity then, one might ask, would Jesus not also have had a wife? The way in which Islamic traditions are interpreted through gendered norms plays a role in shaping and policing masculinity in Islamic societies. It effects not just the interaction of men and women but also understandings of Islam. Both notions are ineluctably interlinked. Such processes are not just affected by discussions from the pulpit in the mosque but also through a 6

Qur’an 3:59.

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variety of other means, since society as a whole, not just Islam, is focused on constructing specific forms of masculinity. This point was argued by the soci‐ ologist C.W. Franklin II, who commented: Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, popular lyrics and the like all contribute to sex-role socialization. Inauspiciously, research shows that many mass media messages contain stereotypes of male and female sex roles.7

For this reason, in my work I focus on prophets and prophecy within the Qur’an to explore the question, which prophet’s life leads to an ideal Islamic masculinity? Was it their lived examples, their gender, their marriages, or their lack of marriages that lead us to a concrete conclusion about Islamic masculinity? Qur’anic stories about male prophets are just as complex as the varying lives we find in our world today. From the very first forms of creation we see diversity at its core. A prophetic tradition, Hadith, from Muhammad highlighted this with regards to diversity in early creation: Imam Ahmad has narrated from Abu Musa, who said that the Prophet said, Allah has created Adam from a handful (soil) which He had gathered from all over the earth. That is how the children of Adam came according to the (color and nature of the) earth. There are white among them, as well as red and black, and cross colors. There are those among them who are of bad nature and good nature, soft as well as harsh and in between.8

What was common to all prophets was their central relationship and submis‐ sion to God. I use the term ‘submission’ as loosely and illustratively as possible: that individuals had some commitment to and awareness of that power above and beyond, which in some way affected their lives. The vari‐ eties and shades of their lives support the view that the Qur’an, that divine and inimitable text from God, celebrated a variety of differently gendered lives and actually does not promote an ideal of masculinity or femininity. As stated in the Qur’an: Are thou not aware that God sends down water from the skies, whereby We bring forth fruits of many hues – just as in the mountains there are streaks of white and red of various shades, as well as [others] raven-black, and [as] there are in men, and in crawling beasts, and in cattle, too, many hues? Of all His servants, only such as are endowed with [innate] knowledge stand [truly] in awe of God: [for they alone comprehend that,] verily, God is almighty, much-forgiving.9

7 8 9

Franklin II 1984, 41. Ibn Kathir 2003, 30. Qur’an 35:26-28.

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2. Bridging Messy and Dysfunctional Worlds: Earthly and Divine The Qur’anic world’s messy and even dysfunctional Islamic masculinities complement our lived realities, our earthly world as we know and see it, which in a way makes the text seem more human, more difficult to press into narrow service for restrictive social ends. In fact, reorienting Muslim life around submission, or surrender – the very definition of the word Islam – at once appreciates the all-encompassing human condition that equalizes genders and activates the intrinsic value of multiplicity in interpretation. It is for this reason that I have begun to call the Qur’an a perfectly ambiguous and superbly dysfunctional text. The Qur’an is at the very root of all shapes and forms. It is the ethical and moral consequences that plague those who wish to uphold a particular form of ‘Islamic’, be it from reducing or destroying the liberty of another human being to destroying one’s own self for the liberty of another human being. The Qur’an is the one text that a billion Muslims believe is inimitable, perfect and clear. But after an extensive survey of the Qur’anic world of human beings, I continue to find no single form of Islamic masculinity. There are no two men alike within the Qur’an. The Qur’an is full of men, women, prophets, angels and supernatural beings that all have only one commandment to fulfil and that is submission only to God. The Qur’an appreciates and celebrates that this singular commandment from being to being cannot be replicated. It is for this reason that Islamic cultures vary, and Islamic acts by men and women vary.

3. The Pluralist Challenge in Muslim Worlds: The Lawful and Prohibited I hope there continues to be further interrogation on the relationship between masculinity and Islamic law.10 There is something quite scary about ‘law’: it sharpens the edges and psychologically pushes one to consider some form of order and monolithic position. But when one turns to the sources of that law, the Qur’an and the prophetic traditions, one sees how much softer the edges are. Softer and more ambiguous edges were mind-boggling for the medieval jurists who wanted to create social order in society. They remained steadfast in their resolve of sharpening the edges. Those Muslims and non-Muslims who seek to be the ‘reformers’ of Islam are in fact missing the point. Muslim men and women from the very beginning have been understanding, forming and reforming their own claims on what is ‘Islamic’. In the current state of 10

See Jahangir/Abdullatif 2016.

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affairs where we seek quick fixes to our understanding of Islam and being Muslim, which inevitably leads to state politics and grossly generalized understandings of Muslim men and women, we fail to appreciate the diversity. In our new world where divergent voices and lived realities are becoming more visible we often see polarized views. This has been worrying for some Muslims who hold idealized views of the perfect Ummah (community) of all Muslims which should remain united. To this end, some have attempted to be bridge builders of all these opposing views and lives. In fact, there are many organizations that claim to be the ‘middle ground’ in Islam. What they fail to realize is that differences are central to the Qur’anic world which clearly extends to the diverse and global Ummah in the past and in the present. Polar opposites should be able to hold their own ground. The real issue is pluralism and how Muslims accept alternative ‘Islams’. This is the biggest challenge to Muslims today, but in profound tension with the Godly instruction that comes from the Qur’an on submitting only to God, upholding good and destroying evil and bad. This instruction has easily led many Muslims to label one thing permissible and the other forbidden. The gendered way in which these state‐ ments are made, almost always by men, is now being debated and exposed. Much of the theoretical framings of our discussions on gender are ‘Western’ which we attempt to impose into global cultural settings. ‘We do this here, why do they not do that there?’ This is probably the most damaging question in strengthening our cultural divides. This requires an appreciation of the sense and sensibilities of Muslims, yet to be unwavering in our critical approach and questioning. As the Islamic legal expert from the USA, Khaled Abou El Fadl stated: One should start with the Muslim experience and then carefully consider the ways that either Gadamer or Habermas, or both, might be utilized in the service of the Muslim experience. However, even in this process of utilization, reasonableness demands that one not pillage through the Muslim experience with categories that reconstruct and re-model that experience according to Western paradigms.11

We, here in the West, are often expected to accept and act in accordance with the narrative that in some way we are ‘worlds apart’ from countries beyond Europe and North America. Is this really the case? Is it time for us to uncondition our mind and actions in our thinking that the ‘West’ is more enlightened on matters and the ‘rest’ are catching up? In any country, gender and sexuality are shaped by religion, which has evolved along distinct trajec‐ tories, but in every case, religion supplies adherents with a basis for under‐ standing the world. Today, we are pulled into the politics of understanding, attaching or separating ‘religious’ or ‘secular’. Religion scholars like me spend a long time thinking about complicated issues that are then reduced in 11

El Fadl 2001, 99.

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public discourse to sartorial matters – what we wear or what we don’t wear. Binaries reign supreme when we try to classify issues of gender and sexuality as ‘traditional’ or ‘modern’. Issues we think of as ‘modern’ were present but silenced in the past. ‘Traditions’ aren’t so much regressions as they are markers of hegemony – what has been accorded authority. It is the challenge to traditional authority structures in religions and society that has allowed us to finally see vibrant diversity. The world is changing precisely because of how important diversity, with all its complexities, is to society. The social media boom now pushes us closer to places we never imagined or imagined in the most extreme way. The challenges and counter-narratives are now in full bloom, and the time for generalizing about places and peoples is past. Ideas and actions grow when they react with each other. As an academic, I appreciate that it is through cross-disciplinary work in the arts and humanities that we begin to explore the deeper problems and questions in all their dimensions. We are beginning to appreciate that diversity and difference enrich our society. And yet appreci‐ ating the depth of pluralism and diversity shakes our own world while we move towards appreciating a completely different one, ideally an equal one. Grand narratives pitting country against country, or continent against conti‐ nent, are not helping us understand the world. We see progress made in places such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan when they expand rights for women and uphold the humanity of transgender people. There isn’t a single continuum from backward to progressive onto which we could plot these current events. It is this diversity and pluralism that challenges the fanatics who play on cultural divides. Adopting a more global approach to the ‘shared troubles’ of gender and sexuality can be an effective tool against extremists on all sides. But fear of the other is not always diminished through intellectual activity. Teaching in the USA for six years made me realize this infinitely more. I always thought critical teaching would help eliminate the stereotypes and prejudices that students might have of Islam. But, lingering in the back of my head, was the question, would my challenge to critique and question, in the hope that students see something beautiful in Islam, be a waste of time if one of these students had lost someone in 9/11? Losing a loved one in a terrorist act is something I cannot even imagine having to live through or intellectually think through. Lived realities have a massive effect on what we fear and hate. I grew up in Glasgow, frequenting mosques in my early years, always unsure about Jews who I lumped together in all sorts of stereotypes. These were not rational thoughts – they were based on a long fermenting process of ideas that made Jews into ‘monsters’. It was not until I visited Jerusalem for a confer‐ ence that I finally began to think about Jews as actually quite human. This might sound quite absurd but the same is probably true for many people’s ideas and perceptions about Muslims. By exposing my own shortcomings in

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this way I hope that we may better identify our own, human, stereotypes and prejudices and seek ways to challenge and counter them with reason, ratio‐ nality and most of all humility. These types of fears associated with what we call ‘religion’ are connected to the human. We must begin to appreciate these connections in order to better understand masculinity’s central significance. These are the complexities and far-reaching fields of inquiry that we reach when we begin to interrogate masculinities studies in the study of religions generally and Islam in particular.

4. Islamophobia and hom*ophobia – Two Sides of the Same Coin? We do live in troubled times. Recently the Orlando shooting in June 2016 has made me all the more aware that the crisis of Islamic masculinities continues. The shooter, Omar Mateen, a closeted gay man of Afghani Muslim back‐ ground, grew up in Florida most likely stuck between different worlds. A collision perhaps of what he wanted to be and what the world and his parents wanted him to be. Internalized hom*ophobia, trying to live up to the ideals of Islam that are inextricably bound with masculinity was something that was probably so repressed and suppressed that it ended in the most horrific and bloodiest of ways. I was personally affected by this event because I lived in Florida for five years, having taught at the University of Miami. Mateen is but one of those troubled souls who was weaned onto a bloody path of an Islamic understanding that cannot be separated from gender – from maleness. The day after Omar Mateen’s horrific act, I wrote in the Washington Post12 that it is now untenable to call for building bridges in the hope of countering Islamophobia without including the depth of diversity within Muslim commu‐ nities. And today, Muslim communities are being dragged into the reality of acknowledging, albeit silently, that LGBTQ13 Muslims do exist and they cannot be overlooked. These margins face both Islamophobia and hom*o‐ phobia every day.14 This is a thorny issue within Muslim communities, who find it difficult to find the rainbow within historical, rigid understandings of the tradition. But it is possible to find different colours of a tradition, text or law if we begin by associating that text with the lives of those who uphold it. Of course, it is also easy to find the dark, gloom or heterocentric within the Muslim tradition. We must remember that much of this ‘tradition’ was written

12 13 14

See De Sondy 2016. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. See Mourchid 2010.

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by heterosexual Muslim men who may have been under pressure to uphold particular forms of gender and sexual custom in print. The challenge for Muslim communities around the globe today lies in finding and appreciating differences and pluralism and supporting the lives of believers who do not fit societal norms. As the specialist in Islamic and inter‐ religious studies at Edinburgh University, Mona Siddiqui stated: The believer may have to step outside traditional norms of faith and practice and make himself vulnerable to new thinking and new learning. Faith is about openness and humility, not defiant conviction. The earth has been left in man’s trust and the burden of this responsibility cannot be overemphasized. If the moral of the creation story places man in a dominant position to other beings, then earth and its resources are intertwined in a covenant which man has undertaken with God. This covenant extends to our relations with other humans. God’s omniscience and majesty remains untouched by what we do, say or write; we can never exhaust his words, but we can reflect God’s overriding mercy in more generous readings of our scripture. If we want to draw closer to God, we must respectfully draw closer to each other.15

The case of Mateen highlights some of the hurt and trauma that effects many. Muslims are now thinking carefully about what goes through the mind of that closeted Muslim man listening to the statements of heterosexual male Muslim leaders who dismiss them. They may well end up married to someone of the opposite sex because they fear losing their position in the Muslim community. These complex case studies of hidden sexualities and spiritual oppression inadvertently strengthen heterosexual Muslim individuals, who thus stand to represent not just Islam but the ‘ideal’ gender and sexuality. Yet the narrative that is told by many Muslims who want to maintain narrow understandings of the faith and represent it in bridge building plat‐ forms cause devastating effects on marginal Muslims. The space most affected are the interfaith platforms, which often wheel out ‘tame’ Muslims who often say very little about this predicament – ‘let’s not ask those difficult questions, especially on race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality’. This is prob‐ ably because they are not being talked about in intrafaith discussions and by not highlighting them at the interfaith level, they cement further a monolithic understanding of Islam and Muslims. It is also imperative for any survey on Muslim lives that issues of gender and sexuality are not omitted. Omar Mateen was clearly influenced by the Christian-inflected mentality of ‘Love the sinner not the sin’ to carry out a most horrific act against men at a place where he felt loved. Many a Muslim has invoked the spectre of Islamophobia as a way of stopping critical debate and this is where we need a further inter‐ rogation of Islamophobia and hom*ophobia.

15

Siddiqui 2008, 105.

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Fear emerges in the face of radical difference, and gender and sexuality have all the ingredients for that. Medieval legal scholars of Islam were guided by the drive to create order in society, and gender and sexuality were the foundations. A fundamentalist reading of the text alludes to the fact that the Qur’an evolves and revolves around a central figure – God, the creator of all things beautiful, and everything that surrounds find solace and happiness in submitting to that one God. Yet within this Qur’an there are no neat models – the submission of angels, supernatural beings (jinns) and prophets is a personal and individual relationship with the divine and that cannot be dupli‐ cated from one to the other. Yet we have still attributed gender and sexual norms as Islamic or un-Islamic. If Islam is submission, it can be as hom*ophobic or LGBTQ-friendly as one wants it to be. Stories from within the text can be read in any which way. Those dysfunctional and messy figures in the text leave that all-important endeavour of understanding faith and belief to those who read that text. A recent statement by a gay Muslim writer made an exceptional point. He said the work of LGBTQ Muslims rests on intimacy, affection and companionship, while conservatives base their work on anal intercourse. He is not wrong. Sexual practices that were not heterocentric were and still are more fluid in Muslim-majority countries. Mughal India is indicative of this: it was quite the norm for the Mughal lad to have a wife at home with kids, a courtesan for entertainment and a lad or two at the side. LGBTQ Muslims are no longer sitting in silence. Now more than ever before we are beginning to see and hear them loud and proud. But again, one size does not fit all. This is a challenge to that world of Islam which patriar‐ chal, heterosexual Muslims have worked so hard to keep strong. Islamic masculinities studies develop our understanding of Muslim life in all its complexities and refines a more realistic approach to what is deemed ‘Islamic’. Islamophobia has helped strengthen the mainstream. ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’ is no longer tenable and this reality is sending shockwaves from mosque to mosque. In the British context, new generations of Muslims are navigating through their parents’ heritage, bound to Islamic understanding, and we need to bear in mind that most of these parents were economic migrants whose understanding of Islam is different from the rich, social elites who did not move to the West to undertake menial jobs. This shift is explored more clearly in the recent study on Scottish Muslims by Stefano Bonino in which he stated: As both informal conversations and, particularly, personal acquaintanceship with younger Muslims in town suggests, several members of the community can now be found mixing in social activities with non-Muslim people and enjoying ‘forbidden pleasures’ that would be stigmatized by many in the Muslim community. It is hard to

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quantify the extent of this trend as not all young Muslims partake in, or condone, these behaviours. Yet, the new Muslim community is being reshaped around Scot‐ tish patterns of acculturation and mixed socialization that defy traditional under‐ standings of Muslimness through the morally pristine and ethno-culturally coloured lenses of the migrant community.16

A new generation of voices is emerging. The never-ending hijab debate comes to mind – about twenty years ago we were not used to hearing from Muslim women who took ownership of their faith and stood out as non-hijab wearers – these are now our everyday British Muslim role models.

5. Conclusions There is a theoretical framework used in the study of religions that scholars have been obsessing about for many years: it is, simply, the notion of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’17 perspectives and analysis, assessing what the advan‐ tages and disadvantages of this framework are, while critiquing its processes of inclusion and exclusion. I have spent a long time thinking about this. As a teacher in a classroom I want my students to think critically about concepts – Islamophobia and hom*ophobia being just two of many. Yet I am also aware of the privilege that I hold as an insider – I am male, brown, identify as a prac‐ ticing Muslim and have a Scottish accent – all of this makes what I am saying more palatable. Islamophobia and hom*ophobia are a concern for many of us and as an academic, detailing the deconstruction and history of these terms is open for all. But in conclusion my serious challenge is to my fellow Muslims. That we must challenge ourselves both inside and outside in appreciating internal pluralism and diversity and by taking such action we are not corralled into a siege mentality that hardens our drive toward creating uniform, mono‐ lithic and cookie cutter forms of Islamic traditions which in reality break out of every mould we wish to place it in to. Highlighting Islamic diversity is a powerful tool in combatting Islamophobia and hegemonic masculinity because both are based on rigid monoliths that in reality do not exist. Reform has been happening for a very long time amongst Muslims – every living Muslim understands Islam differently and so we must continue to appreciate the extraordinary in the ordinary lives of Muslims from straight to queer.

16 17

Bonino 2016, 88/89. See McCutcheon (ed.) 2005.

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Bibliography Ali, Kecia (2012): Muslim Masculinities – Men Have Gender Too. URL: https://feminismandreligion.com/2012/08/21/muslim-masculinities-men-hav e-gender-too-by-kecia-ali/) [Accessed: 14/01/2018]. Bonino, Stefano (2016): Muslims in Scotland – The Making of Community in a Post-9/11 World. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. De Sondy, Amanullah (2014): The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities. London: Bloomsbury Academic. De Sondy, Amanullah (2016): LGBT Muslims Do Exist and They Are Grieving. It’s Time for Acceptance. In: Washington Post, 13/06/2016. URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/06/13/lgbt-m uslims-do-exist-and-they-are-grieving-its-time-for-acceptance/?utm_term=. 966c222cdcfb [Accessed: 08/01/2018]. El Fadl, Khaled Abou (2001): Speaking in God’s Name – Islamic Law, Authority and Women. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. Franklin II, Clyde W. (1984): The Changing Definition of Masculinity. New York: Plenum Press. Ibn Kathir, Hafiz (2003): Stories of the Prophets. Translated by Rashad Ahmad Azami. Jeddah: Darussalam Publishers. Jahangir, Junadid / Abdullatif, Hussein (2016): Islamic Law and Same-Sex Unions. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. McCutcheon, Russel T. (ed.) (2005): The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion. A Reader. London, New York: Continuum. Mourchid, Younes (2010): The Dialectics of Islamophobia and hom*ophobia in the Lives of Gay Muslims in the United States. In: Counterpoints 346, 187-203. Perry, Grayson (2016): The Descent of Man. London: Allen Lane, Penguin Random House. Siddiqui, Mona (2008): How to Read the Qur’an. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Westwood, Sallie (1996): f*ckless fathers. Masculinities and the British State. In: Mac an Ghaill, Máirtín (ed.): Understanding Masculinities – Social Relations and Cultural Arenas. Buckingham: Open University Press, 21-34.

3. Masculinities in Talmudic and Medieval Judaism

An Overview of Masculinity in Judaism: A Bibliographical Essay Admiel Kosman 1. Men as the Wielders of Authority and Power in Jewish Sources At least until the end of the 1970s, men were usually thought to be the almost exclusive representatives of Judaism – the possessors of the power needed for this religion’s continued future existence.1 Suffice it to say that Judaism generally sees God as a male figure;2 the progenitors of the nation are all males; the individual who, according to Jewish tradition, first received the Torah from God is a male leader (Moses);3 and the sages who were authorized to interpret the Oral Law – from the time following the destruction of the Temple,4 continuing with the composition of the Talmud5 and the medieval authorities, to the decisors of Jewish law in recent generations (in the

1 2

3 4

5

See Baskin 2005, 3350. On this in the Bible, see May 1941; Clines 2015a; Clines 2015b; Clines 2010. Nor should we lose sight of the biblical God who is frequently depicted as a mighty warrior who vanquishes His foes. See Cross 1966; Longman 1995; Klingbeil 1999; Paterson 2004; see also Murphy 1961. On the generally male portrayal of God in religion, especially from the psychological perspective, see Peterson 2010. In order, however, to balance the picture, we should add that we already also hear of the female aspect of the divine in the Bible; see Bulkeley 2011; see also the survey of Ruether 2005; Pardes 2000, 29-31; see also Kosman 2012a, 153 n. 68. Later on, in the Jewish mystical literature, we hear once again of the Shekhinah as the female aspect of the Godhead in the Kabbalah; see Roi 2003 (see also below, n. 57); on God as giving suck from His breasts (or the Shekhinah doing so), see Roi 2017, 351 n. 96-98. We should add to this the fact that the worship of the goddess Asherah was most likely prevalent in the popular Israelite strata in the time of the Bible, and that YHWH Himself was perceived as possessing a mate (namely, Asherah). An extensive literature has been written on this; for a listing of most of these sources, see Kosman 2015, 41-44. Furthermore, the picture of the relationship between men and women in the biblical period is much more balanced than that in the time of the Mishnah and Talmud. Generally speaking, the image of the biblical woman is positive, and at times she even holds a position of leadership. See the literature cited by Grossman 2011a, 522 n. 11. On the question of male prophecy, see Clines 2002; on women and the priestly service in the Temple, see the sources mentioned by Knohl 2007, 26 n. 7. For the traditional list of key individuals who received the Torah one from the other for transmission to the following generations, see M (=Mishnah) Avot 1:1; for a discussion of this list, see Blidstein 1998. As is to be expected, this list is composed entirely of men. Goldberger’s list of Amoraim (the sages of the Talmud) contains 2,307 names – all, without exception, men. On this list, see Beer 1974, 364 n. 7.

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Orthodox Sector) – all, without exception, are males.6 And even the future Messiah of whom the Jewish sources speak is depicted as a male figure.7 In order, however, to put this picture into proper perspective, it should be recalled that the Jewish male hegemony over the community, the home, and Jewish tradition did not significantly differ from that of any other group known to us in the premodern period in the regions in which the Jews lived. According to one opinion, the male dominance of different human groups has biological-essentialist roots; consequently, male hegemony is a natural phenomenon present in some degree or other in all the cultures of the past. Although this explanation has come under intense attack by feminist thinkers who view male rule as an arbitrary product of social construction,8 the fact that the situation in antiquity (and in many places, to this day) is so perceived is decisive, and is cardinal for our discussion.9

6

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8

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Women having no place in this chain of tradition can also be learned from an additional fact: in different places in Jewish literature the element of giving birth is transferred from the biological mother to the rabbi who teaches Torah to the pupil, and is therefore deemed to have given birth to the latter. This conception is already present in the Bible. See, e.g., 2 Kings 2:12, in which Elisha refers to Elijah: “Oh, father, father! Israel’s chariots and horsem*n!” And in the language of the rabbis in Sifre, Deuteronomy 34 (trans.: Hammer 1986, 64): “Just as disciples are called sons, so the teacher is called father”. See also Lerner 1986b. These substitutions are to be found in other religions, as well. In Hinduism, Athrava Veda speaks of the disciple who is in the master’s womb, from where he is reborn; see Vedalankar et al. 1981, 125-127. The Christian sources speak of the teacher who gives birth to the student from anew and nurses him from the milk of Christianity; see Buell 1999; see also T (=Tosefta) Horayot 2:7 (Zuckermandel 1881, 476): “Whence do we know that whoever teaches his fellow is deemed as if he has created him, formed him, and brought him into the world? As it is said, ‘If you produce what is noble out of the worthless, you shall be as My mouth’ [Jer 15:19] – as the mouth that placed [literally, threw] a soul in man, thus, whoever brings a single creature under the wings of Heaven is regarded as if he created him, formed him, and brought him into the world”. On the student sucking Torah from the breasts of the rabbi, see Kosman 2012a, 146-149. In another context, on the ability to procreate as one of the signs of masculinity, see below, n. 65. For a summation of the traditions that portray the Messiah (obviously, as a man), see Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hil. Melakhim ve-Milkhamot (Laws of Kings and Their Wars), chapters 11/12. It should be added that in the history of the messianic movements that have arisen at different times within Jewish communities, the leading figure was always male; there is no extant documentation of a female figure who sought to lead such a movement. On the essentialist positions and the feminist opposition to them, see Lerner 1986a, 15ff., esp. the discussion, 18-35. See also Grosz 1995. Judith Butler is regarded as the most extreme representative of the feminist opposition, especially in her books: Butler 2015a; Butler 2015b. In relation to the world of the Rabbis, see Boyarin 1993, 242-245. Anthropologists and researchers of the beginnings of human development commonly believe that (more or less) equality reigned (depending on local conditions and the specific group), but as time passed, as hunting developed, with the dependency on meat and the transition to a more consistent division between homebound women and male hunters, men’s status rose above that of women. For a review of the research in this

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Before we turn to the main issue which we will survey below, I wish to explain the methodological principle that has guided me in writing this article. Although this survey is concerned with Jewish masculinity, we could not explore the various aspects of masculinity without examining the other side of the coin, namely, women and femininity. This was already noted by the researcher of masculinity Harry Brod,10 who asserted that masculinity could not be studied without its (self-evident) immediate context of women and femininity.11 Since the central standing of the male in Jewish tradition – as in the overwhelming majority of other traditions – is self-evident, then this survey will primarily explore the tension between the male’s central domi‐ nance and the standing of the female and femininity in Jewish tradition.12

2. Male Control of the Female: An Initial Insight The male right to dominate the female that the Bible presumably affords is the cardinal question in all the discussions of the standing in Judaism – and in the Abrahamic religions in general – of the male in relation to the female. In the most prevalent contemporary approach, the paucity of extant texts written by women in antiquity and in the medieval period attests to women having been silenced. I offer a different hypothesis, which will be explained below. Suffice it to say for now that this article is based on a different view of this lack of written female testimonies. I argue that this silence could in fact teach that women unquestioningly (or almost so) accepted their secondary position to men as the ‘natural’ state of affairs, and that their energies during these periods were not channelled into bitterness over their inferior status, but were directed to completely other struggles (survival, supporting family members, attempts to contribute to the family’s livelihood, and the like). In other words, I maintain that many of the existing studies read into the absence of written testimonies regarding the condition of women in these periods the texts that,

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realm and of the settlement of the major societies in antiquity, see Frader 2004; on the situation in the Ancient Near East and in early Israel, see Frader 2004, 30/31. Brod 1994, esp. 87/88. See ibid., 89, who suggests dividing the study of masculinity into two different direc‐ tions: masculinity in relation to women and femininity, and masculinity in relation to men and masculinity. This fact is also especially marked in other surveys that examined questions of gender and Judaism. E.g., a quite central book such as Baskin/Tenenbaum (eds) 1994, that gathered leading American scholars of gender and Judaism, as can be seen from its title: Gender & Jewish Studies. Notwithstanding this, it is dedicated in its entirety to questions of the woman and her standing in Jewish tradition (naturally, in comparison with the central standing of the male), without even a single discussion entirely given over to the standing of the male.

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as modern feminists, they would like to read – but the factual basis of these readings is extremely tenuous. While we should rightly state that throughout Jewish history (until the modern period), men enjoyed a higher status than women, it would not be correct to identify inferior standing with torture, abuse, suffering, and pain. The historical fact of women’s lower standing does not necessarily mean that Jewish women ‘suffered’ as a result, and that disappointment and bitterness filled their family and communal life. We should therefore distinguish between the question of hierarchy and the various types of chauvinism that take advantage of and objectify those in a subaltern position. Although we can never learn from the few sources we possess about the inner world of Jewish women in everyday life in the past in order to accu‐ rately describe the joy and suffering that were their lot, it seems that all can agree that the general impression gained from the extant sources is that the struggle over their secondary standing as compared to men was not foremost in the minds of Jewish women.13 It should be added that while the sources paint a picture of patriarchal rule by Jewish men of their wives and daughters in antiquity, this domination was usually compassionate and considerate, and was not accompanied by a chauvinistic ideology meant (at least not intention‐ ally) to take advantage of female weakness.14 Women’s concerns, it seems, were not directed to such ‘modern’ ques‐ tions,15 but, primarily, to the fate of their children, family, and community. Their prayers and hopes did not revolve around changing their standing vis-avis the men in the community, but rather to (obviously, this is just an

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The cautionary note voiced by Rosen-Zvi 2003, 214 is noteworthy in this context: “The recognition that the ancient texts portray a very partial picture of contemporary life, which is viewed from the perspective of the male literate elite, requires the investiga‐ tors to exercise a great measure of restraint. Many questions simply cannot be answered by consulting the extant material. This is the case particularly when we ask ourselves how various groups experienced the world. We can reconstruct from the texts, at least partially, the realia and daily life of groups that hardly left any texts behind them: women, villagers, slaves, children, and others; yet it is almost impossible to reconstruct the self-awareness of these groups”. See the summation of Boyarin 1993, 133: “On the one hand, there is an enormous respect for women’s rights to physical well-being, to an absence of male violence toward them, to satisfaction of their physical needs, including especially the need for sex, but on the other hand, they are always in an absolutely subordinated position vis-avis the dominant, if normatively considerate, male”. Another fundamental question repeatedly arises throughout this entire discussion: How can we know if women cared at all about their exclusion from Torah study (and similarly, from various religious public positions) and that this process was a male preserve? This question, that pertains to all the emotions that – whether openly or unconsciously – accompany the modern feminist readings of the early texts, was rightly raised by Naomi Seidman. See Boyarin 1993, 168 n. 2; see also below.

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example) their bitter fate due to oppression by the non-Jewish authorities,16 if any disasters were to befall them, if they were to suffer from anti-Jewish riots – or when, on the personal level, they or their families suffered economically or were plagued by poor health.17

3. Reasons Why the Inferior Position of the Jewish Woman in the Past Did Not Cause Suffering At least three cogent, and hardly irrefutable, reasons can be given for the difficulty in finding testimonies from the past equivalent to the modern femi‐ nist struggle against male hegemony:18 16

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On this point, that frequently escapes scholarly analyses of the status of men and women in diaspora Judaism under foreign rule, see Brod 1994, 90/91; for an opposing view, see the argument advanced by Breitman 1988. Incidentally, and surprisingly, the Jewish medieval sources include an intriguing mani‐ festo that unhesitatingly publicly announces the jealousy of women by a (male) rabbi, and expresses his wish to become one. See Kalonymus 1956, 17-22. Against those who view this text as ironic, see Rosen 2003, the notes accompanying her discussion of this text in chapter 7. As was mentioned above, I do not subscribe to the line set forth by several feminist scholars, who identify the lack of written testimonies by women in the past as a sign of paralyzing fear of male domination, and from this starting point, I will list the reasons for this below. To stress, once again: in no way do I claim that women were on an equal standing with men, in any respect. I maintain that we do not possess sufficient evidence to determine that this situation, in the women’s time and location, was not seen by them as completely natural. Accordingly, it is definitely possible to read a large part of the present-day prevalent feminist identification with the suffering of these ‘unfortunate’ women as a projection of the present to what did not exist in the past. Now, to further clarify my argument, as regards the possibility that this textual mute‐ ness is a result of the violent silencing of women by men, with a tableau of rebellious women who were forcibly denied their voices in the background: Regnier-Bohler 1992, 448, and Schmitt-Pantel 1992, 473, present the fact that we possess hardly any texts from antiquity and the medieval period that were written by women. Conse‐ quently, Regnier-Bohler (1992, 433-435) suggests that in those periods the language of scholarly discourse was not accessible to women. (Again, as a parenthetical aside: Who says that women cared about such a situation? How can we know if they suffered from this deprivation? Who can guarantee that the sorrow accompanying RegnierBohler’s writing is not a projection of her modern feminist views onto those Medieval women?) Klapisch-Zuber (1992, 425) adds an even more forceful tone, as she raises the argument to an even greater degree of severity. According to her, the voices of Medieval women were clearly “choked”. The only datum of solid factual significance in these scholars’ arguments is that when a quotation of a female voice appears in Medieval male texts, it is often used in order to emphasize the female power for evil (see Regnier-Bohler 1992, 230-248). KlapischZuber writes that the assumption underlying these citations of a female voice is that the evil traits of lust and pride originate in the sins of language, and that women who spoke in public were perceived as being those who spread the poison of these sins, and therefore were publicly castigated (Klapisch-Zuber 1992, 425). This, too, should be

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1. The first reason continues the argument I began to set forth above, in the attempt to distinguish between inferior status and actual suffering. The fact known to us from all the sources – and this cannot be stressed enough – is that the rabbis did not permit abuse, subjugation, or cruelty toward women, and (in most instances)19 protected them from the potential exploitation of their lower standing.20 The later Jewish sources seemingly demand that the wife will unquestion‐ ingly submit to her husband’s authority, as Maimonides (12th century) writes in his codification of Jewish law, Mishneh Torah, Hil. Ishut (Marriage Law) 15:20: They [the Sages] have likewise ordained that the wife should honor her husband exceedingly and hold him in awe, that she should arrange all her affairs according

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viewed critically, first, because Regnier-Bohler and Klapisch-Zuber base themselves solely on their general impressions, and not on precise research that would present hard data (in her article Regnier-Bohler only analyzes isolated cases, and draws conclusions from them regarding the emotional state of women in general). Further‐ more, even if the data on which Regnier-Bohler relies is historically correct, we should still ask: How are we to know how the women would respond to this? Would it be unreasonable to surmise, just as logically, that the internal male discourse did not trouble these women, or that they were only marginally concerned by it? Is it not just as logical to imagine that if we could hear their opinion about men, we would hear them laughing among themselves about the foolishness of men – and say the same thing about men’s capacity for evil! Within the context of our specific discussion, as additional question should be raised: even if scholarly research in the future should find decisive proof that the silence of women in antiquity and the medieval period (in both Christian and Muslim societies) was indeed an expression of their being violently silenced by men, how could we draw conclusions from this regarding the situation of women in Jewish society, which is the subject of our inquiry? For a survey of several additional views on this question in a Jewish context, see Valler 1999, xi-xx. This reservation pertains especially to the regions in which the Jews lived under Islamic rule, where local practice often influenced the condescending and humiliating attitude to women – and it seems that the rabbis did not always wield influence over the way in which public life was conducted. I will provide two examples in which all the modern feminist critique of the patriarchal tradition is totally justified. The first example: the testimonies on the condition of Jewish Tunisian women, both in Tunis and after their immigration to Israel, in the 20th century (and this was certainly the case in the more distant past) that indicate that the woman was regarded as a passive sexual object who was bought by the husband from the father, see Brav 2015, 105-107. The second example: the next testimony, too, is from the modern period, and it may be assumed that it can also tell the story of the forcibly repressed Jewish woman in such communities for generation after generation in the past. Sarah Banai records the testi‐ mony of her grandmother, from the community of Jews from Kurdistan, and relates the following: “The attitude to the woman was as if she were a slave [...] [the husband] could beat her mercilessly and shout at her. Kurdish men did not refrain from doing so, and frequently this was without any reason” (testimony brought by Stahl 1993, 166; see also the collection of sources he brings on this: 152/153 n. 17); see also below, n. 31. See the statement by Boyarin (1993, 168 n. 14). For an analysis, as an example, of several typical halakhic responsa by rabbis (men, obviously) that protect the defense‐ less woman from men who sought to take advantage of her, see Kosman 1984, 200-215.

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to his instructions, and that he should be in her eyes as if he were a prince or a king, while she behaves according to his heart’s desire, and keeps away from anything that is hateful to him. This is the way of the daughters and the sons of Israel who are holy and pure in their mating, and in these ways will their life together be seemly and praiseworthy.21

Interestingly, though, Maimonides’ formulation was not accepted verbatim as the halakhah (Jewish law), and it was later perceived as being based on a shaky halakhic foundation. Rabbi Joseph Caro refrained from copying this passage into his Shulhan Arukh – the last canonical book in the Jewish halakhic system which was written in the 16th century; and Rabbi Moses Isserles, the rabbi of Cracow, in his Ashkenazi additions to the Shulhan Arukh (the ‘Mappah’), presumably sought to return the Maimonidean formulation to the halakhic system, but he did so very cautiously, by electing not to copy Maimonides’ wording that obligates the wife (“she should arrange all her affairs according to his instructions”); he instead cites the wording of the orig‐ inal midrash (which, according to all the commentaries on Mishneh Torah, was Maimonides’ source),22 Tanna de-Vei Eliyahu.23 Isserles writes, in his addition to Shulhan Arukh, Even ha-Ezer 69:7 (end): “The Rabbis, of blessed memory [in the midrash Tanna de-Vei Eliyahu], said, there is none among women who is fit, except for the one who does her husband’s will”. There is a vast difference between Maimonides’ formulation, which obligates the wife to obey her husband, and that of the midrash (which Isserles copied), which is nothing more than a recommendation for a worthy wife to do her husband’s bidding.24 21 22

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Trans.: Klein 1972, 98 (emphasis added). See also what Maimonides writes in Hil. Ishut (Laws of Marriage) 15:18. See the summation of Ellinson (1998, 155 n. 12): “This [i.e., the source in Tanna de-Vei Eliyahu] seems to be the only Rabbinic source for a woman’s obligation to obey her husband [and what Maimonides wrote could be based only on this]”. See Tanna de-Vei Eliyahu Rabbah, chapter 10, 51: “For what reason was Jael, Heber’s wife (Judg. 4:11-17), accorded a distinction not accorded to any other woman in that deliverance came to Israel through her? Because she was a woman of worth who did her husband’s will. Indeed it is well said that no woman is to be regarded as worthy unless she does her husband’s will” (trans.: Braude/Kapstein 1981, 117). The Rabbis deduced (from other biblical verses) that a wife is required to honour her husband (see M (=Mishnah) Keritot 6:9; see also Belkin 1969, 47/48, who finds a parallel in Philo’s writings; on the question of whether this obligation is from the Torah or only of Rabbinic force, see Medini 1962, 3:24:74, 169-171). The requirement to honour one’s husband, however, does not mean subjection to his authority (see the forceful clarification by Ellinson 1998, 155 n. 9). To be precise, we should mention the hierarchy between these two types of honour established by the halakhah, namely, the argument that the father precedes the mother in being honoured, since the halakhah finds both the children and the mother owing honour to the father/husband. In contrast, the requirement that the husband honour his wife is a moral responsibility, but is not anchored in the halakhah. See Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 240:14; see Ellinson 1998, 155 n. 9.

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Maimonides’ formulation regarding the wife’s obligation to obey her husband was later elegantly rejected by the classical Maimonidean commen‐ taries. They refused to view this passage as a halakhic requirement for a wife to obey her husband, but rather interpreted it, in the decisive majority of instances, as if Maimonides meant to say that the wife is to honour her husband,25 and no more.26 Furthermore, it might be understood from the manner in which Maimonides ‘wraps’ the wife’s obligation of obedience inside certain expressions that he himself was aware that this was not an unyielding halakhic requirement, and he instead thought of this as upstanding moral conduct, since he begins this passage with the wording “they [the Sages] have likewise ordained” and ends it with “this is the way of the daugh‐ ters of Israel”.27 Furthermore, in the opposite direction, there is a parallel requirement for a husband to love and honour his wife. BT (Babylonian Talmud) Yevamot 62b states: “Our masters taught: Concerning a man who loves his wife as himself, who honours her more than himself. [...] Scripture says: ‘You will know that all is well in your tent’ [Job 5:24]”; and in BT Hullin 84b: “Rabbi Awira expounded, [...] A man should always eat and drink less than what his means allow, clothe himself in accordance with his means, and honour his wife and his children more than his means allow, since they are dependent on him and he is dependent on ‘He [= God] who spoke and the world came into being’”. Following these sources, Maimonides writes (Hil. Ishut 15:19):

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This interpretive step (already in Maimonides’ rulings), that in practice erases the wife’s duty to obey her husband, is evident in the commentary by Rabbi Vidal Yom Tov of Tolosa, the author of the premier classical commentary on Maimonides. See his understanding in Maggid Mishneh on Mishneh Torah, Hil. Ishut 15:20, s.v. “Ve-Khen Tzivu Hakhamim”, that this refers to the wife’s obligation to honour her husband (and see above, n. 24). As background for understanding Maimonides’ ruling here, it should be recalled that Maimonides was sometimes thought to be a misogynist (see the discussion that Melamed 1998 [124-125 n. 10] conducts with Boyarin; and the even more extensive argumentation of Grossman [2011a, 97-142]). In any event, to the extent that we find misogynist occurrences in Maimonides’ teachings, we may assume that this was due to the influence of his Aristotelian conception (Aristotle asserted unequivocally that every woman possessing virtue must understand that she is to obey her husband; see Ogilvie 2008, 5/6; Gardner 2006, 12). The Muslim environment in which Maimonides was active might also have influenced the centrality he afforded this formulation when he compiled the family laws (on the wife’s obligation in Islam to obey her husband, see Quran 4:34: “Men are protectors of women, because God has made some of them excel others and because they spend their wealth on them. [...] As for those from whom you apprehend infidelity, admonish them, then refuse to share their beds, and finally hit them [lightly]” [trans.: Quran 2011, 80/81]; see also the insights in Barlas 2006, 263/264). On the aspect of the Jewish family in Islamic lands which is the focus of our discussion, namely, women’s status, see above, n. 19; below, n. 31. Ellinson 1998, 156 n. 12.

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The Sages have likewise ordained that a man should honor his wife more than his own self, and love her as himself; that if he has money, he should increase his generosity to her according to his wealth; that he should not cast undue fear upon her;28 and that his discourse with her should be gentle – he should be prone neither to melancholy nor to anger.29

2. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Jewish sources undoubtedly afford men higher standing than that given to women, the everyday reality in the Jewish family, as is clearly indicated in numerous sources, is that, in contrast with what is taught by the canonical texts them‐ selves, the Jewish woman enjoyed quite high standing. In the words of Avraham Grossman, who researched this issue, we can speak of “the impor‐ tant role of women in conducting the everyday matters of the household”.30 Moreover, according to Grossman, the texts that elevate the man over the woman may be seen as a reaction to the situation in practice, that in very many medieval Jewish families the woman ruled over all that happened within the walls of the home.31 3. The gender researcher Naomi Scheman has noted that women’s inferior status in itself does not cause suffering (at least not consciously) for those of such standing, unless expectations of change arise in a woman’s soul.32 In other words, the sense of injustice, at least in the conscious realm, caused to one in a lower position in the social hierarchy is not the result of objective suffering (unless this inferior standing is accompanied by physical or mental abuse). It rather results from the unease aroused by the subject’s sense of infe‐ riority. Since women in the premodern period perceived themselves, as they were educated, as ‘naturally’ subordinate to male authority, they were spared 28

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30 31

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On the prohibition imposed on the father/husband not to intimidate the members of the household, see the summation of the halakhic decisors in Gittin 1994, 9 (on BT Gittin 6b), with a discussion that what is stated here presumably means that a man can impose ‘fear’ in his home (but not ‘excessive fear’); in the conclusion of the discus‐ sion, the writers conclude a person can impose fear on his children for educational purposes, but not on his wife. Trans.: Klein 1972, 98. In BT Bava Metzia 59a, the rabbis enjoined the husband not to cause his wife to be distressed. Rav said that this was because the wife is sensitive and very quickly bursts into tears, God hears her prayers, and He answers her more quickly than He responds to those of the husband. Consequently, the husband is punished more quickly (cf. below, n. 53). R. Helbo warns husbands to treat their wives respectfully, and even states that if the husband wishes to become rich he must honour his wife, since this blessing comes to a man’s home only by the merit of his wife. Grossman 2004, 127. See ibid. We should, however, add some reservation to Grossman’s forceful statements regarding Jewish families in Islamic lands. For a clearer hierarchy within the context of the Jewish family in these lands, even in the beginning of the modern period, see Stahl 1993, 169-177. Yet, even in the Eastern lands, where the husband’s place in the family hierarchy was well-defined, there, too, we find evidence of the Jewish wife ruling within the domestic sphere. See Stahl 1993, 179/180; see also above, n. 19. See Scheman 1993, 24.

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(at least openly) anguish at the possible thought that this state of affairs might be flawed. Obviously, it might be possible today, from a modern feminist perspective, to retrospectively claim (most probably correctly) that this social construction is itself a male manipulation, but the correctness of this argument does not disprove my argument that Jewish women, throughout all the long history during which they were regard as unequal to men, were not embittered by this.33 This last argument can be bolstered by adding the empirically proven fact that in religions in which women are in an unquestionably inferior position to men, it is the former who frequently are more inclined to religious piety than the men.34 One of many possible examples of the difference between women’s demand for equality with men, which (considering the lack of extant testimonies of ‘rebellious women’ in this realm) probably did not arouse such controversy in the past as it does today, is the blessing (referring to God) among the Morning Blessings, that ritually begins the Jew’s day, of ‘who has not made me a woman’ for men, in contrast with that incumbent upon the woman to recite in this set of blessings, ‘who has made me according to His will’.35 At the end of our examination of this fundamental issue regarding the ways Jewish men treated their wives – as it is reflected in the classical Jewish sources, the question arises: What does the above discussion tell us about Jewish men in antiquity and the medieval period? The answer seems to be that, unlike the picture painted in several impassioned portrayals by modern feminists, who are quick to depict male society in antiquity (with this descrip‐ tion at times applied to Jewish society, as well) as chauvinist, one that exploited women and in which women’s inferior standing gave men privi‐ 33

34

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Further to what Naomi Scheman writes, we frequently find that what was a natural fact of social life for the ancients, namely, in our case; the secondary position of women in the social hierarchy, is interpreted by contemporary feminist scholars in their modern reading as if the fashioner of the ancient text was aware of the feminist critique, and intentionally composed a story in which the woman has secondary status in order to emphasize her inferiority. In the past (see Kosman 2012a, 89-94) I directed such criticism to the mode of reading of Boyarin 1993, 134-166, who viewed the secondary standing of Rabbi Akiva’s wife in the talmudic narrative in BT Ketubot 62b-63a as a manipulation meant to brainwash women so that they would energetically exert all their energies to aid their husbands to study Torah. See French 2008, 1-5. See Grossman 2004, 281, on the religious piety of Jewish women during the persecutions of the Crusades in Ashkenaz, which, according to some testi‐ monies, was what motivated the men to choose mass suicide and martyrdom. Incidentally, the discussions of this issue by modern Orthodox writers patently show the indecision typical of such discussions: on the one hand, modern Orthodox men prefer to speak about Judaism as an egalitarian religion, while, on the other hand, they want to maintain women’s status as reflected in the classic sources. See, e.g., Ellinson 1998, 157 n. 16; and for discussions pertaining to a specific blessing, see Ross 2005, 22-24; Zivan 1999; Tabory 2001; Marx 2010, 252.

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leges which they used to take advantage of the woman, to work her merci‐ lessly, and to cause her degradation and suffering36 – the facts available to us do not confirm this, as regards the overall picture of Jewish male society. The major reason for this is that the image of the Jewish male, as it was fashioned in the sources, beginning in the time following the destruction of the Second Temple to the rise of the Zionist movement, was far removed from the chau‐ vinistic model that developed in several other cultures. We will now discuss this in detail.

4. The Changing Male Hegemony in Different Times and Places We will now return to our initial discussion, in which we unreservedly assumed that, until the modern period, and with hardly any exceptions, only men were at the centre of Jewish society, while women, in terms of their status, were marginalized. Such a generalization holds true for all the Jewish communities in all geographical regions, but, in order not to be guilty of over‐ simplification, we should add that when we go into more detail, we learn of gradations between different communities as regards the superior standing of men. A detailed description of the relative standing of men and women in each and every region would exceed the scope of this article.37 In order, however, to demonstrate the existence of such a gap, I will mention two notable exam‐ ples. These will show that, despite the fact that the representatives of the Jewish tradition were males, there was still considerable room for manoeuvre between the communities that allowed women to approach the status of men and those in which women’s status was lower.38 36

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One example of this is Wegner 1992. Already at the beginning of her book (3) she makes an unprovable statement, which she uses as her starting point to presumably show “how the restriction of women to the private realm of domesticity and their exclusion from the public domain of intellectual activity has systematically deprived women of the life of mind and spirit available to men [...] within patriarchal society” (emphasis added). Wegner’s assertion could be rejected on many grounds, or, at least, it could be argued that she does not prove this in her book. In short, bringing only one of many possible proofs against her thesis, this is in total opposition to the Rabbi’s openness to the thought that women are frequently closer to God in prayer than are men (see below, n. 53). For bibliographies containing very many relevant items, see Rakover 1990, 554-564; Ruud 1998; Schlesinger 1971; Brewer 1986; see also the extensive material collected by Baskin/Tenenbaum (eds) 1994. It is also noteworthy that in many instances the extant data are insufficiently clear to determine whether the status of women rose or declined in a specific time or region. Tal Ilan (1995, 6) argues that studies of this type on women’s status in antiquity reach different conclusions, and do not give us a distinct picture. She accordingly maintains that historians should refrain from making assessments of the type of ‘improvement’

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1. Ross Kraemer maintained that male-female relations in Jewish Hellenistic communities were more egalitarian than those in the Jewish settle‐ ments in the Land of Israel and Babylonia. The former were more open to concessions in the separation of men and women, and even offered talented women the possibility of easier entry to public life than those in the latter areas.39 Bernadette Brooten similarly showed that at times women in late antiquity filled leadership positions in these Hellenistic Jewish communi‐ ties.40 2. The standing of the Jewish married woman in medieval Ashkenaz (i.e., Western Europe) communities, beginning in the 11th century, was higher41 than that of the Jewish woman in the communities in the Islamic lands, at least as regards her ability to appear before strangers in public and to conduct her affairs there.42

5. On Men’s Knowledge as Imparting Authority and on the Exclusion of Women from Torah Study Few today would disagree with the statement that knowledge is power,43 and this is especially true of Jewish society that held male knowledge of the Jewish canonical texts in such high esteem. The Jewish tradition honoured the trait of scholarliness – one of those traits that gave man his masculinity.44 It therefore is not surprising that women, who were deemed inferior in the social hierarchy, would also be removed from traditional Torah study. Indeed, this was the situation in all Jewish communities until the beginnings of our time, despite, as mentioned above, the considerable disparities between one Jewish community and another regarding the standing of women relative to men;45 and despite the fact that we know of scattered instances throughout

39 40 41

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or ‘depreciation’ in women’s standing, and should limit themselves to describing a local process in a specific region. See Kraemer 1991. See Brooten 1982. Of the many relevant sources and discussions, I will mention only Grossman 2001, 147-149. On the general rise in the standing of women in 12th-century Europe, see Koch 1962, 134-144; on the rise in their status in the 13th century, see Idel 2005, 47. See Grossman 2004, 103-108, 277-278. On the considerable involvement of Jewish women in Ashkenaz in the economic life conducted in the public domain and in similar realms, see Grossman 2004, 114-122. This statement by Francis Bacon (that apparently was voiced in 1620; see Bronowski 1979, 132, 144) is frequently quoted, and Foucault explored it extensively in his writ‐ ings (see, e.g., Foucault 1990). For additional aspects of masculinity, and those that might emerge from studies of other societies, see below, n. 65. On the differences between girls’ educational systems in the West and the East, see Baskin 2012.

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history of some women who were thought to be especially erudite in the Jewish canon or of women who were considered to be exceptionally righteous or pious.46 Nonetheless, it was extremely rare in any place or period for a man to ask a woman for a halakhic ruling. Women were to receive the correct answers to everyday problems from men, who possessed the authority to lead and to deliver rulings on religious matters; this was especially so as regards the halakhic authorities, all of whom were men.47 How was this exclusion justified on theological grounds? Many authorities, such as Maimonides and those who came after him, based their thought on the Aristotelian premise that a woman is incapable of participating like a man in complex intellectual processes (which, in the Jewish communities, meant Torah study and the issuing of halakhic rulings), for which only an analytical man had the capacity.48 Maimonides writes: 46

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For the few extant sources, see Ilan 2005; Firestone 2004; Stern 1999; for an excep‐ tional example of a hidden woman scholar, who was fluent in the Talmud, see Rosenson 1999, 167. For a woman who served as the ‘head of a yeshivah’ in Kurdistan, see Melammed/Melammed 2000. For the issue as a whole, see also Fonrobert 2001. The predominant current trend in American academia in the study of the rabbis – following Foucault – views the entire complex system of information that the rabbis developed as a sophisticated way to rule women: since women did not possess this knowledge, they had to accept the directives of the (male) rabbis. See the example of this trend in Fonrobert 2000. Maimonides bases his ruling on the dictum of R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, the conserva‐ tive 1st century CE Tanna who declared (in opposition to the majority opinion) that “any man who teaches his daughter Torah teaches her licentiousness [tiflut]” (M Sotah 3:4), thereby expressing the assumption that only men have the ability to correctly interpret the words of God, without exposing them to ‘licentiousness’. On the exact meaning of ‘tiflut’, see Boyarin 1993, 171 n. 3; Hauptman 1998, 23; Rosenson 1999; Fuchs 2011, 773/774, who lists several explanations given for this term. See also the explanation of Mirkin, Midrash Rabbah, 3, 108. For the parallel sources in the Greek world, see Halevi 1975, 360-362; see also Foucault 1985, 84-86, who surveys the accepted conception in classical Greek culture that the virtues are male (since the male is rational, and exercises self-control), while the woman does not control herself; if we were to find a woman who does exhibit self-control, this is because she has a male soul. To this we should add a statement by Foucault, one very important for our discussion, on the standing of the man as dominant. Foucault writes (1985, 145) that the legal system, which is naturally perceived as male, is meant to inhibit and intimidate the woman especially, in order to restrain her; he also writes (43/44) of the danger of pleasure as “a force that [...] triumphs” and the ensuing necessity to educate the woman well, so that she would not fall into this trap. See also in this regard Levinson 2005, 276, and Biernot 2009, 115-118. As regards the rabbis themselves, some scholars have surmised (a supposition that I find quite questionable, in light of the fact that this conception is not that of the rabbis, specifically, but was the dominant conception of masculinity in Greek thought, that would later find its way to Christianity; on the transmutation of this idea in ‘masculine’ asceticism in medieval European Christianity, see the discussions in many of the arti‐ cles collected in Cullum/Lewis (eds) (2005) that this encouragement of male selfcontrol is connected with the loss of Jewish independence during the Roman rule in

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[...] yet the Sages have warned us that a man shall not teach his daughter Torah, as the majority of women have not a mind adequate for its study but, because of their limitations, will turn the words of the Torah into trivialities. The Sages said ‘He who teaches his daughter Torah – it is as if he taught her wantonness [tiflut]’.49

Consequently, since the gates of the Talmud – and certainly the authority to deliver legal decisions or occupy positions of leadership – were closed to women, we may conclude, as self-evident, that men also exclusively had the absolute authority to interpret the Jewish canon and make decisions, whether practical or theological. We might be able to speak of a certain change in recent decades that, here and there, enables Orthodox women, as well, to study Torah50 (a direction that cannot be ascribed solely to the modern period, since initial glimmerings of this were already to be found in the Renaissance period, especially among Italian Jews)51 and to take some part in religious ceremonies, or – in the realm of the secular – to receive a general education.52 At least, however, in the Orthodox sector, these changes were effected under a watchful male hand, and the new opportunities, to the extent that they were opened for women in whatever field, were mostly realized after permission had been granted by male halakhic authorities, who had the last word. Notwithstanding all the above, it should be stressed that, despite the exclu‐ sion of women from rabbinic knowledge, Jewish sages never thought that the male is on a higher level than the female in the direct relationship between God and man. At times we gain the impression from the sources that, due to

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the Land of Israel; see Satlow 2004, 502/503, who examines the various reasons that could motivate men in this direction. Trans.: Hyamson 1962, 58a. See Hellinger 1994, 31-40. See also Melamed 2003, 286 n. 271, who argues that Maimonides’ statements about women’s intellectual capability, which appear in different place in his writings, are complex and rife with contradic‐ tions; see also Melamed 2000, esp. 114/115, where he devotes a more extensive treat‐ ment to Maimonides (and incidentally indicates the beginning of a shift in attitude towards the woman as a rational being); see also Grossman 2011b; see also above, n. 26. See Ross 2006; Fuchs 2011. On the opening of new study halls for women, see El-Or 1998, 23-46; Brown 2017, 428 n. 98. For the discussion about the possibility of granting women rabbinical ordination, see the material collected in Rakover 1990, 562; see also the list of sources collected by Shakdiel 1999, 103 n. 29; see also Golinkin 2003, 163-178, 205-241; see also the collection of articles on this topic appearing in Judaism 33 (1984). See also Nadell 1998; Umansky 1979; Ner-David 2000; Greenberg 1984; Greenberg (ed.) 1988; Lauterbach 1981; Marx 2012; Marx 2014. As regards the situation in antiquity: for the standing of women as priestesses in the biblical period, see above, n. 3. See Grossman 2011a, 533/534. A unique phenomenon existed in Italy: women served as ritual slaughterers in this period (see Grossman 2011a, 533 n. 42). See Manekin 2004; Brown 2017, 417 n. 48: in Germany, formal studies for women already began in Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s institutions in the 19th century, while in Poland ultra-Orthodox education for girls began only in 1917.

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the woman’s sensitivity, her prayer connects her to God directly and immedi‐ ately, to a much higher degree than men’s prayer.53 Incidentally, the fact that Jewish women were never denied the possibility of being close to God even more than man was used in the past by the aggadic storytellers of the Talmud and midrash, as they subversively inserted their criticism of the male world into the midrashic and talmudic sources by means of female characters who voice this critique. At times this criticism even dares to question the most renowned of male sages, in order to teach the great religious truth that the rabbi-man whose inner world is enveloped in narcissistic arrogance, who cannot conduct himself like an adult and see the other as a subject, is also not worthy of being esteemed as someone who is close to God, even if he is a sage possessing tremendous knowledge of the Jewish canon.54

6. The Response of the Jewish Male Establishment to the Struggle by Women in the Modern Period to Attain Equal Standing As was noted above, men ruled everything Jewish until the first changes occurred in the 1970s, with the first wave of significant Jewish feminism that impacted on Jewish society55 (various voices against the male hegemony had been raised for decades before that time).56 These women usually armed themselves with two main arguments in their struggle: the first, that Judaism had always been a religion that pursued justice, and it is inconceivable that women in our time would be discriminated 53

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See Weisberg 1999, who indicates that the sages of the Talmud had no difficulty in conceiving of women who were in direct contact with God. She summarizes (80): “While the Rabbis may have seen women as somewhat foreign beings, they did not regard them as alienated from God” (above, n. 29). See also Kosman 2012a, 20; 152 n. 66. See also the continuation of this discussion below, n. 71. See Kosman 2012a, 29/30; 53-55. See also Faust 2010, 181 n. 164, for Yonah Frankel’s argument that in almost all the aggadic narratives that include female characters, their literary role is to criticize Torah scholars. I will add that presenting the woman as a critical voice facing the talmudic sage is not merely instrumental. The impression we gain from numerous places in the rabbinic literature is that attention is to be paid to the woman’s voice (despite the fact mentioned above that in the ancient world, at least in the Mediterranean region, women’s way of thinking was not held in great esteem). This is finely exemplified by the difference between the midrashic reading of the Biblical episode of the daughters of Zelophehad and that of Philo. See the comparison by Stein 2002, and her conclusion (47) that supports my argument here. Regina Jonas was the first woman to be ordained to serve as the rabbi of a (Reform) congregation; she would later be murdered in Auschwitz in 1944. See Baskin (ed.) 2011; see the literature referenced above, n. 50. See Baskin 2005, 3350, and for some of the details surveyed below.

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against; and the second related to the fact that female imagery of the Godhead is present in some Jewish sources. In antiquity, for example, we have Wisdom (Hokhmah – a feminine word), as well as female depictions of God; and in the Kabbalistic and Hasidic sources it is the female element in the Godhead, the Shekhinah (again, a feminine word), that conducts the divine interaction with the world.57 In 1979 Cynthia Ozick issued her famous call to the men who held the reins of Jewish leadership, power, and authority, that the time had come to proclaim the eleventh of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt 57

See ibid. On the Shekhinah, see Kosman 2009, 56 n. 36, on the question of whether there already is a basis for this in the talmudic sources; for the Kabbalistic conceptions of the Shekhinah, see Roi 2003 (see also Idel 1999, 148). It is noteworthy in this context that, unlike this feminist argument, Elliot Wolfson maintains that Jewish esoteric teachings were focused on masculinity, and were mainly concerned with the influence of the male sexual organ of the Godhead, which is perceived as male. Wolfson maintains that even the Kabbalistic references that compare the Torah to a female do not actually impart independent standing to the feminine aspect; rather, the feminine is seen as part of the whole male androgyne (see Wolfson 1994; this argument runs throughout the entire book, and is especially present in his summation, 395-397). In this spirit Wolfson (1995), following Genesis, under‐ stands that for the Kabbalists the appellation ‘adam’ is male, and includes within it a female entity that is inferior to him. Moshe Idel, in contrast, does not accept the picture painted by Wolfson. For Idel, Kabbalistic teachings do not regard the woman solely as an addition secondary to the male. Idel asserts that the sources within the Kabbalistic writings upon which Wolfson bases his masculine focus received it from the philosophical sources which, during the medieval period, were replete with Aristotelian notions that place the woman in an inferior position. In opposition to the Kabbalistic stratum that views women as inferior, Idel claims that within this self-evident reality, the Kabbalists were predominantly inclined to diverge from this understanding and afford the feminine element a place of its own, in order to balance between the two sexes. Idel concludes (in opposition to Wolfson) that, “the problematic standing of the woman in Jewish society was not intensified in Kabbalistic thought, which is concerned with the Shekhinah as a female image. Her situation improved, specifically as a result of the metaphysical motivation that transferred the sexual polarity to a comprehensive cosmic worldview, one that did not assume the possibility of the absence of one of the poles, or its being shunted aside to a state of total passivity” (Idel 1999, 148/149). Idel further writes that the ecstatic Kabbalah sought to free the energies of the female soul, that are symbolized in the earthly woman, from the chains of the perception of the latter’s materiality, to thereby transform her from passive to active, and accordingly nullify the perception of her seemingly inferior character (154/155; see Wolfson 2001, 259-261, and throughout the article, where he, once again, argues with Idel on this point. See also Gamlieli 2006, 121/122 n. 150 on this debate). See also Grossman 2004, 277/278; and also 129: “The women’s rights in this area [i.e., sexual relations] are even more strongly emphasized in Sefer ha-Zohar, with the value of love in married life being emphasized”. As regards the Kabbalistic androgynous mythos mentioned above, Wolfson 2001, 243-246, argues that the Kabbalists read this mythos in Genesis 1 following what is stated in Genesis 2, namely, in light of the assumption that the female came forth from the body of the male. He writes: “The mythos of the du-partzufin (androgyny) strengthens the androcentric hierarchy” (see Wolfson 2001, 244 n. 68). Elqayam 1996, 665 n. 107, however, disagrees, and argues that in regard to the androgynous union, the Kabbalists find no distinction between male and female.

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not lessen the humanity of women”; that is, it is incumbent upon men to include the women in Jewish communities in all decisions and to listen to their autonomous, moral, and theological opinion, as well as rulings concerning practice.58 In the late 1980s the male Jewish establishment faced the growth of a significant feminist movement that had a presence in a broad range of Jewish communities, primarily in the United States, but with echoes of this move‐ ment also in Israel and Europe (with the exception of the closed, ultraOrthodox communities such as Satmar, Toledot Aharon, and the like, that remained untouched by the feminist spirit that had entered all the other strata of the Jewish public). The various women’s groups in this period that challenged the male estab‐ lishment (whose response was not uniform) can be divided into three types:59 1. Those that struggled within modern Orthodox frameworks and sought to adapt the halakhah to better serve women’s interests, albeit in a quite limited manner, only as far as was permitted by the halakhah, whose rulings still remained in male hands. This demand – which at times was formulated directly by these women in a challenging manner,60 in other instances, as a personal query directed to the halakhic decisor, and in yet other cases was simply presented as the reality that the men had to either accept or fight against – is the subject of a ramified literature of halakhic discussions in the rulings of recent generations; this literature reflects the (male) Orthodox response to this awakening.61 2. Within the liberal (that is, Conservative and Reform) movements, the feminist women’s movement aimed for absolute equality between men and women by reworking the tradition of male centrality. In the Conservative movement, this demand was not accepted by all at first. Here, too, there is an

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In Hasidic thought, Zvi Mark maintains that although Wolfson hints that his theory is also applicable to Hasidism, this is not so, as least not in the teachings of Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav, which, Mark finds, reaches the conclusion that the Godhead is female, and that inclusion in her is the aim of the mystic, who seeks to reveal the secrets of the Godhead. See Mark 2009, 56. Finally, along with all that has been said above, in practical terms, the Jewish woman was never allowed to approach the realm of the mystical, nor do we know of a single female Kabbalist. See Grossman 2011a, 307-312. See Ozick 1979, esp. 150. Following Baskin 2005, 3350/3351. One example of this (albeit from a later period) is Prof. Tamar Ross’ prolific and highly influential writing on the subject. See, e.g., Ross 2004. For an intriguing analysis of the two different directions of the agreement to accept the demand by Orthodox women to be included in Torah study, one proposed by the last Lubavitch Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and the other, by Rabbi Shimon Gershon Rosenberg (Shagar), see Fuchs 2011. For a summation of several central queries on this issue that were directed to halakhic decisors, see Golinkin 2003.

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extensive literature by those receptive to the feminist claim, and by those opposed. When full consent to total equality for women was given by the Conservative movement, some of the opponents of the move left the move‐ ment (the most prominent of whom was Prof. David Halivni).62 3. A group smaller in number and influence was that of the ultraliberals, who perhaps could be called ‘New Age women’. They proposed a femalefocused approach63 that could include elements of spirituality that were ‘imported’ from beyond the bounds of rabbinical Judaism, such as the connection to the goddess or the Great Mother, which could be considered as the revival of the pagan syncretism of Israelite women in ancient Israel.64

7. On the Nature of Jewish Masculinity It is noteworthy, from a more theoretical perspective that compares masculine types in different societies, that despite the exclusively male hegemony in Jewish contexts through the centuries, researchers of gender in the Jewish context distinguish between Jewish masculinity and that common in nonJewish European lands. If we begin with the accepted assumption that in many societies “normative ideas of masculinity valued aggressive, dominant behaviour [...] including [in] sexual activity. Masculinity was identified with 62

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Halivni left the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 1983 during the stormy controversy surrounding the training and appointment of women as rabbis. He argued that, although, from the viewpoint of the halakhah, there might be halakhic ways to train women rabbis, much more time would be needed before such a move would be legitimized. His disagreement with the JTS leadership led him to finally leave and found the Union for Traditional Conservative Judaism. See Zucker 1971. E.g., Gottlieb 1995. An especially impressive example of a work that came out of this orientation is the prayer book by Marcia Falk, The Book of Blessings, in which the name ‘God’ (which is perceived as male) is replaced by appellations which could be suitable for the great goddess: “ma’yan [fountain]”, “eyn hahayim [source of life]”, “ma’yan hayenu [the flow of life; literally, the fountain of our lives]”, and the like. See Falk 1996, 368/369, 502. Mottier 2008, 9. On the centrality of the phallus in Roman culture, see Kelus 1985; Kosman 2014, 179-190. For other attempts to give a broader definition of masculinity and its traits, see Hoffner 1966, who finds that the foremost traits of masculinity in the Bible are daring on the battlefield and the ability to procreate. See also on masculinity in the Bible: Smit 2017. On the ability to procreate as one of the signs of masculinity in the rabbinic literature as well, see Boyarin 1993, 197-225 (BT Nedarim 64b goes so far as to declare that a man without children is accounted as dead). To these we can add Freud’s agreement with this definition, from the psychoanalytical aspect, since, in his opinion, this ability gives the husband “the ultimate possession of the mother, a triumph over the father, proof that he has not been castrated for his sexual ambitions. To make a woman pregnant is a demonstration of his uncastrated, potent status” (Mitchell/Black 1995, 98/99). From a psychoanalytical viewpoint, masculinity is seen as a struggle that leads to separation from the mother and identification with the father

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the active, penetrative sexual role”,65 then, following Boyarin,66 we can state and male society. It should be added, however, that the feminist critique of the classic Freudian theory corrects this picture by indicating the son’s reverse jealousy of the daughter. See Kosman 2012a, 1-9, 161-162, in the discussion of Fromm’s statement regarding this jealousy (Fromm 1951, 233/234). On the construction of masculinity in the rabbinic literature, see Satlow 1996; Boyarin 1997, 81-150; Kosman 2012a, 202-205 n. 132 (to which we should add the passage by Josephus: Ant. 4:30 (= Josephus 2005); and the explanation by Nakman 2004, 139 n. 111, that every male is a potential weapon by his very nature. See also Hoffner 1966, 332/333). On the conception of masculinity among the popular strata of Eastern Jews in the Islamic lands, see Stahl 1993, 203/204. Or 1992, 53/54, argues that masculinity in classical Greek culture meant, primarily, the quest for honour and societal esteem for the individual’s achievements. On the conception of the superiority of the male body over that of the female, and as one meant for hard work and creativity, paralleling the creation of the world by God in medieval Christianity, see Smith 1977, 6 (and his entire discussion). A broader anthropological view of other cultures reveals several features that could fit within an expansive definition of masculinity. Herzfeld’s study of the element of masculinity among the inhabitants of a mountain village in Crete leads to the intriguing thought that masculinity is frequently connected with the construction of ideology, and therefore this question is worthwhile from a Jewish perspective, as well (see Herzfeld 1992; Connell 2005, 31). Raising the question of the relationship between masculinity and hom*osexuality from the test case of the study of masculinity among the Sambia in Papua, New Guinea (Herdt 1981) indirectly touches upon the question of masculinity in the world of the rabbis. This is so because, as Kosman/Sharbat (2004) showed, the rabbinic literature (mainly that of its Babylonian branch) did not develop a trace of hom*ophobia, while hom*osexuality became increasingly threatening in the writings of Paul and among diaspora Jewry. Gilmore (2011) examined a wide spectrum of cultures and ethnographic testimonies from throughout the world, in an attempt to understand the phenomenon of masculinity. He concluded that the common factor that he could find in almost all cultures is the idea that masculinity is not a given trait, but one that is difficult to acquire. The effort to attain masculine traits is always accompanied by bitter competi‐ tive struggles with other males. Naturally, then, in order to enter this competitive world initiates must undergo rites that will aid them in acquiring the masculine traits. The dominant ideologies in the various cultures direct those striving for masculinity to waive passive traits such as laziness and comfort-seeking, instead to be filled with the motivation for work and struggle in order to do whatever is necessary. All this, Gilmore maintains (see also Connell 2005, 32/33), is present in all the cultures that he examined, with a few exceptions (the male society in Tahiti and the Semai tribe in Malasia, where the male society contains more passive elements than do the other societies he researched). Another study, with a seemingly completely different starting point, which examined the male and female parameters in different mythoi throughout the world, reached similar conclusions. Yael Renan’s examination of past and present heroic myths from a sampling of more than thousand literary works from around the world led her to conclude that the male heroic model demands qualities such as effort, initiative, and steadfastness, while the heroic female must have the ability to give, devotion, willingness to sacrifice, and withstanding suffering on behalf of those close to her (specifically – men!). See Renan 2001, 7-11. The meagre findings of Gilmore’s extensive research (which Connell 2005, 31-33, finds surprising) strengthens the suspicion that masculinity is actually a trait that does not exist on its own, and that it might be said (in a Lacanian spirit) that masculinity is merely the repeatedly emphasized denial by someone who claims: “I am not a female”. See the analysis of Kosman 2012b.

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that post-biblical diaspora Judaism viewed the ideal Jewish male as a sensi‐ tive and open individual, who treats warmly the members of his family, his community, and people in general. This model challenged, and still chal‐ lenges, the Western assumptions of unabashed male dominance and aggres‐ siveness as significant characteristics of masculinity. Jacob Neusner67 compiled a sort of catalogue of the modes of conduct required of the ideal Jewish man, including “humility, generosity, self-abne‐ gation, love, a spirit of conciliation of the other”. The sign that the Jewish male has reached spiritual maturity and is now a modest person, according to Neusner, is his ability to uncomplainingly bear life’s woes. On the other hand, the Jewish man is not expected to fight his adversaries with a vindictive spirit, which would express envy, ambition, jealousy, arrogance, self-centeredness, a grudging spirit and similar emotions.68 We therefore can say about the ideal Jewish male – quite cautiously, since this is a generalization that by its very nature cannot be precise69 – that during the diasporic existence (and apparently in the present, as well, among several ultra-Orthodox circles), even though he was never an actual feminine type, he nevertheless was a studious type who lived in the spiritual worlds of Torah, as 66 67 68

69

See Boyarin 1997. For a bibliography of studies on masculinity in the rabbinic litera‐ ture, see Kiperwasser 2017, 421 n. 13. Neusner 1986, 73. See ibid., esp. 73/74. See also Brod 1994, 90/91. According, however, to Breitman 1988, 106 (see also Brod 1994, 90/91), the diaspora Jew’s repression of masculinity caused this aggression to be channeled within the home, where it was directed against the wife who was cooped up in the house (see also Kosman 2012a, 131/132: the malephallic element did not disappear from the world of the [male] rabbis, it was simply diverted from physical to verbal aggression; the Talmud does not hide this fact, but tries to fight it by ending its repression, by means of the messages in critical aggadic narratives; see also above, n. 54). I do not agree with Breitman. There was no need to repress this and to direct any repressed aggression against the wife at home, because there was no repression, only redirection. The aggressive energy of the Jewish sage is guided into the stormy disagreements and struggles within the study hall, and the phallic striving is converted from the aspiration for physical victory to that of achieve‐ ments in the realm of Torah study and character improvement (that awarded male titles to whoever excelled in one of these realms: sage, decisor, judge, the ‘great one of the generation’, or even righteous, or pious. See Kosman 2009, esp. 17-25, as an example of this). The openness to speak openly of the sages’ masculine energies in the Rabbinic literature, which is not reluctant to expose this coarse phallic side (see below, n. 71) led Isaacs 2009, 248 n. 13, to unjustly attack the talmudic narratives that tell of renowned sages, since, so he maintains, they are seen in these tales to be hypocritical manipulators. Isaacs does not understand that the sages of the Talmud, with rare candour the likes of which are hardly to be found in the history of religion, refrain (mainly in the material present in the fashioned aggadic tale) from telling tales in their own praise, in the hagiographic style prevalent in other religions. For them, this open‐ ness was the best vehicle for cleansing the pride, arrogance, and other bad traits that adhered to anyone with the aura of a ‘great rabbi’. This generalization of Boyarin was attacked from various aspects. See Rotenberg 1998; Rosen-Zvi 2013.

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he kept his distance from the worldly flow of life. He strove for excellent character traits as a ‘mentsch’,70 and adopted the good traits of compassion and empathy for the other.71 Moreover, for the ‘diasporic’ Jews, masculinity, in most places in the world, was not primarily defined as economic func‐ tioning (that is, that the male had to be the main breadwinner) or by physical machismo, but rather by the prestige of the scholarly religious individual, who possesses great knowledge of the Jewish canon.72 In contrast, it is frequently claimed that the Zionist movement legitimized the growth of a new aggressive Jewish masculinity;73 and that it even, whether outright or indirectly, held diaspora Jews and their ‘diasporic’ 70 71

72

73

For a depiction of one of the diverse types of such a ‘mentsch’, see Englander 2016. The feminine traits in the ideal Jewish masculinity are already highlighted in the classic sources. For examples of this in the rabbinic literature, see Kosman 2009, 87-99; and for a description of the feminine traits of the ideal Kabbalist, see Maroz 2007, 133/134. It should be emphasized, once again (see also above, at n. 54), that the differential between the ideal and the reality – and the fact that many of the rabbis and religious leaders were distant from this ideal – led to the development of the special genre of the literature present within the Talmud itself, in which the aggadah is critical of the masculine elements that have been clothed with a ‘religious’ mask by many Jewish religious sages. See also Kosman 2009, and especially the example of the tale of Rabbi Johanan and Resh Lakish (41-60). These phenomena did not end upon the completion of the Talmud and continue to appear repeatedly in different periods: in the critique in Sefer Hasidim, later in Ashkenaz, against the sage who is full of himself (see Kosman 2012a, 63 n. 59); in the Kabbalists’ protest against the halakhists who abandon what is important in favour of the trivial. Especially noteworthy in this context is the spiritual thought of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism in the 18th century, who returned in full force to the criticism of the arrogant sages who do not realize that worship of the Lord consists mainly of spiritual adherence to Him – and at times it is a woman, a child, or the unlettered whose spiritual closeness to God is superior to that of those for whom the accumulation of knowledge is important (see Elstein 1998, 108-111; Kosman 2012a, 28-34; 155 n. 6, with references to discussions elsewhere in the book; Kosman 2002, 222 and the sources there). This expresses an additional distinction between man and woman, relating to the dissimilarity between paternity and maternity. A mother’s love for her children is perceived as natural, while a father’s love for his son is expressed in the education which will lead the child to perceive what is beyond the physical world, that is, educa‐ tion for Torah, belief, and observance of the commandments; see Baumgarten 2004, 242-246. Although Baumgarten is primarily concerned with the Jews of medieval Ashkenaz, this determination most likely holds true in most times and places for all Jewish communities. Especially noteworthy in this context is Max Nordau’s famous essay on the need to develop ‘muscular Judaism’ (Nordau 1955; see Presner 2003; 2007). To a certain degree, this indirectly agrees with Otto Weininger’s assertion that Jewish men are feminine. See Horowitz 2002 (see also, especially relating to Weininger, the sources he references: 39 n. 6-8). See also Kamir 1999. On male fantasies and Zionism, see also Nur 2014. Rabbi Kook wrote in a similar vein, but from a Kabbalistic-spiritual perspective. At the time, these writings caused a scandal among the ultra-Orthodox who refused to accept this (see Naor 2004). See Kook 1963, 170-172; see also his student’s defence: Harlap 1967. On the influence of Rabbi Kook (and of additional schools) on religious

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approach to be guilty (obviously, to a limited degree) for being the victims of anti-Semitic persecutions, including the Holocaust in the modern period. According to this argument, for generation after generation the Jews of the Diaspora raised their males to act with ‘female’ softness, and they did not rebel or fight back against their attackers, but rather were led to their deaths like ‘sheep to the slaughter’.74 Although this is a generalization, which by its very nature cannot be precise, we would be hard-pressed today to deny the fact that Zionist education tends to redefine the Jewish male as the (secular or religious) reincarnation of the biblical Israelite warrior.75 Sociologists who examined Israeli society have found a close relation between military service and the belligerent type, on the one hand, and the present-day definition of Israeli masculinity as the other.76 Bibliography Almog, Oz (2000): The Sabra. The Creation of the New Jew. Translated by Haim Watzman. Berkeley: University of California Press. Barlas, Asma, (2006): Women’s Readings of the Quran. In: McAndrews, Jane Dammen (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Quran. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 255-271. Baskin, Judith R. (2005): Gender and Religion. Gender and Judaism. In: Jones, Lindsey (ed.), Encyclopedia of Religions. Detroit: Macmillan, 5:3350-3356. Baskin, Judith R. (ed.) (2011): The Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish History, Religion, and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Baskin, Judith R. (2012): Educating Jewish Girls in Medieval Muslim and Christian Settings. In: Clines, David J. A. / Richards, Kent Harold / Wright, Jacob L. (eds): Making a Difference. Essays on the Bible and Judaism in Honor of Tamara Cohen Eskenazi. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 19-37.

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Zionism over the question of power and aggressiveness, see Greenblum 2016, esp. 72-126; and on Rabbi Kook himself, see 26 n. 31. On the use of the latter phrase, see Feldman 2013, 142. See Almog 2000; Kosman 2014, 227-230. On the debate about the adoption of power in the Zionist movement until the establishment of the State of Israel, see the survey of Shapira 1989, 23-117. For another related issue: on the stereotype of the Eastern Jew in Israel as especially masculine, see Raz 2004; Stahl 1993, 203/204. Of the copious literature on this topic, I will mention only Lumsky-Feder 1990; Lumsky-Feder/Rapoport 2003; Lieblich 1989. From a certain aspect, we can say now that, unlike the original Zionist vision, this is an instance of getting what one wished for: violence has become the order of the day in the infighting between the different power groups in Israel. See Gur-Ze’ev 1997, 9-11; Gur-Ze’ev 1999, 11; Kosman 2011, 51/52.

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Kosman, Admiel (2002): Obedience to the Law Versus Spontaneous Charis‐ matic Action. Halakhah, Magic and Dialogue [Hebrew]. In: Bar-Ilan Law Studies 18 (1/2), 219-247. Kosman, Admiel (2009): Men’s World. Reading Masculinity in Jewish Stories in a Spiritual Context. Translated by Edward Levin. Würzburg: Ergon. Kosman, Admiel (2011): The Cultural Crisis of Contemporary Israel. A Jewish Theological Perspective on Its Causes. In: Israel Studies Review 26 (2), 28-53. Kosman, Admiel (2012a): Gender and Dialogue in the Rabbinic Prism. Trans‐ lated by Edward Levin. Berlin: De Gruyter. Kosman, Admiel (2012b): The “Man” as “Fool-King”. Alexander the Great and the Wisdom of Women. In: CCAR Journal 59 (2), 164-168. Kosman, Admiel (2014): Tractate Peace. The Arab-Israeli Conflict in Light of Midrashic and Rabbinic Sources [Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Miskal. Kosman, Admiel (2015): The Multilingual Bibliography of Names of God in the Hebrew Bible and in Rabbinic Literature. Lists, Summaries, Notes. Potsdam: Potsdam University, Berlin: Abraham Geiger College. URL: https://www.academia.edu/19824717/The_Multilingual_Bibliography_of_N ames_of_God_in_the_Hebrew_Bible_and_in_Rabbinic_Literature_Lists_S ummaries_Notes_for_Researchers_and_Teachers [Accessed: 30/04/2018]. Kosman, Admiel / Sharbat, Anat (2004): “Two Women Who Were Sporting with Each other”. A Reexamination of the Halakhic Approaches to Lesbianism as a Touchstone for hom*osexuality in General. In: HUCA 75, 37-73. Kraemer, Ross S. (1991): Jewish Women in the Diaspora World of Late Antiq‐ uity. In: Baskin, Judith R. (ed.): Jewish Women in historical Perspective. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 46-72. Lauterbach, Jacob Z. (1981): Shall Women be Ordained as Rabbis? [Hebrew]. In: Marcus, Jacob Rader: The American Jewish Woman. A Documentary History. New York: Ktav, Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 739-742. Lerner, Gerda (1986a): The Creation of Patriarchy. Oxford: Oxford Univer‐ sity Press. Lerner, Myron B. (1986b): Enquiries into the Meaning of Various Titles and Designations l. Abba [Hebrew]. In: Te`uda 4. Studies in Judaica, 93-113. Levinson, Joshua (2005): The Twice Told Tale [Hebrew]. Jerusalem: Magnes. Lieblich, Amia (1989): Transition to Adulthood during Military Service. The Israeli Case. Albany: SUNY Press. Longman, Tremper (1995): God is a Warrior. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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Lumsky-Feder, Edna (1998): As If There Was No War. Life Stories of Israeli Men [Hebrew]. Jerusalem: Magnes. Lumsky-Feder, Edna / Rapoport, Tamar (2003): Juggling Models of Masculinity. Russian-Jewish Immigrants in the Israeli Army. In: Sociolog‐ ical Inquiry 73 (1), 113-137. Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hil. Ishut = Klein, Isaac (trans.) (1972): The Code of Maimonides. Book Four. The Book of Women. New Haven: Yale University Press. Manekin, Rachel (2004): The Development of the Idea of Religious Educa‐ tion for Girls in Galicia in the Modern Era [Hebrew]. In: Massekhet 2, 63-85. Mark, Zvi (2009): Mysticism and Madness. The Religious Thought of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. London: Continuum, Jerusalem: Shalom Hartman Institute. Maroz, Ronit (2007): Kabbalistic Desire. Desire, Passivity, and Activism in the Kabbalah [Hebrew]. In: Biderman, Shlomo / Lazar, Rina (eds): Desire. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 116-140. Marx, Dalia (2010): Ideological, Theological and Literary Aspects of the Israeli Reform Liturgy [Hebrew]. In: Kenishta. Studies of the Synagogue World 4, 221-261. Marx, Dalia (2012): “A Female Rabbi Is Like an Orange on the Passover Plate”. Women and the Rabbinate. Challenges and Horizions. In: hom*olka, Walter / Schottler, Heinz-Gunther (eds): Rabbi – Pastor – Priest. Their Roles and Profiles Through the Ages. Berlin: De Gruyter, 219-239. Marx, Dalia (2014): Women and the Rabbinate. History, Challenges and Hori‐ zons [Hebrew]. In: Zehuyot [Identities: Journal of Jewish Culture and Iden‐ tity] 5, 75-98. May, Herbert Gordon (1941): The Patriarchal Idea of God. In: Journal of Biblical Literature 60 (2), 113-128. Medini, Hayyim Hezekiah (1962): Sdei Hemed [Hebrew]. Volume 3. New York: Friedman. Melamed, Abraham (1998): Maimonides on Women. Formless Matter or Potential Prophet? In: Ivri, Alfred L. / Wolfson, Elliot R. / Arkush, Allan (eds) (1998): Perspectives on Jewish Thought and Mysticism (Proceedings of the International Conference held by the Institute of Jewish Studies, University College London, 1994. In Celebration of its Fortieth Anniver‐ sary. Dedicated to the Memory and Academic Legacy of its Founder Alexander Altmann). Amsterdam: Harwood, 99-134. Melamed, Abraham (2000): Women as Philosopher. The Image of Sophia in Y. Abravanel’s Dialoghi d’Amore [Hebrew]. In: Jewish Studies 40, 113-130.

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Melamed, Abraham (2003): On the Shoulders of Giants. The Debate between Moderns and Ancients in Medieval and Renaissance Jewish Thought [Hebrew]. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press. Melammed, Uri / Melammed, Renee Levine (2000): Rabbi Asnat – A female Yeshiva Director in Kurdistan [Hebrew]. In: Pe’amim 82, 163-178. Midrash Rabbah, 3 = Mirkin, Moshe Aryeh (ed.): Midrash Rabbah, Gen. Rabbah [Hebrew]. Volume 3. Tel Aviv: Yavneh 1980. Mitchell, Stephen A. / Black, Margaret J. (1995): Freud and Beyond. A History of Modern Psychoanalytical Thought. New York: BasicBooks. Mottier, Veronique (2008): Sexuality. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Murphy, Roland E. (1961): GBR and GBWRH in the Qumran Writings. In: Gross, Heinrich / Mussner, Franz (eds): Lex tua veritas. Festschrift für Hubert Junker zur Vollendung des 70. Lebensjahres am 8. August 1961. Dargeboten von Kollegen, Freunden und Schülern. Trier: Paulinus, 137-143. Nadell, Pamela (1998): Women Who Would Be Rabbis. A History of Women’s Ordination 1889-1985. Boston: Beacon Press. Nakman, David (2004): The Halakhah in the Writings of Josephus [Hebrew]. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University (PhD Dissertation). Naor, Bezalel (trans.) (2004): Introduction. In: Kook, Abraham Isaac Hakohen: Orot. The Original 1920 Version. Spring Valley, NY: Orot, 14-64. Ner-David, Haviva (2000): Life on the Fringes. A Feminist Journey toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination. Needham, MA: JFL Books. Neusner, Jacob (1986): The Virtues of the Inner Life in Formative Judaism. In: Tikkun 1 (1), 72-83. Nordau, Max (1955): Muscular Judaism [Hebrew]. In: Id.: Zionist Writings. Vol. 1 Speeches and Essays. Jerusalem: Zionist Library, 187/188. Nur, Ofer Nordheimer (2014): Eros and Tragedy. Jewish Male Fantasies and the Masculine Revolution of Zionism. Boston: Academic Studies Press. Ogilvie, Marilyn (2008): Antiquity. In: Rosser, Sue Vilhauer (ed.): Women, Science, and Myth. Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present: Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 3-16. Or, Amir (1992): From Ganymedes to Plato. Social and Psychological Aspects in the Greek Pederastic Ethos [Hebrew]. In: Zmanim 42, 51-62. Ozick, Cynthia (1979): Notes toward Finding the Right Question (a Vindica‐ tion of the Rights of Jewish Women). In: Lilith 6, 19-29. Pardes, Ilana (2000): The Biography of Ancient Israel. National Narratives in the Bible. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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Images of the Feminine Jewish Man. Concepts and Debates on Masculinities in Rabbinic Literature and Talmudic Culture Matthias Morgenstern In order to explore the idea of what men (and women) are and what they are supposed to be in rabbinic Judaism we need to examine the traditional conception of what, according to divine assignment, Jewish men and women have to do (or not do). Concepts and debates on masculinities in the Jewish culture are, in other words, based on the idea of Jewish practice in liturgy and daily life as ruled by the commandments (mitzvoth) which, according to the biblical narrative, the Jewish people received on Mount Sinai. The Jewish culture was, in turn, moulded by rabbinic literature (i.e. by the Talmud and cognate texts which came into existence, broadly speaking, from the late 2nd century until the 7th century CE). Debates on the ensuing gender construction and its effects on Jewish society in history became explicit when, from the 19th century on and increasingly since the second half of the 20th century, these traditional images ceased to be regarded as matters of course and were critically reflected upon.1 To be sure, many Jews, if not the majority of today’s Jews, no longer share the basic theological premises of the traditional construction of Jewish history, namely the belief that the Torah was miraculously given to the Jewish tribes on their way out of Egypt more than 3,000 years ago by God. Nor do they uphold the construction of the oral Torah (as codified in the Talmud und midrash) given to Moses at the same time as the written Torah (codified in the Pentateuch) and the transmission of this oral Torah in parallel to the (biblical) written Torah and the doctrine of the binding force of these stipulations until today. Nevertheless, the idea of a normative Jewish practice (including the gender aspects of this practice) remains a powerful factor in the different Jewish societies, in the state of Israel as well as in the Jewish diasporas. Due to the still significant numbers of Jews who continue to follow the traditional Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, and also because of modern reactions by different trends of secular Judaism or by diverging Jewish religious reform movements,2 the issue of the style and rhythm of life following the rules of normative Judaism, as put down in the literature of rabbinic Judaism, remains highly relevant today. In the following, we shall explore the foundations of 1 2

On these discussions see Kaplan 1991. Cf. Rosenthal/hom*olka 1999; Lässig 2006.

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the traditional gender ascriptions in the Jewish sources of late antiquity with regard both to religious practice and religious study, and then turn to the socioeconomic consequences of these ascriptions before we finally assess modern critical approaches within the Zionist movement and more recent responses to Zionism and to contemporary challenges in the State of Israel.

1. The Traditional Gendered Subdivision of Torah Laws According to the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Makkot 23b), the 613 commandments which were given by God to the people of Israel on Mount Sinai can be subdivided into different categories. Contrary to Christianity which has introduced the distinction between moral laws and ceremonial laws (the latter having been, according to the New Testament, abandoned after the coming of Christ) Judaism does not recognize differences with regard to the degree of obligation (stricter laws as opposed to less strict laws) but catego‐ rizes the laws according to their function and their field of application. The main criterion for the classification of the Torah laws is the division between positive and negative norms, 248 mitzvoth asseh (commandments) as opposed to 365 mitzvoth lo ta’asseh (prohibitions). Additionally, the Talmud teaches that there is a difference between commandments structured by time (like Shabbat or holiday observance or the obligation to circumcise a male baby eight days after his birth) and command‐ ments not structured by time which are always binding irrespective of the change of times and seasons, like most of the stipulations in the Decalogue (not to steal, not to commit adultery, etc.). According to Jewish tradition, these different categories are closely linked to another pattern of classification which divides the stipulations up with regard to their range of obligation. Rules which, according to the understanding of the Torah, pertain to every human being (the seven Noahidic laws), coexist next to mitzvoth which were given to the Jewish people only; commandments including an obligation to every Jewish person (as to recognize that there is only one God) are juxta‐ posed to commandments related to differences of age (with regard to the distinction between boys and girls up to the age of twelve or thirteen respec‐ tively and adults) or differences in gender.3 Commandments related to gender differences (differentiating between Jewish men and women) may further be subdivided into those laws which are based on biological differences (with regard to bearing children), and commandments which are gender based but not related to biological differences. 3

The Talmud and midrash literature include surprisingly detailed discussions on the rights and duties of persons with both sexes (androgynes) and of persons perceived as having no sex at all. Cf. Stökl Ben Ezra 2009.

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The Talmud teaches that women are generally exempted (together with children and slaves) from mitzvot restricted by time like the daily prayer, the wearing of phylacteries (tefillin), the hearing of the ram’s horn (shofar) on New Year’s Day and the eating in the booth (sukka) during the feast of taber‐ nacles (feast of the ingathering) celebrated in autumn.4 Exceptions include the three obligations for women of lighting the Shabbat candles on Friday evening (according to the tradition eighteen minutes before sunset, in Hebrew: hadlaqat nerot), of observing the menstrual laws of ritual purity (niddah), and the separation of a portion of the dough before braiding the challah (a typically braided bread eaten on ceremonial occasions).5 Tradition‐ ally, these three obligations are summarized in the Hebrew acronym of chanah (challah – niddah – hadlaqat nerot). On the other hand they are required to perform nearly all the commandments not structured by time, and they must, additionally, follow virtually all the negative commandments, regardless of whether they are timebound (like the prohibition to work on Shabbat and on Jewish holidays or to eat on fasting days like Yom Kippur or the ninth of Av) or not.6 As the commandments not restricted by time are mostly prohibitions (like the stipulation not to kill or not to steal), the majority of the divine commandments for women are mitzvoth lo ta’asseh. The uneven distribution of religious obligations in the Jewish tradition can be roughly summarized according to the following scheme: positive commandment

negative commandment

time structured

men only (exceptions: “chanah”)

men and women

not time structured

men and women

men and women

Jewish feminists draw our attention to the fact that according to this scheme many prestigious commandments (leading the communal prayer, wearing the tallith, the traditionally fringed garment during the prayer, performing certain rituals like taking and waving the four species during the festival of taberna‐ cles) are restricted to men.7 What remains for women are predominantly 4

5

6

7

Women, of course, may eat in the sukka during this holiday, but they are not religiously obliged to do so. In the context of rabbinic Judaism, this means that their act of having the meal in the booth is void of religious significance. These three exceptional obligations ‘structured by time’, summarized in the Hebrew acronym ‘Chanah’ (‫ – חנ"ה‬Challah, Niddah, and Hadlaqat Nerot [lighting the candles]), have subsequently become important for the religious practice of Jewish women. They are, on the other hand, religious obligations not performed by Jewish men. Cf. Mishna, Tractate Qiddushin I,7. Excepted are, of course, prohibitions related to biological features of men like the prohibition to trim one’s beard (Lev 19,37 and Num 6,5), and viewing the deceased (Kiddushin 33b). The ‘Four Species’ refer to branches of the hadass (myrtle), the aravah (willow), the lulav (palm tree), and the etrog (citron). When bound together, these branches are called ‘the lulav’ which has to be ritually waved by adult Jewish men during the festival of tabernacles. Cf. Adler 1983, 13; Kaplan 1991, 64.

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negative commandments like to fast on certain days (Yom Kippur), not to do certain things during the festivals, and general moral commandments which are not really specific to Judaism (e.g. to honour one’s parents, not to steal, not to murder, not to commit adultery). According to the rabbinic tradition, men are, on the other hand, subject to the vast majority of commandments; this is not only seen as a burden, but primarily as a privilege to be chosen to serve God. This privilege finds its expression in the fact that men, not women, are responsible for most of the commandments not only in the reli‐ gious and ritual, but also in the social sphere: they are the ones who are obliged to (actively) marry and found a family,8 they are the ones who are religiously bound to father children, to feed their wives, to supply them with clothing and to satisfy them sexually.9 According to research in the last decades, this sketch of the rabbinic gender construction as found in Jewish late antiquity (2nd to 5th century CE), shows traces of discussion with the neighbouring Greco-Roman and early Christian world. The rabbis advocating for the duty of procreation to be incumbent on Jewish men (implicitly) rejected the contemporary patristic ideal, which saw in marriage only the lesser of evils while privileging celibacy and the monastic lifestyle. One rabbinic saying goes so far as to proclaim that a man who fails to procreate is seen as the equivalent of a murderer.10 Paradoxically enough, this extreme statement is attributed to Ben Azzai, a rabbinic sage who renounced to marriage in order to consecrate his life entirely to the study of Torah. This example is not only evidence of the tensions within rabbinic society of late antiquity but also testifies to the intricate relationship between the rabbinic conception of masculine-dominated sexual and family life and its twin value, the study of Torah.

2. Torah Study for Jewish Men Only As a matter of fact, the matching obligation to the dominant masculine role in sexuality, according to the gender construction of the rabbis in the Talmud, is the parallel stipulation that Torah study is an obligation for Jewish men only – and not for Jewish women. This is the interpretation which rabbinic commen‐ 8 9

10

In Hebrew terminology, men and women do not marry ‘each other’, but the man ‘takes’ a woman, while the wife ‘is taken’. Cf. Mishna Qiddushin 1,1. According to this conception, husbands have sexual duties, while wives have sexual rights. This corresponds to the rabbinic interpretation of Ex 21:10 (the husband is responsible to satisfy her “marital rights”). See Talmud Yerushalmi, Tractate Ketubbot 30b, 4-10 (translation: Morgenstern 2009, 240). Babylonian Talmud [=BT], Tractate Yevamot 63b; this opinion rests on the interpreta‐ tion that the biblical verse “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1, 28) has to be understood as a commandment and not as a blessing. See Cohen 1989; Biale 1992, 34.

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taries deduce from the divine commandment in Deuteronomy 11,19: “And you shall teach them [these words of God, the Torah] to your sons to speak with them, when you sit in your house and when you walk on the way and when you lie down and when you rise”. The Jewish medieval philosopher Maimonides (1135/38-1204) explains in his legal Codex Mishne Torah that this verse means that women and daugh‐ ters are exempted from this obligation. They do not have to study the Torah: “Women and slaves are exempted from the [obligation to] study the Torah. But [male] children have to be taught by their fathers, because it is said: ‘And you shall teach them to your sons’”.11 This explanation of the biblical law, widely recognized by Jews through the centuries as legally and religiously binding, has had (and still has) immense consequences for gender differences concerning the religious and social esteem of men and women. As a matter of fact in traditional Judaism, the social status of women is seen as inferior to men because status and mutual recognition are closely linked to the study and teaching of the Torah. Man is “the spiritual ‘keeper’ of godliness, and of human tradition. The male sex forms the perpetuators, the links of the chain of traditions”.12 The extraordinary prestige of Torah learning comes to the fore in many sayings in the Jewish tradition. The expressions we read in the mishnaic Pirqe Avot (Sayings of the Fathers) are revealing even as far as the verbal forms (all appearing in the masculine conjugation) used by the speakers are concerned: “Rabbi Shimon would say: Three [men] who eat at one table and do not speak words of Torah, it is as if they have eaten of idolatrous sacrifices”.13 Another text underlines: “Ten who sit together and occupy themselves with Torah, the Divine Presence rests amongst them”.14 The rabbinic saying that “an ignoramus cannot be a saint”15 means that he (or she) will not know how to avoid sin because of his ignorance of the commandments in the Torah and his inability to conduct a life according to Torah standards. (It is supposed that girls and then women are to be taught with regard to the fewer obligations relevant for them by their parents and later by their husbands.) It follows that whoever has not learnt evidently cannot reach the highest level of reputation in this culture, the position of becoming a rabbi teaching the Torah to his students. Accordingly, the daily morning blessing in the Jewish prayer book includes a praising of God “who has not made me a woman”, a text which, since the 19th century, has provoked much indignation and discomfort because it was 11 12 13 14 15

Maimonides, Hilkhot Talmud Torah 1,1. Hirsch 1973, 33 (on Gen 1,27). Pirqe Avot 3:3. Ibid. 3:6. Ibid. 2:6; quoted in Adler 1983, 15.

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seen as expressing a quintessential misogyny lying at the core of a patriarchal religion.16 How can this distribution of religious performance be interpreted? How can we understand the image of masculinity according to this tradition? One tradi‐ tional explanation points to the gender roles restricting the women’s task to bearing children, raising a family, and fulfilling domestic responsibilities. According to this rendering, the traditional obligation for Jewish men to bear the main load of the religious commandments and also to study the Torah mirrors the rabbi’s concern for exonerating women who have to take care of the children.17 A more convincing explanation refers to the historic circum‐ stances under which these post-biblical laws came into existence. According to the American Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin, the post-biblical Jewish culture transformed the ideal Jewish man in order to make him fit to meet the requirements of the Diaspora situation, to help him assert his identity and to survive in his often hostile surroundings. Following this assumption, the ideal of male erudition in rabbinic culture corresponds to Jewish men’s lack of virility. The Talmud has chosen to represent Jewish men as passive – staying at home and learning – which, in this interpretation, means that they have been “feminized”.18 A number of talmudic texts were put forward in order to support this inter‐ pretation. Changing nuances and transformations in the depiction of political and military power in Jewish literature can be determined with greater certainty when different versions of particular themes or of a particular episode can be compared. In this respect, Boyarin has drawn our attention to the Maccabean hero Eleazar, who – according to the narrative in 2 Maccabees (1st century B.C.) – was “a man” (ἀνὴρ), “advanced in age and of noble pres‐ ence” and “one of the scribes in high position” (2 Macc 6,18). When the enemy, inspired by vicious zeal, tried to force him “to open his mouth in order to eat swine’s flesh” he preferred “to welcome death with honor rather than life with pollution” (2 Macc 6,19). By “manfully giving up his life” (διόπερ ἀνδρείως μὲν νῦν διαλλάξας τὸν βίον), he showed himself “worthy of his old age leaving a noble example to the young of how to die a good death will‐ ingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws” (2 Macc 6,27/28). To be sure, this remarkable text which praises virtues of Hellenistic masculinity as, however desperately, employed in resistance to the godless oppressor was excluded from the Jewish Bible; the narrative of the priest and martyr Eleazar survived due to its becoming part of the Christian canon of the Greek Old Testament, where it turned into a literary model for the description of the 16 17 18

On this benediction see BT, Tractate Menachot 43b and Elbogen 1967, 90; women instead praise God who has made them, “according to your will”. See Meiselman 1978, 144. Boyarin 1979, 5.

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Christian martyrs in late antiquity. Remarkably enough, the Babylonian Talmud has preserved a quite different story of a Jewish hero named Eleazar in danger of dying, this time in front of the Roman authorities. Charging Rabbi Eleazar ben Perata19 of being a robber and of illegally studying Torah, the Gentile authorities brought him up for his trial. This time the Jewish sage does not reveal himself a ‘manly’ hero but turns out to be a trickster. With his punning and his feminizing behaviour – he pretends to be busy with house work – he succeeds in escaping and saving his life. They asked him, ‘Why have you been studying [the Torah] and why have you been stealing?’ He answered, ‘If one is a scholar, then he is not a robber [an Aramaic play on words: Saifa la Safra], if a robber, then he is not a scholar, and as I am not the one nor am I the other.’ ‘Why then,’ they rejoined, ‘are you titled Master’? ‘I,’ replied he, ‘am a Master of Weavers.’ Then they brought him two coils and asked, ‘Which is for the warp and which for the woof?’ A miracle occurred and a female bee came and sat on the warp and a male bee came and sat on the woof. ‘This,’ he said, ‘is of the warp and that of the woof’.20

Apart from the sexual connotation in the image of the woof penetrating the warp we get the impression that Rabbi Eleazar, with his discourse of “double meaning and ambiguous intentions”, is equipped with ‘female’ features. As a matter of fact, he is also working with wool, which in antiquity was predomi‐ nantly a woman’s activity.21 The contrast to the time of the Maccabees, when the priest Eleazar displayed his ‘manliness’ by persisting steadily throughout his suffering could not be stronger. In his essay on tricksters, martyrs and collaborators, Daniel Boyarin has characterized this phenomenon as “gendered resistance” which a Roman polemicist “would deride as effemi‐ nate”.22 This image of ‘female’ rabbis is matched by talmudic glorifications of the sages’ beauty. “He who desires to see R. Yohanan’s beauty, let him take a silver goblet as it emerges from the crucible, fill it with the seeds of red pomegranate, encircle its brim with a chaplet of red roses, and set it between the sun and the shade: its lustrous glow is akin to Rabbi Yohanan’s beauty”.23 The text goes on measuring the outstanding beauty of the protagonist by his not having a beard. The extraordinary quality of Rabbi Yohanan’s beauty then finds expression in the representation of its seemingly magic influence. 19

20 21 22 23

On Rabbi Eleazar, a Tannaitic sage of the second generation (early 2nd century CE), see Bacher 1903, 400-403 and Morgenstern 2017, 381-388. His epithet “ben Perata” can, in the local Palestinian Aramaic dialect, perhaps be translated as “the one who changes”, Stemberger 1992, 82. BT, Tractate Avoda Zara 17b, see Boyarin 2002, 61. In the Bible (cf. 2 Sam 3,29; Prov 31,13) and in the Talmud (mKet 5,6), dealing with wool is regarded as characteristic of women; see Morgenstern 2006, 233. Boyarin 2002, 62; Boyarin 1999, 55. BT, Tractate Baba Metzia 84a.

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“Sitting at the gates of the mikweh” (the ritual bath), Rabbi Yohanan said: “When the daughters of Israel ascend from the bath, let them look upon me, that they may bear sons as beautiful and as learned as I”.24 In a narrative illustrating the seductive power of his beauty, another Jew, Resh Laqish, who is held to be a robber bearing a weapon, sees him when he is bathing in the Jordan and jumps into the river after him, obviously with the intention to rape him. Subsequently Rabbi Yohanan succeeds in convincing his opponent of the superior power of Torah study. Resh Laqish then repents; he starts to study the Bible and the Mishna, becoming able to dispute in the schoolhouse about questions of ritual purity of daggers, spears and scythes. This way, according to the Talmud, he becomes ‘a great man’. Rabbi Johanan also gives him his sister in marriage who (as he says) “is more beautiful than I”.25 To be sure, Jewish culture in late antiquity was anything but monolithic. As the rabbis of the Talmud saw themselves as a distinct caste, an elite, the gender construction put forward in their texts was, sociologically speaking, certainly not representative for all the Jews of their time. In the long run however, the image of the Jewish man who remains secluded in the Bet Midrash and displays his ‘heroic values’ not in physical resistance, but in his Torah study, has left its mark on the Jewish mind. It has born its imprint on the imagination of Jewish men and women and influenced their self-under‐ standing until the threshold of modernity.

3. Socio-Economic Consequences The rabbinic predilection for Talmudic erudition rather than for skills of bodily fitness (disputing over the ritual purity of weapons rather than using them) could not fail to have its effects in the economic sphere. To be sure, Rabbi Eleazar’s competence regarding wool, as we have seen, did not extend to practical handicraft, but was only religious knowledge (i.e. knowledge regarding religious law, the halakhah) – he was not saved by his professional expertise but by divine intervention. No less noteworthy, therefore, are the 24

25

The idea that his extraordinary beauty might be, so to speak, ‘contagious’ refers to the conception that the wives coming out of the Miqwe in order to be ritually prepared for marital intercourse should think of Rabbi Yohanan while having sex with their husbands. Remembering his beauty would then leave an ‘imprint’ on the engendered babies. According to Boyarin, this remarkable story can also be understood as indication of the “absence of hom*osexual panic in pre-modern Jewish culture”, Boyarin 1997, 17. Boyarin argues that the biblical prohibition of hom*osexual activity was perceived in rabbinic sources not as opposition to hom*osexuality in general, but only to anal inter‐ course between men.

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consequences of the rabbinic gender construction for the professional and economic status of men. According to the talmudic interpretation of the biblical obligation to “meditate on this law day and night” (Ps 1,2), this duty refers not only to the study of the written, but even more so to the study of the oral Torah. Accordingly, the traditional Jewish elementary schools (cheder) in Eastern Europe, where the basics of Judaism and the Hebrew language were taught, as well as the yeshivot and the kolelim (singular: kolel, institutions of full-time advanced study of the Talmud and of rabbinic literature), which competed for students aiming to achieve the traditional rabbinic ideal, published timetables featuring an absolute predominance of Talmud study. Given the enormous amount of texts in the Talmud and the complexity of its contents, the traditional institutions of Jewish learning in early modern Eastern Europe favoured the study of the Talmud and its early and later commentaries while often (or mostly) neglecting not only the bible but also other subjects such as languages, science and humanities. The ideal of Jewish erudition in this context was the talmudic sage, an old man who had studied Jewish law all his life, lacking education and competence in ‘secular’ subjects. A constellation often seen in the traditional Jewish world ensuing from this educational system was a woman-like ‘soft’ man staying at home studying Torah (or continuing to study at his kolel as an adult man). This Jewish man was a luftmensh, a ‘loser’, an impractical or even foolish person, having no permanent business or income. In the meantime, his wife had ‘masculine’ traits, working outside in order to earn the family living.26 The practical consequence of this division of labour according to the rabbinic gender construction was, paradoxically enough, a kind of economic strength for women. Women were relatively well experienced in the outside world; they had to cope with languages other than Hebrew (or Yiddish), they received some professional training and learned to be successful in the economic sphere. When the ghetto walls had fallen and the economic and cultural life of the European nations became open to Jews, the negative effects of this gender pattern were felt and discussed. The daughters of the Jewish upper-class in the larger cities in Berlin benefited from the new opportunities of secular education and flocked to the salons created by Rahel Varnhagen and Henriette Herz.27 While these activities undeniably contributed to Jewish women’s gain of social and personal power, the salons are sometimes also seen as part of the creation of the Jewish middle class and the countervailing movement towards a restricted home life (Verbürgerlichung).28 At the same time it was “on 26 27 28

This traditional Jewish stereotype finds its reflection in numerous expositions on the ‘strong’ Jewish woman according to Prov 31,10. See Kaplan 1991, 66. See Hyman 2006, 28; Richarz 2006, 94-96; Kaplan 1991, 66.

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record […] that some of those men, whose wives were the life and soul of social gatherings, were too embarrassed to put in an appearance”.29 In the course of Jewish emancipation and ‘enlightenment’ (haskala) in Central and Eastern Europe during the 19th century it became increasingly clear that the real problem for mastering the integration of Jews into modern society was not the Jewish woman, but the Jewish man, who until now had spent most of his time on religious study and was incapable of meeting the challenges of the new time. Diverging tendencies emerged which proposed different remedies to this state of affairs. The Jewish reform movement and secular circles gradually gave up the old Jewish life style; many transformed the traditional routine of religious learning into a new dynamic of secular studies, an approach which was responsible for the advancement of Jews in professional and academic spheres. Also on the Orthodox side of the Jewish spectrum, the urge was felt to find ways to integrate Jewish men into modern society, with its exigencies of professional life. This was the constellation which gave birth to the Tora im Derekh Eretz movement, a new ideology created by rabbis of German-Jewish Orthodoxy in the second half of the 19th century which aimed to enable a balanced relationship between traditionally observant life and the modern world. The Hebrew term Tora im Derekh Erets (literally ‘Torah with the way of the earth’) was taken from the Pirqe Avot in the Mishna which may be translated as ‘beautiful is the study of Torah combined with earning a liveli‐ hood’. The main champion of this approach was Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888), the rabbi of the Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft in Frankfurt on the Main. Hirsch founded a ‘Realschule’ (secondary school) offering a Jewish education which would enable pupils to make their living in their further lives in the professional world while at the same time being able to continue to study the Torah.30 The conservative reactions to the problem sometimes also included a sort of apologetic reinterpretation of the old stereotypes. According to this approach, the uneven distribution of religious obligations on men and women in the talmudic tradition had rested on the assumption that women are natu‐ rally more ‘spiritual’ than men, and therefore required less demanding reli‐ gious mitzvot.31 This meant on the other hand, according to this conception, that the less ‘spiritual’ men were obligated to pursue a higher degree of reli‐ 29 30 31

Katz 1973, 84. See Klugman 1996, 218-226. See Hirsch on Lev 23,43: “God’s Torah takes it for granted that our women have greater fervour and more faithful enthusiasm for their God-serving calling, and that this calling runs less risk in their case than in that of men from the temptations which occur in the course of business and professional life. Accordingly, it does not find it necessary to give women these repeated motivating reminders to remain true to their

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gious performance. It was for men that the main bulk of the mitzvoth system was constructed in order to meet masculine demands. Men (not women) needed religious rectification, direction, attention, and correction which consequently required more time and energy for Torah studies. In another step, the re-evaluation offered by Hirsch links the traditional gender construction of the Talmud to the Jewish condition in the Diaspora with its lack of its own statehood. In his commentary on Genesis 32,8, he finds the historic situation of the Jewish people symbolized in the confronta‐ tion between the twin brothers Jacob (hence Israel, the Jewish people) and Esau, identified with Edom (Gen 25,30), the latter being the symbol for Rome and military and political power: As Jacob and Esau opposed each other here, so, right up to the present day do Jacob and Esau stand one against the other. Jacob: a pater familias blessed with children, serving, working, filled with care. Esau a ‘finished made man’. What Jacob had achieved after struggling for it for twenty toilsome years […] viz. to be able to be an independent father of a household, that others have as their natural expectation from the cradle, that Esau, ‘the finished made’ man, had already had in full measure when Jacob left home; and while Jacob by the labour of his hands had succeeded in obtaining the happiness of being a father of a family, Esau had become in the mean‐ time a political personality, a leader of an army.32

The ‘normal’ situation of Edom in this picture consists in the fact that his ‘masculinity’ is taken for granted. Being a political personality, the leader of an army, Edom knows how to defend himself. Jacob’s existence, on the other hand, bears traces of the Jewish existence in Galut, in the diaspora. The Jews, by divine decree, had been deprived of a ‘normal’ human existence as far as political conditions were concerned; they were passive, deficient, living in Exile, ‘female’, while Edom was active and ‘male’. According to Hirsch’s definition, the anthropological condition of the Jews in the time before the coming of the Messiah was certainly ‘inferior’ to that of the Gentiles. This ‘lack’ in Judaism, however, found its expression in the readiness of the Jews to bear the yoke of heaven, to be obedient to the revealed commandments of the Torah, which singled Israel out.33

32 33

calling, and warnings against weaknesses in their business life”. See the remarks on this commentary by Hirsch’s great-grandson Mordechai Breuer: Breuer 1995, 399. See also a quite similar contemporary version of this interpretation from Moss n.d. [Accessed: 18/05/2018]. Hirsch 1973, 498. On the other hand, according to Hirsch, Israel was also more ‘human’ than Edom, because Edom, with his emphasis on military power and strength, failed to show the true human feeling of compassion. His ‘masculinity’ lacked the ‘feminine’ side of humanity. In the end, Hirsch believed (his assumption was probably that these days were not far off), that the true destination of humanity would be found when Jacob and Esau would meet again. Edom would then weep and recognize his brother (see Gen 33,8), and Jacob would succeed in lifting him up to true humaneness. At this stage of

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4. The Zionist Gender Revolution It was to this gendered conception of the Jewish fate – the history of the Jews in the Diaspora being a triumph of the ‘female’ principles of weakness and passiveness over the ‘male’ ones of strength and activity – that secular Zionism reacted, combining elements of an anti-religious Kulturkampf revolt with features of a gender revolution. Early, poignant expressions of this rebel‐ lion are found in the poems of East European writers of the Hebrew renais‐ sance movement. Chaim Nachman Bialik (1873-1934), in his poem Be-Ir ha-harega (In the City of Murder), excoriated the Jews of Kishinev for having failed to defend themselves in the pogroms of April 1903. In his text, the poet focuses less on the crimes of the perpetrators than on the dishonourable passiveness of the fleeing victims whose ‘unmanly’ behaviour he criticizes. Already at the 1898 Zionist Congress, Max Nordau had coined the term ‘muscular Judaism’ (Muskeljudentum) as the ideal of a new Jewish culture which would overcome the long-held stereotype of the weak and intellectual Diaspora Jew by attaining corporeal and moral virtues such as discipline, agility and strength, resulting in a stronger, more physically assured attitude of the Jews. He suggested that the Jews, “thought by many physician to be the quintessential neurasthenics”, should “overcome their hereditary nervousness by developing their bodies”.34 For the young Jewish pioneers who came to Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century, this ideal included the glorification of physical labour, namely the working of the land of Israel.35 To be sure, the young secularJewish settlers joining together to found Kibbutzim, utopian communities whose ideology blended socialism and Zionism, lacked any prior farming experience. The driving force in their motivation to dry out the swampy lands of the Galilee, to cultivate the rocky landscape of the Judaean mountains, and to fertilize the deserts of the South was their unbending will to change the fate of the Jewish people by transforming the Jewish man through the experience of labour. Aharon David Gordon (1856-1922), one of the most influential philosophers of Labour Zionism, preached that the Jewish suffering in the Diaspora had been linked to the Jewish men’s failure to participate in creative labour. For him, working the land of Israel was a holy task, not only for the Jewish individual but for the entire Jewish people. To meet this challenge would unite the people with the land and provide a justification for its

34 35

history, Jacob would also finally learn from Edom’s ‘finished-made’ existence. After the ‘reunification’ of the Jewish people and the Jewish land, certain qualities which Jacob’s brother had cultivated would be needed in order to build a Jewish state under God’s law of Torah. Biale 1992, 179. See ibid., 183.

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renewed existence there. According to Gordon, the Land of Israel should not be acquired by violence, but through labour.36 For the Hebrew poet Abraham Shlonsky (1900-1972) the idealized image of the land of Israel was bound up with biblical motifs of the love between God and the people of Israel; in the imagery of the Song of Songs, read in a nonreligious Zionist perspective, the agricultural pioneers were now the lovers whose sacred task was to fertilize the ‘female’ land.37 Although these highly ideologized settlers were only a small minority among the early Jewish immi‐ grants to Palestine, their values influenced the cultural ethos of the Zionist society as a whole. The memories of these beginnings, saturated with erotized labour, serve to this day to create the myth of the origins of the Zionist state.38 When Israeli born Jews are named Sabras – the emblematic term alludes to a thorny desert fruit, known in English as prickly pear and held to be tough on the outside, but sweet on the inside – the impact of this gendered self-concep‐ tion on the secular part of the Israeli society is still felt today.

5. Post-Zionist Neo-Talmudism versus Neo-Orthodox Masculinism Criticism of the Zionist project of the transformation of the Jewish society from a gender perspective did not fail to appear – quite apart from the debate on the Middle East conflict in the political sphere. Daniel Boyarin has described the Zionist enterprise as a “colonialist” performance and an export of “manliness to the Eastern Jews and to darkest Palestine”.39 The disastrous effects of Zionist discourse can be felt, according to his critique, not only by the Palestinian victims; they can also be measured by the effects the Herzlian reconfiguration ‘as gentile men’ had on Jewish self-perception.40 In his seminal work, Unheroic Conduct. The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Inven‐ tion of the Jewish Man, a Freudian-inspired rereading of talmudic sources, Boyarin attempts to find a way between “the dilemmas posed by gentle Jews (victimization) and tough Jews (brutalization)”41 by turning to Jewish femi‐ nism.42 In defining himself “a sort of orthodoxymoron, a male feminist Orthodox Jew”, whose interest is “in the perpetuation of Judaism through an internal process of feminist reformation”,43 he seeks to reconstruct a new 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

See Morgenstern 2003, 281. See Biale 1992, 183. See ib. 1991, 177. Boyarin 1997, 303. Ibid., 309. Breines 1990, 39. See Boyarin 1997, 353. Ibid., 356.

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model of rabbinic Judaism combining a critical attitude towards Zionism (Post-Zionism) and masculine self-esteem with a positive connotation of a ‘feminine’ encoded hom*osexuality.44 It comes as no surprise that both components of Boyarin’s message, his analysis of talmudic passages as well as his rereading of Zionist history, did not remain unchallenged.45 With regard to certain levels of the Orthodox segment of the Jewish population in Israel it can be remarked that the old opposition between secular ‘male’ orientation on labour and military strength and the ‘effeminate’ religious withdrawal to religious studies seems to be gradually vanishing as parts of the halakhically observant population increas‐ ingly appear on the Israeli job market;46 although larger segments of ultra‐ orthodox society still refuse to join the Israeli army, other parts do, and they also adopt its values. Attempts to incorporate pre-talmudic Jewish motifs which, in the Bible and in the writings of the antique Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, praised political activism and military heroism, into the dominant mainline Orthodox discourse (neo-orthodox masculinism), are characteristic of these recent developments, which include a sharp critique of the desolation of ‘only-this-worldly’ secular and ‘materialistic’ life and a reappraisal of traditional Torah learning.47 Bibliography Adler, Rachel (1983): The Jew who wasn’t there. Halakhah and the Jewish Woman. In: Heschel, Susannah (ed.): On Being a Jewish Feminist. A Reader. New York: Schocken, 12-18. Bacher, Wilhelm (1903): Die Agada der Tannaiten. Vol. 1 Von Hillel bis Akiba. 2nd edition. Straßburg: Trübner. Biale, David (1992): Eros and the Jews. From Biblical Israel to Contempo‐ rary America. New York: Basic Books. Bodenheimer, Alfred (2017): Enterbte Väter? Postpatriarchale Paradigmen im Judentum. In: Dachs, Gisela (ed.): Jüdischer Almanach (Leo Baeck Insti‐ tute). Familie. Berlin: Jüdischer Verlag / Suhrkamp, 44-52. Boyarin, Daniel (1997): Unheroic Conduct. The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 44

45 46 47

See ibid., 234. Boyarin’s approach may be termed ‘Neo-Talmudism’ insofar as it is based on an attempt to reconstruct traditional Talmud thinking and the Talmudic way of life by means of ‘post-modern’ devices. For the debate on the halakhic approach in the Babylonian Talmud to hom*osexuality see Kosman/Sharbat 2004; Rapoport 2004; see also Bodenheimer 2017, 45. There are signs pointing to the formation of an ultraorthodox (charedi) middle class. See Mashiach 2016.

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Boyarin, Daniel (1999): Dying for God. Martyrdom and the Making of Chris‐ tianity and Judaism. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Boyarin, Daniel (2002): Tricksters, Martyrs, and Collaborators. Diaspora and the Gendered Politics of Resistance. In: Boyarin, Jonathan / Boyarin, Daniel: Powers of Diaspora. Two Essays on the Relevance of Jewish Culture. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 35-102. Breines, Paul (1990): Tough Jews. Political Phantasies and the Moral Dilemma of American Jewry. New York: Basic Books. Breuer, Mordechai (1995): Il commento al Pentateuco di Samson Raphael Hirsch. In: Sierra, Sergio J. (ed.): La lettura ebraica delle Scritture. Bologna: Edizioni Dehoniane, 381-400. Cohen, Jeremy (1989): “Be Fertile and Increase, Fill the Earth and Master It”. The Ancient and Medieval Career of a Biblical Text. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Elbogen, Ismar (1967): Der jüdische Gottesdienst in seiner geschichtlichen Entwicklung. 3rd revised edition. Hildesheim: Olms. Hirsch, Samson Raphael (1973): The Pentateuch Translated and Explained. Translated by Isaac Levy. 2nd edition. Gateshead: Judaica Press. Hyman, Paula E. (2006): Muster der Modernisierung. Jüdische Frauen in Deutschland und Russland. In: Heinsohn, Kirsten / Schüler-Springorum, Stefanie (eds): Deutsch-jüdische Geschichte als Geschlechtergeschichte. Studien zum 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Göttingen: Wallstein, 25-45. Kaplan, Marion A. (1991): The Making of the Jewish Middle Class. Women, Family, and Identity in Imperial Germany. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Katz, Jacob (1973): Out of the Ghetto. The Social Background of Jewish Emancipation. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Klugman, Eliyahu Meir (1996): Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. Architect of Torah Judaism for the Modern World. New York: Mesorah Publications. Kosman, Admiel / Sharbat, Anat (2004): “Two Women Who Were Sporting with Each Other”. A Reexamination of the Halakhic Approaches to Lesbianism as a Touchstone for hom*osexuality in General. In: Hebrew Union College Annual 75, 37-74. Lässig, Simone (2006): Religiöse Modernisierung, Geschlechterdiskurs und kulturelle Verbürgerlichung. Das deutsche Judentum im 19. Jahrhundert. In: Heinsohn, Kirsten / Schüler-Springorum, Stefanie (eds): Deutsch-jüdische Geschichte als Geschlechtergeschichte. Studien zum 19. und 20. Jahrhun‐ dert. Göttingen: Wallstein, 46-84.

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Mashiach, Amir (2016): The Ethos of Masada in Halakhic Literature. In: Review of Rabbinic Judaism 19, 54-77. Meiselman, Moshe (1978): Jewish Woman in Jewish Law. New York: Ktav Publishing House. Morgenstern, Matthias (2003) Aharon David Gordon. In: Kilcher, Andreas B. / Fraisse, Otfried (eds): Metzler Lexikon jüdischer Philosophen. Stuttgart / Weimar: Metzler, 297-282. Morgenstern, Matthias (2006): Nidda. Die Menstruierende. Übersetzung des Talmud Yerushalmi. Volume VI/1. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Morgenstern, Matthias (2009): Ketubbot. Eheverträge. Übersetzung des Talmud Yerushalmi. Volume III/3. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Morgenstern, Matthias (2017): Gendered Resistance. Anmerkungen zur Makkabäer-Rezeption im rabbinischen und modernen Judentum. In: Avemarie, Friedrich / Bukovec, Predrag / Krauter, Stefan / Tilly, Michael (eds): Die Makkabäer. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Moss, Aron (n.d.): The Gender Gap. Are Women more Spiritual? URL: http:// www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2576222/jewish/The-Gender-Gap. htm [Accessed: 18/05/2018]. Rapoport, Chaim (2004): The Prohibition of hom*osexuality. An Authentic Orthodox View. London: Vallentine Mitchell. Richarz, Monika (2006): Geschlechterhierarchie und Frauenarbeit in der Vormoderne. In: Heinsohn, Kirsten / Schüler-Springorum, Stefanie (eds): Deutsch-jüdische Geschichte als Geschlechtergeschichte. Studien zum 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Göttingen: Wallstein, 87-104. Rosenthal, Gilbert S. / hom*olka, Walter (1999): Das Judentum hat viele Gesichter. Die religiösen Strömungen der Gegenwart. München: Knese‐ beck. Stemberger, Günter (1992): Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch. 8th edition. München: C.H.Beck. Stökl Ben Ezra, Daniel (2009): Homme et femme il le créa. Quelques obser‐ vations sur l’intersexué dans la littérature tannaïtque. In: Tsafon 58, 107-126.

David and Bathsheba: Masculine Sexuality in Medieval Judaism and Christianity Ruth Mazo Karras In medieval European societies, just as a wealthy and powerful man could have the best house or castle, the best clothing and armour, the best food, so too he could have his choice of women, and multiple partners. Men’s sexual performance with women was a version of masculine prowess as seduction was seen as another form of battle or at least of diplomatic manoeuvre. Men used women as a currency of masculine competition, expressing domination over other men by taking their women, controlling a scarce resource (from a viewpoint what considers women as under the control of men, which is consistent with many medieval attitudes). Access to multiple sex partners also meant more opportunity for fertility and fatherhood. In premodern societies in which social hierarchy subordinated almost everyone to someone else, the wishes of someone in a higher position could not be denied with impunity, giving elite men sexual access not only to servants – which was largely a given – but also to the wives or daughters of their subordinates. But unlike, for example, in China, where powerful men could have as many concubines as they wished, medieval religions placed constraints upon men’s behaviour. For Jews, although the Bible provided examples of men with many wives and slave women or concubines, in the Middle Ages this was restricted. Plural marriage was forbidden in Ashkenazic Europe by a decree of Rabbi Gershom ben Judah of Mainz.1 It continued to be allowed elsewhere, but S.D. Goitein argued on the basis of documents from the Cairo Geniza, which includes letters, contracts and other legal papers documenting many aspects of social life, that it was relatively rare.2 In Christian Spain it was not recog‐ nized by the ruling authorities, but for a fee they would recognize the inheri‐ tance rights of the children of the union. Rabbis disapproved, but did not outright prohibit polygyny; however, they encouraged families marrying off their daughters to include a clause in the ketubah prohibiting another wife in the first wife’s lifetime.3 Among Jews in the kingdom of Aragon bigamy was still permitted in the 13th century, and in Castile probably later. Bridegrooms could be made to swear not to take a second wife during the first one’s life‐ time. Solomon ibn Adret (Rashba) ruled that it should happen only if there 1 2 3

See Grossman 1988, 3-23. See Goitein 1978, 147-150, 205-210. In disagreement as to the frequency of such unions, see Friedman 1986. See Melammed 2012, 265-267; Assis 1981, 257-263; Epstein 1925, 87.

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were no child after ten years of the first marriage, and the first wife had to agree. While a double standard prevailed – a man could be alone in a room with a woman without his wife being required (or even able) to divorce him – religious teaching clearly demanded that men restrict themselves sexually to their wives, and men were encouraged to marry young for this reason. In contrast with Jewish marriage, Christianity officially abolished the double standard in sexual behaviour: marriage was permanent and indissol‐ uble for both parties (in Judaism or Islam the husband, but only the husband, could decide to divorce). A married man who had sex with a woman not his wife was an adulterer, although this point was not universally recognized and most men punished as adulterers were those who had sex with a married woman.4 Although chastity – fidelity within marriage and abstinence outside of it – was not as paramount for men as it was for women, it was still the teaching of the church. This sat somewhat uneasily with the reasons discussed above for the importance of sexual activity to elite men. As a broad general‐ ization, one may say that it was quite common to turn a blind eye to the sexual activities of aristocratic men, and for other men to encourage female family members to become sexually involved with them in order to gain advantages, but that the church officially frowned on it. A detailed description of how these issues worked themselves out in late antique and medieval Judaism and Christianity (let alone Islam, on which I cannot comment here) would be too much, so I focus on one key biblical figure, King David, and how he was interpreted during the Middle Ages and used as a model for the behaviour of medieval men. Religious teachings do not reflect or control adherents’ behaviour. Nevertheless, figures like David were held up as examples and ideals. Yet biblical figures, including David, engaged in some distinctly un-ideal behaviour, and religious authorities had to explain it. According to the Bible, David had eight wives, in addition to a variety of concubines, some of whom he inherited from King Saul – was this understood in the Middle Ages as a question of sexual appetite, or a series of alliances? How could someone be understood as a hero and model when he engaged in behaviour that would be unacceptable for other men? Although medieval people were well aware that practices around marriage and concubi‐ nage were different from those in biblical times, adultery – the taking of someone else’s wife – was never permissible, and the question of David’s adultery with Bathsheba forms one of the narrative turning-points in the story of David, as well as one of the key moments for those who attempted an overall evaluation of David’s character. For Christians, the key was repen‐ tance, whereas for Jews it was obedience to God.

4

On the erosion of the double standard see Brown 1988, 51/52; Harper 2013.

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1. The David Story Before turning to medieval Christian and Jewish interpretations of the story, it will be useful briefly to summarize the story as retold in 2 Samuel: David has sent his army into the field under Yoav. While waiting for news from the front, he happens to see from his rooftop a very beautiful woman bathing. He inquires as to who she is and is informed that she is Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of his generals. He sends for her and has sex with her. The Bible is silent on how she feels about it, until she becomes pregnant and informs him. Whether David is concerned for her reputation or his own, his thought is to make it seem that her husband is the father of her child. He immediately sends for Uriah, ostensibly for news about the war; he then dismisses him to go to his house. Uriah, however, camps outside the King’s house instead of going home, judging it inappropriate to lie at home with his wife while the army is in the field. Even after David gets him drunk, he refuses to go home. David then sends Uriah back to Yoav with a letter, asking Yoav to place him in the vanguard in the next battle. Uriah is duly killed in battle. When Bathsheba finishes the mourning period for her husband, David marries her, and she bears a son. However, God is angry with David. Nathan the Prophet goes to David and delivers a memorable speech, in which he uses the example of the poor man who has but one ewe lamb, and the rich man who has flocks of sheep who takes the poor man’s one lamb. David says that such a wicked man should be condemned to death. Nathan says that God gave David the two kingdoms, and all Saul’s wives, and much more, and yet David sent Uriah to his death and took Bathsheba; because of this, God would raise up an enemy out of David’s own house, who would take his wives (an allu‐ sion to the rebellion by David’s son Absalom). David admits that he has sinned against the Lord and Nathan says that David himself will not die but that his new-born son will. David fasts and prays, but the child indeed dies. David then sleeps with Bathsheba again, and she conceives the future king Solomon.

2. Christian Interpretation: David as a Model of Penitence Christianity did not see David’s adultery as completely negative: Christian thinkers offered a variety of allegorical readings. David’s love for Bathsheba was the love of Christ for the church. The interpretation of Bathsheba as the Church turning to Christ is supported by the image of her bathing, which can be taken as a figure of baptism.5 Angelomus of Luxeuil in the 9th century 5

See Van Liere 2011, 162.

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suggested that Uriah must represent the Jews and Bathsheba the Old Testa‐ ment or “the spiritual understanding of the letter of the law, which was wedded to a carnal people? […] What, indeed, does Uriah signify except the Jewish people?”6 When David tells Uriah to go and wash his feet, this is Christ telling the Jews to cleanse themselves of error and take up the spiritual meaning of scripture. When Uriah declines to go home to his wife while the Ark is in the field, this signifies the Jews’ refusal to accept the truth and stub‐ born maintenance of their error of carnal interpretation. Uriah carries to Yoav the letter demanding his death, just as the Jews transmit the scripture that convicts them of error.7 Other Christian thinkers came up with a variety of allegorical meanings, nearly always with David representing Christ.8 Angelomus does not deny David’s sin; he merely looks beyond it and notes that many historical events use sin to signify virtue. “Just as some deed is in fact a cause of damnation, in the Bible it is a prophecy of virtue”. Properly read, David is holy and Uriah unfaithful. “The former by guilt in life signifies innocence in prophecy; the latter by innocence in life expresses guilt in prophecy”. Angelomus concludes with a discussion of how we should under‐ stand David’s sin. “Let us therefore hate the sin, but let us not blot out the prophecy. Let us love David inasmuch as he is to be loved, since he freed us from the devil by his mercy. Let us also love the penitence of David, who healed himself of such a grave wound of sin by the humility of penitence and confession”. David’s fall from virtue is a warning to all against pride, and his forgiveness for his transgression is a sign for all against despair. In essence, David as a model of masculinity has it both ways: he displays the strong sexual urge and the privilege that permits its immediate gratification, but he also can serve as a model of Christian virtue. When Christianity does regard David’s behaviour as a sin, that sin is primarily sexual. His murder of Uriah certainly compounds the offense, but it is a direct result of David’s lust. Making the sexual sin primary was typical of medieval Christian thought. The original sin of Adam and Eve was thought to be sexual and humankind thought to be universally subject to strong sexual temptation. The ecclesiastical elites who wrote the biblical exegesis, didactic treatises and even most of the narrative retellings were committed to celibacy and heavily invested in holding up sexual abstinence as a virtue. They did not expect abstinence of lay people, particularly not of kings, but their deep concern, not to say obsession, with sexual activity was reflected in the kinds of sins they assumed to be the most common and easiest to fall into. It is not a coincidence that the primary repentant sinner in Christianity, Mary Magda‐ 6 7 8

The summary here and the quotations in the paragraph which follows are from Angelomus of Luxeuil: Ennarationes in Libros Regum. 2:11. PL 115:361C-363C. This interpretation is also found in Morard (ed.) 2016. See De Lubac 2000 (orig. 1959-1964) for Christian interpretations of this passage.

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lene, who is referred to in the New Testament merely as a sinful woman, was understood in the Middle Ages as a prostitute.9 A sinful woman is very likely sexually sinful; this is less universally true of a man, but temptation to sexual sin was assumed to be very common and dangerous. The church fathers made a large point about the sins of the eye, which would be reiterated throughout the central and later Middle Ages. As Ambrose wrote: David would not have adulterated the right of another’s bed, and the vows of bound spouses, if he had not seen from inside his house a naked woman washing herself. Therefore it is written [Sir. 25:28]: ‘do not look upon women, and you will not feel concupiscence for women’.10

In Christian exegesis there is nothing about David asking to be tested by God, or the devil in the shape of a bird deliberately leading him astray, as we will find in Judaism (and in Islam as well). David’s temptation is something that could happen to anyone. This, however, leaves the door open to a blame-thewoman strategy. There is no curtain to be dislodged by David’s arrow; she is naked (a detail not given in the Bible) where he can see her without much difficulty. The blame on Bathsheba does not develop until the later Middle Ages, but the Christian approach, even from the time of the church fathers, is conducive to it. The main place where David’s penance is discussed is not in commentaries on or paraphrases of the book of Samuel, which were reasonably rare, but rather in those on Psalms, which were much more common. The Psalms were central to medieval Christian worship. Their recitation made up a huge portion of the liturgy, and in monasteries all of them would be chanted each week. Confessors assigned lay people to recite psalms as part of their penance. If lay people owned any parts of the Bible (and it would have been only the high nobility who did), it was likely to be the Psalter.11 In the later Middle Ages when private prayer by lay people was encouraged, the main texts they were urged to use were the Psalms, as presented in books of hours. In commentaries on the psalms, the focus is heavily on the repentance, not on the deeds that called it forth. Peter Lombard in the 12th century argued that David was appropriately understood as the author of all the Psalms, since he embodied their three themes of penitence, justice, and eternal life (the latter through his foretelling of Christ).12 Most Christians in the Middle Ages accepted the attribution of the entire book to David. Indeed, the repentance of David for his sin with Bathsheba came to represent the occasion for the composition of the entire book of Psalms, which he composed, according to 9 10 11 12

See Karras 1990. Ambrose (1897), 364. See Gross-Diaz 2012, 437-442. See Colish 1992, 539.

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Latin legend, sitting under a tree, the wood of which would later be used to make Christ’s cross.13 But it was also tied to specific points in the Psalms. In both the Jewish and Christian Bibles as known in the Middle Ages, Psalm 51 (50 in the Vulgate) is stated to have been composed when Nathan chastized David after he lay with Bathsheba (not after he had Uriah killed), and all the seven Penitential Psalms were associated with this event. David observing Bathsheba in her bath became in the later Middle Ages a standard illustration for Psalm 6. But the scene could also appear elsewhere in the Psalms, as for example in the Beatus initial at the beginning of Psalm 1.14 Penitence was one of the key concepts in a medieval Christianity that held that all humans were tainted by Adam’s and Eve’s original sin, and medieval Christianity’s deep concern with sexual behaviour ensured that David’s peni‐ tence would be interpreted as a response to a sexual sin.15 The public nature of his repentance was held up as an example to Christians. As Augustine argued, David was the prophet doing for all Christians what Nathan had done for David.16 For the 14th-century English hermit Richard Rolle, to interpret the Psalms was to move David’s penance from the individual to the communal level.17 Sermons throughout the Middle Ages and beyond stressed David as a model of penitence.18 Toward the end of the Middle Ages the iconography shifts from the image of a penitent David to that of Bathsheba, bathing naked, with David as a Peeping Tom. This may be in part because of the rise of private reading of psalms in Books of Hours, which led to more emotional and sometimes erotic images.19 But late medieval books of hours typically showed Bathsheba totally naked or with only a diaphanous shawl, and sometimes wearing jewellery or headgear that could connect her with a prostitute.20 Bathsheba is displaying herself to David, and at the same time displaying herself to the viewer too, who could enjoy the charms of the beautiful woman while at the same time absorbing the critique of the sin to which she led. Such images appeared in books made for female patrons also, although less commonly.21 Images like this in the later Middle Ages created a sympathy for David. Bathsheba is no modest bather behind a screen, as we will see she is in 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

See Costley 2004, 1241-1243. St. Louis Psalter, between 1253-1270, BNF Lat MS 10525, fol. 85v; (Stahl 2004). Ambrose, for example, leads with the lust for Bathsheba and the adultery: ib. (1897), Apologia 1 1:1, 319-320; Apologia 2 1:1, 359/360. Augustine, Ennarationes, Ps 50:5, 38:602. See Kuczynski 1999, 197-199. See Huttar 1980, 40. See Walker Vadillo 2007. Some images, however, had a strong similarity to the story of Susanna and the Elders, thereby emphasizing Bathsheba’s innocence (101). Cf. Kren 2005. See ibid., 56.

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Judaism; this is a woman aware of her beauty and charms and it is no wonder that a king gives in to temptation. The Chevalier de la Tour Landry, who wrote a guide for his daughters in 1371/72 that became popular throughout the 15th and 16th centuries and appeared in several printed editions, criticized her for combing her hair in front of a window.22 By the 16th century, authors were even showing Bathsheba apologizing and taking responsibility for the death of her husband.23 It might seem that placing the blame on a woman for tempting a man to sin detracts from his masculinity; weak and passive, putty in the hands of a temptress, would seem to be the opposite of dominant and in control. And yet, medieval Christian European masculinity contained both the idea of dominance and the idea of male passion as an unstoppable force. Men will always lust and always act on it, particularly kings. The act for which David repented was what a king did, because when he saw a beautiful woman tempting him, he was in a position to act on it. Masculinity resided both in being subject to temptation – that is, having an appetite for women – and in being powerful enough to act. Rather than see a large chronological shift here, we should see an ongoing ambivalence about male sexuality.24

3. Jewish Interpretations: David’s Perfect Piety The rabbis had a major problem accounting for David’s imperfections. He was a prophet, the founder of the house that would bring forth the Messiah. How could he be a worthy and admirable king if he went against the will of God? The Babylonian Talmud explains away the sins that David clearly commits in the Bible. According to an anonymous baraita (a legal teaching not included in the Mishnah) cited in the tractate Bava Batra there were, “three over whom the evil inclination [yetzer ha-ra] had no power. They were: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. […] Some say David as well”.25 The yetzer ha-ra or the inclination to evil is generally understood as particularly a sexual urge.26 Yet if not the yetzer ha-ra, what prompted David’s action with Bathsheba? Modern Talmud scholarship has a variety of explanations for the way David is excused from his sins, having to do with the political circum‐ stances of its compilation; the explaining away of David’s offenses as virtues may be intended ironically (for example, Michael Satlow suggests that the

22 23 24 25 26

De Montaiglon 1854, 154/155; Kren 2005, 50. See Wenzel 2001, 94-97. Cf. ibid., 97, who makes this point with regard to attitudes toward women. Babylonian Talmud [=BT], Bava Batra 17a, Schottenstein trans. See Boyarin 1993, 63-70.

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Babylonian Amoraim are alluding to David’s lust when they praise him for not allowing illness to keep him from his conjugal obligations).27 Medieval commentators, however, do not seem to have read the talmudic passage that way. Instead, as R. Yochanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yochai, “David was not suited to perform that deed [with Bathsheba]”, but it did in fact happen and needed to be explained. As Rashi detailed in the 11th century and the Tosafot in the 12th, David committed a deed to which he was unsuited in order to set an example of how an individual could atone for a sin, just as the Israelites created the golden calf in order to set an example of how a community could atone.28 Rabbinic Judaism, ironically or not, put the emphasis on God’s plan and David’s obedience to it, rather than, as Christians would do, on human free will and God’s mercy. Medieval Ashkenazic inter‐ preters of the Talmud elaborated on the exemplary nature of the repentance in addition, perhaps in awareness of the Christian take on this topic. The Tosafists, the medieval French school of Talmud interpretation, held that although the patriarchs were not subject to the yetzer ha-ra, they still had to fight against it, because otherwise they would not have deserved reward – not so different from the Christian view that virtue lies not in not feeling tempta‐ tion but in overcoming temptation.29 The Talmud focuses more on David’s culpability for the death of Uriah than on his adultery with Bathsheba. In Tractate Shabbat, R. Samuel bar Nachmani asks in the name of R. Jonathan, “Is it possible that [David] sinned and the Divine Presence was with him?” The answer comes from Rabbi and other sages who explain that Uriah actually deserved to die for his rebellious action, refusing to go to his house when David told him to do so. David’s sin was one of omission, in not putting Uriah on trial before the Sanhedrin, but he did not kill an innocent man. Nathan had accused him of killing Uriah with “the sword of the Ammonites”, but Rabbi – who, the Talmud points out here, was descended from David – explains this as meaning quite the opposite: David cannot be held responsible for the sword of the Ammonites, and there‐ fore neither can he be held responsible for the death of Uriah.30 Tosafot cite a text from elsewhere in the Gemara (the commentary portion of the Talmud) (Megillah 14b) to demonstrate that a king has the right to summarily execute a rebel; other commentators suggest that the statement that David should have had the Sanhedrin try Uriah was for the sake of appearances, so his marriage to Uriah’s wife or former wife would not appear suspicious.31 Further, R. 27 28 29 30 31

See Shimoff 1993; Kalmin 1996; Kalmin 1999; Diamond 2007; Satlow 1995, 278 n. 40, referring to BT Sanhedrin 107a. BT, Avodah Zarah, 4b-5a, Schottenstein trans. Tosafot to Bava Batra 17a. BT Shabbat 56a, Schottenstein trans. Tosafot to Shabbat 56a.

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Samuel says, all men who fought in David’s wars wrote out gets (bills of divorce) before they went, the implication being that it would save the women from ‘chained’ status if the husband’s death could not be certified. This means that Bathsheba was technically an unmarried woman and David was not an adulterer. Nor were David and Bathsheba’s sexual arrangements sinful in any way, because David married her legally. The verb is lakakh, ‘took’, which is also used for ‘married’, that is ‘took as a wife’. Rashi, in his 11th-century gloss, certainly understood this as a marriage, at the point where the couple first had sex before Uriah’s death. Tosafot say that even had David committed adultery with her he would have been able to marry her later; an adulterer and adul‐ teress are prohibited from marrying only if the woman consented to the orig‐ inal relations, and Tosafot claim Bathsheba was raped (‫)אנוסה‬. One would think the claim that David was a rapist a strange one to use to rehabilitate his reputation but it is passed over in silence. Tosafot disagree with Rashi as to whether Bathsheba was married to Uriah when David first had sex with her, that is, on whether the divorce given was conditional; they cite Rabbenu Tam who argues that the divorce was unconditional.32 The Talmud also adduces 1 Kings 15:5, saying that David had always followed God’s wishes “except in the case of Uriah the Hittite”. Tosafot do not understand this as “he sinned only with regard to Uriah and not Bathsheba” but “only in this affair and not at other points in his life” (they ask whether he sinned in taking a census of the people against God’s command).33 Nevertheless, the sin was considered to be in relation to Uriah – killing him or taking his wife – rather than in the nature of David’s relationship with Bathsheba, which is underplayed and excused. The Talmud also has another story to tell in mitigation of David’s offense. In Sanhedrin 107a Rav Judah retells in the name of his predecessor Rav the story of David’s encounter with Bathsheba. David inquires of God why prayer refers to “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” but does not speak of “the God of David”. God replies that the three patriarchs were tested and David was not; David then asks to be tested too. As David walks on the roof of his house, Satan comes to him in the form of a bird; when he shoots an arrow at it, he hits the screen that was blocking his view of Bathsheba, and this leads him to inquire about her and sleep with her. This story conveniently maintains Bathsheba’s modesty: she was not bathing

32

33

BT, Shabbat 56a, Schottenstein trans. In Sanhedrin 107a the School of Ishmael says that Bathsheba was destined for David, but that he took her too soon, implying that she was still married to Uriah. BT, Shabbat 56a.

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in full view.34 David’s offense with Bathsheba, then, was not due to his lust, but appears to be more related to his pride in thinking he could withstand a test from God. Rava uses the passage from Psalms 51:4, “Against You only have I sinned” to depict David making his case to God: he could have over‐ come the yetzer ha-ra but chose not to do so, because he did not want people to say that he had bested God. In other words, to the extent he gave in, he did so knowingly for a spiritually valid reason. This is a difficult passage and it is hard to explain why David demanded the test and then deliberately failed it. In the 16th century, the Maharal of Prague has an answer for this: that David would have been able to pass the test if God had chosen to test him, but failed because he himself had demanded it. Other later commentators pursue the same line. The Talmud, as usual, is not at all clear on these points, and I am summarizing it here in accordance with the medieval interpretations of Rashi and the Tosafot. We can also see in medieval midrash how David’s piety is upheld even in light of the Bible’s presentation of him as a penitent sinner. In the Midrash Shmuel David is accused of causing Uriah’s death (the blood of Uriah is mentioned in the exposition of David’s request in Psalm 51:14 to be forgiven for bloodshed). Bathsheba is not mentioned; that is, the sin for which he repents is not considered primarily sexual.35 It should be noted throughout the talmudic discussion and the commentaries on it that none of them blame Bathsheba for seducing David. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that they would do so; there are plenty of other passages in midrashic works that speak of women as figures of danger and temptation, and Bathsheba could easily have been cast as an Eve-like character.36 That she in most cases was not is perhaps due to the respect allotted to her son Solomon, but it is also an indication that for Jewish authors this text was not really about David as a sexual sinner. His sexual activity is more or less taken for granted; it is the murder of Uriah for which he is blamed. While the Jewish sources for the most part preserve the idea of Bathsheba’s modesty, or do not address it, one undated fragment found in the Cairo Genizah document trove, giving a general critique of women for tempting men, blames Bathsheba specifically.

34

35 36

BT, Sanhedrin 107a. For detailed analysis of rabbinic rhetorics of adultery see Satlow 1995, 119-183, but these discussions do not refer specifically to David. The original version of this paper was written before I heard the lecture of Meira Polliack, “A Question of Character: Biblical Bathsheba as a Case Study of Cross-Cultural Exegesis and Typology”, at the conference on Warrior, Poet, Prophet, and King: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, held at the University of Warsaw in October 2016, which addresses the question of why Bathsheba is not blamed when typically a woman in this situation would be. Midrash Shmuel, Lifsh*tz (ed.) 2009, 30, 97. On the dating of this text, see Stemberger/ Strack 1996, 357/358; Lifsh*tz (ed.) 2009, 13/14 and following. See Baskin 2002, 29-40.

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The text is a midrash on Proverbs, but not the same as the standard Midrash on Proverbs known from other manuscripts.37 It was only the Talmudic rabbis and their halakhist successors interpreted the David and Bathsheba story so as to remove guilt from the couple. The Zohar – the main medieval kabbalistic text or body of texts, written or compiled in 13th-century Spain – takes as its key text on the subject the state‐ ment in Sanhedrin 107a which holds that David and Bathsheba were desig‐ nated for each other from the six days of creation. The problem was not that he took her as his wife, but that he took her in an untimely manner, before she was ripe. God has a conversation with the angel Dumah, who wishes to claim David for having “ruined the covenant by lewdness”. God, however, replies that not only did Uriah divorce his wife before going into battle, and not only did the biblical dates indicate that David waited the requisite three months and more, the three months were not actually relevant in this case, because the purpose of the three-month rule was to prevent a pregnant woman from remarrying, and “it is revealed before Me that Uriah never approached her”. Bathsheba was a virgin before her marriage to David.38 The reason she had been given as a wife to Uriah first was the reason the Holy Land was given to Canaan before the Children of Israel; the right time had not yet come, and David had married the daughter of Saul.39 Nevertheless, the Zohar cannot entirely excuse David from sin, for the Bible talks about him repenting. In what, then, was the sin, if not in taking another’s wife? The Zohar gives several different answers. One is that David, who says in the Psalms “against You alone have I sinned”, did not actually sin against Uriah, either by taking Bathsheba or by putting him to death. Bathsheba was no longer Uriah’s wife, and Uriah was disobedient, not in refusing to go in to Bathsheba to whom he was no longer married, but in referring to Yoav as his master rather than David, a rebellious act. If David had killed Uriah on the spot it would have been fine. However, he sent Uriah back to the battlefront to be killed “by the sword of the Ammonites”. This was the sin against God: the Ammonites’ swords had images of their serpent god on them, and to have them kill Uriah empowered the serpent, thus consti‐ 37

38

39

Cambridge University Library, Taylor-Schechter Collection C1.63, described and tran‐ scribed in the Friedberg Genizah Project, URL: http://fgp.genizah.org [Accessed: 15/03/2017]. Previously published by Ginsberg 1928, 163-168. The verso contains addi‐ tional midrash corresponding to the edited Midrash Mishle, which is dated to between the late 8th and late 10th centuries: Visotzky 1990; 1992. The Zohar, Matt (trans.) 2003, 1:8b, vol. 1, 55/56. Abrams 2013 argues that the Zohar cannot be regarded as a book before the earliest manuscripts that make it one, and (332/333) that Matt’s translation of the Zohar is actually a translation of a version that never existed. For current purposes, it is sufficient to know that these ideas were present within the Zoharic corpus and I have not investigated the textual history. See The Zohar, Matt (trans.) 2003, 1:73b, vol. 1, 436; see also 3:78a, vol. 7, 537.

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tuting a sin against God rather than against any human.40 The other answer is that David sinned against the sefira Malkhut. Kabbalistic theory established ten sefirot or emanations of God. Malkhut, or Kingdom, was feminine and closely related to the Shekhinah, the feminine aspect of God; the Zohar repeatedly connects Bathsheba to the Shekhinah, based on her name, derived from Bat sheva, ‘Daughter of seven’, the holy number. Therefore David was punished, not by the death of his son, which in the Bible is the limit of his punishment for this transgression, but by losing his kingdom to Absalom.41 Another Kabbalistic text, however, takes a different approach, although it does not excuse David from sin entirely. Joseph Gikatilla (1248-1325) was a major Kabbalistic author, although the work in question, The Secret of the Marriage of David and Bathsheba is one of his minor ones. It appears to be a responsum to a question about Sanhedrin 107a and David’s and Bathsheba’s predestination for each other. Gikatilla posits a doctrine of original androgyny, although not explicitly along Platonic lines. When God creates a man, he creates a woman at the same time; they are destined to be married, and they are parts of the same soul; they represent the earthly form of the union of the sefirot Yesod (foundation) and Malkhut (kingdom). If a man behaves perfectly, he finds the woman destined for him and their coupling is entirely good, helping bring about the heavenly union. If sin intervenes, however, the woman marries another man; when that marriage does not work out, as evidenced by its childlessness, it may end and she may remarry her destined partner. King David was not worthy of marrying Bathsheba at first, because of his yetzer kashe (hard inclination). Like Adam, whose original sin lay in eating the fruit before it was ripe, David sinned in taking Bathsheba before the proper time, and it is this that he was punished for by the death of his son.42 The Shmuel-bukh, from the late 15th century, demonstrates how the midrashic ideas about David and Bathsheba moved into the wider Askenazic culture – and how, at least in this case, the Kabbalistic ideas did not. Here, David asks God to test him, but much more directly and pridefully than in the Talmud and the midrash that draws on it: “I know that Abraham does not measure up to me”.43 He shuts himself up in his room, and with nothing to do but look out the window, he shoots at a bird (really the Devil) that blocks his view. He goes to look for the bird and sees Bathsheba, who in this telling is not protected by any sort of screen; thus she is not accorded quite the same degree of modesty. When David has her brought to him, she says explicitly 40 41 42 43

Ibid., 2:107a, vol. 5, 121-123. Ibid., 3:24a, vol. 7, 152. Gikatila 2003. An English translation may be found in Mopsik 2005. See also Oberhänsli-Widmer 2007. St 1230, Falk 1961, f. 70r, cf. Frakes 2014, 106.

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what the talmudic sages suggest: Uriah has given her a get so that she will not have to marry his brother if he dies in battle. There is no question of it being conditional. The bath she has been taking is also discussed more explicitly: it is a ritual bath, and David understands this as preparing her for sex. He asks her for whom she was preparing herself; she says it was in case Uriah should suddenly arrive. He then tells her that since she accepted the get, he has taken her as his wife from the moment she entered the room. There is no financial exchange and no request for consent. It is implied, although not explicitly stated, that they have sex. God then re-enters the story and asks David whether he has passed the test, and David claims that he sinned [gebrochen] because God had predicted that he would and he did not want to prove God wrong. The story is talmudic, whether the author took it directly from the Talmud or from midrash which repeated it, but the character of David is much more brash here. The recall of Uriah passes much the same here, with the added detail that Uriah had earned death by disobeying David and not going to his wife. David marries Bathsheba after her week of mourning: he sends her the message “you shall give your body to the king”.44 This text poses more explicitly than the biblical text the question of when the two are actually to be considered married, since in the biblical story they are not necessarily understood to have been married when they first have sex, but in the Shmuel-bukh they are, and it is not clear why another wedding is necessary. The author comments at this point: “King David had committed so many sins that God wanted to avenge them on him”.45 Nathan’s speech castigating David for having killed Uriah and taken his wife is rendered fairly closely to the original, but in both cases the major sin is not the illicit sex act but the killing; to the extent the adultery is a transgression it is because David has taken something belonging to another man, not because it is an expression of lust or yetzer ha-ra. The key point to be taken away from the episode is the adoption by the vernacular epic of the aggadic details from the Talmud. They need not have come from the Talmud directly; the story appears verbatim in the 13th century midrash collection Yalqut Shim’oni, a widely circulated midrashic collection likely originally from Frankfurt, and was no doubt circulating in other forms, written and oral.46 Clearly by the 15th century stories were being prepared by the learned (the author, Moshe Esrim ve-Arba, implies education by his name, which refers to the twenty-four books of the Bible) for the general public, following the Babylonian rabbis in presenting David’s sins as being in fulfil‐ 44 45 46

St 1272, Falk 1961, f. 72v, cf. Frakes 2014, 110. St 1273, Falk 1961, f. 72v, cf. Frakes 2014, 110. Cf. Hyman (ed.) 1999, 2:322-327, including material from both Sanhedrin 107a and Shabbat 56a. See Hyman 1965, 64/65.

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ment of God’s command, and explaining away the penance of a great hero in this manner. David is not shown as a man of lust; no motive is given for his intercourse with Bathsheba, although her beauty is mentioned. She was not forbidden to him, as it is explicitly stated that she had a get (whereas even the Talmud only mentions this as a custom, not a definite fact in relation to her). Uriah deserved to die. The sexual appetite of a hero king is simply assumed, and any love relationship is irrelevant. This text does not depict David as a rapist, but nor does it show Bathsheba’s consent. It is simply irrelevant; taking women is what kings do. David’s sexual appetite was no more than required for him to sire the great son who would succeed him, and he was doing no more than fulfilling God’s plan.

4. Conclusion Medieval Judaism for the most part was committed to David as an ideal king. A king’s sexual behaviour was not necessarily to be emulated by all men. But David’s piety certainly could be. In some rabbinic conceptions and particu‐ larly in those medieval texts that built on them, David was obedient to God in his relationship with Bathsheba. Where he transgressed, it was in conformity with God’s wishes, in order to set an example of repentance; but even his transgressions, both the adultery with Bathsheba and the killing of Uriah, were minimized. Bathsheba was unmarried and therefore available to David (indeed, in the late Shmuel-bukh already married to him when they have sex), and Uriah deserved death. Some medieval Christian interpretations were also exculpatory of David, choosing to read his sins metaphorically and presenting his union with Bathsheba as a prefiguration of the union of Christ and the Church. However, in line with Christian ideas about the religious submission demanded even from powerful men such as kings, a more literal line of interpretation also became important, in which David’s penance was exemplary for all Christians. The central importance of the Psalms in medieval Christianity promoted this line of thought. By the end of the Middle Ages, however, Christian interpreta‐ tions of the story, while still holding David up as a masculine model of penance (along with Mary Magdalen as the primary female penitent), were taking the active sexual desire of a king for granted and blaming Bathsheba for seduction and sin. The idea of an unbounded male sexual desire that was a part of elite masculinities, although it had to be controlled for religious reasons, was never far from the surface.

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Bibliography Abrams, Daniel (2013): Kabbalistic Manuscripts and Textual Theory. Method‐ ologies of Textual Scholarship and Editorial Practice in the Study of Jewish Mysticism. 2nd edition. Los Angeles, CA: Cherub Press. Ambrose (1897): Apologia Davidi Altera (Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasti‐ corum Latinorum 32). Vienna: Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften. Assis, Yom Tov (1981): The ‘Ordinance of Rabbenu Gershom’ and Polyga‐ mous Marriages in Spain [Hebrew]. In: Zion 46, 251-277. Baskin, Judith R. (2002): Midrashic Women. Formations of the Feminine in Rabbinic Literature. Hanover: Brandeis University Press. Boyarin, Daniel (1993): Carnal Israel. Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press. Brown, Peter (1988): The Body and Society. Men, Women, and Sexual Renun‐ ciation in Early Christianity. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Colish, Marcia (1992): Psalterium Scholasticorum. Peter Lombard and the Emergence of Scholastic Psalms Commentary. In: Speculum 67, 531-548. Costley, Claire L. (2004): David, Bathsheba, and the Penitential Psalms. In: Renaissance Quarterly 57, 1235-1277. De Lubac, Henri (2000): Medieval Exegesis. The Four Senses of Scripture. Translated by Edward M. Macierowski. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, 64-67 (orig. 1959-1964). De Montaiglon, Anatole (ed.) (1854): Le Livre du Chevalier de la Tour Landry. Paris: Jannet. Diamond, James (2007): King David of the Sages: Rabbinic Rehabilitation or Ironic Parody? In: Prooftexts 27, 373-416. Epstein, Isidore (1925): The “Responsa” of Rabbi Solomon ben Adreth of Barcelona as a Source of the History of Spain. London: Kegan Paul. Falk, Felix (ed.) (1961): Das Schemuelbuch des Mosche Esrim Wearba: Ein biblisches Epos aus dem 15. Jahrhundert. Vol. 1 Einleitung und Faksimile der Editio Princeps, Augsburg 1544. Assen: Van Gorcum. Frakes, Jerold C. (2014): Early Yiddish Epic. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univer‐ sity Press. Friedman, Mordechai A. (1986): Jewish Polygyny in the Middle Ages. New Documents from the Cairo Geniza [Hebrew]. Jerusalem: The Bialik Insti‐ tute. Gikatila, Joseph (2003): David et Bethsabée: Le secret du marriage. Edited and translated (into French) by Charles Mopsik. Paris: Editions de l’Eclat.

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Ginsberg, Louis (1928): Ginzei Schechter 1. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary. Goitein, Shelomo D. (1978): A Mediterranean Society. The Jewish Communi‐ ties of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza. Volume III. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Gross-Diaz, Theresa (2012): The Latin Psalter. In: Marsden, Richard / Matter, E. Ann (eds): The New Cambridge History of the Bible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 427-445. Grossman, Avraham (1988): The Historical Background to the Ordinances on Family Affairs Attributed to Rabbenu Gershom Me’or ha-Golah (‘The Light of the Exile’). In: Rapoport-Albert, Ada / Zipperstein, Steven J. (eds): Jewish History. Essays in Honor of Chimen Abramsky. London: Peter Halban, 3-23. Harper, Kyle (2013): From Shame to Sin. The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Huttar, Charles A. (1980): Frail Grass and Firm Tree. David as a Model of Repentance in the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. In: Frontain, Raymond-Jean / Wojcik, Jan (eds): The David Myth in Western Literature. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 38-54. Hyman, Dov (1965): Meqorot Yalqut Shim’oni. Jerusalem: Mossad haRav Kook. Hyman, Dov (ed.) (1999): Yalqut Shim’oni. Jerusalem: Mossad haRav Kook. Kalmin, Richard (1996): Portrayals of Kings in Rabbinic Literature of Late Antiquity. In: Jewish Studies Quarterly 3, 320-341. Kalmin, Richard (1999): The Sage in Jewish Society of Late Antiquity. London: Routledge. Karras, Ruth M. (1990): Holy Harlots. Prostitute Saints in Medieval Legend. In: Journal of the History of Sexuality 1, 3-32. Kren, Thomas (2005): Looking at Louis XII’s Bathsheba. In: Id. / Evans, Mark L. (eds): A Masterpiece Reconstructed: The Hours of Louis XII. Los Angeles, CA, London. Getty Publications, British Library, 43-61. Kuczynski, Michael P. (1999): The Psalms and Social Action in Late Medieval England. In: Van Deusen, Nancy (ed.): The Place of the Psalms in the Intellectual Culture of the Middle Ages. Binghamton: SUNY Press, 191-214. Lifsh*tz, Berachyahu (ed.) (2009): Midrash Shmuel. Jerusalem: Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.

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Melammed, Renee L. (2012): The Jewish Woman in Medieval Iberia. In: Ray, Jonathan (ed.): The Jew in Medieval Iberia. Boston, MA: Academic Studies Press, 253-281. Mopsik, Charles (2005): Sex of the Soul: The Vicissitudes of Sexual Difference in Kabbalah. Edited by Daniel Abrams. Translated by Esther Singer. Los Angeles: Cherub Press. Morard, Martin (ed.) (2016): Glossa Ordinaria to 2 Kings 11 (2 Sam 11). Glossae Scripturae Sacrae electronicae (Gloss-e). Paris: IRHT-CNRS. URL: http://gloss-e.irht.cnrs.fr/php/editions_chapitre.php?livre=../sources/e ditions/GLOSS-liber13.xml&chapitre=13_11 [Accessed: 31/12/2017]. Oberhänsli-Widmer, Gabrielle (2007): Joseph Gikatilla: Das Mysterium, dass Bathscheva David seit den sechs Tagen der Schöpfung vorbestimmt war (Ende 13./Anfang 14. Jahrhundert). In: Kirche und Israel 22, 73-82. Satlow, Michael L. (1995): Tasting the Dish: Rabbinic Rhetorics of Sexuality. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press. Shimoff, Sandra R. (1993): David and Bathsheba: The Political Function of Rabbinic Aggada. In: Journal for the Study of Judaism 14, 246-256. Stahl, Harvey (2004): Bathsheba and the Kings: The Beatus Initial in the Psalter of Saint Louis (Paris, BNF, ms lat. 10525). In: Büttner, Frank O. (ed.): The Illuminated Psalter. Studies in the Content, Purpose, and Place‐ ment of its Images. Turnhout: Brepols, 427-434. Stemberger, Günter / Strack, Hermann L. (1996): Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash. Translated by Markus Bockmuehl. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. The Zohar (2003). Translated by Daniel C. Matt. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Van Liere, Frans (2011): Biblical Exegesis Through the Twelfth Century. In: Boynton, Susan / Reilly, Diane J. (eds): The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Chris‐ tianity. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 157-178. Visotzky, Burton L. (ed.) (1990): Midrash Mishle. New York, NY: The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Visotzky, Burton L. (ed.) (1992): The Midrash on Proverbs. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Walker Vadillo, Monica A. (2007): Emotional Responses to David Watching Bathsheba Bathing in Late Medieval French Manuscript Illumination. In: Annual of Medieval Studies at the Central European University 13, 97-109.

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Wenzel, Edith (2001): Die schuldlose Schöne und die schöne Schuldige. Batseba in mittelalterlicher Kunst und Literatur. In: Gaebel, Ulrike / Kartsco*ke, Erika (eds): Böse Frauen – Gute Frauen: Darstellungskonven‐ tionen in Texten und Bildern des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 89-107.

4. Masculinities in South Asian Buddhism and Hinduism

South Asian Masculinities: Hegemonic and Fluid Serinity Young Warfare has been a fact of life from prehistoric times to the present, whether a simple raid on another village or mighty armies clashing for years on end. An ideological construct is necessary to supply the means necessary to persuade individuals to join in combat, risking their lives, and religion is among the most powerful of these constructs.1 Divinizing the warrior as the religious ideal, especially as it models the gods’ own battles with demons, and promising a place in heaven complete with the services of divine women, be they apsarās,2 hourīs or valkyries has its attractions. War was understood to be necessary for protection or for gaining wealth, women, cattle and pres‐ tige at the expense of one’s neighbours. In the essays that follow, Renate Syed will show this idealization of the warrior to have been a defining feature of masculinity from Vedic times to the present and John Powers will bring out the historical Buddha’s continuation and variation on this trope. Some of the best examples of the Hindu valorization of the warrior are avatars of Viṣṇu, the divine preserver or protector of the world against evil forces. One such avatar is Rāma, the beloved hero of the Rāmāyaṇa, which exists in various well known regional versions in many South and Southeast Asian languages, disseminated through its performances and in comic books, television shows and other modern media.3 Rāma goes to war to recover his wife, Sītā, who had been kidnapped by Rāvaṇa, the demon ruler of what is now known as Sri Lanka. This causes Rāma to travel across India, slaying demons as he goes and protecting brahmans and their rituals. Rāma is the ideal man, handsome, powerfully built and a protector, while Sītā is the ideal women, beautiful, modest and obedient to her husband. Another of Viṣṇu’s avatars is Kṛṣṇa in his role of the warrior in the Bhagavad Gītā section of the

1 2

3

See Lincoln 1991, 140. In Hinduism, hero or memorial stones (vīragal) usually display three images: apsarās first hovering over battlegrounds, then flying to heaven with the fallen hero, and lastly the hero seated on a throne in heaven. See examples and discussions in Settar/ Sontheimer (eds) 1982. The female equivalent of this are the sati stones that memori‐ alize women who have killed themselves by joining their dead husband on his funeral pyre, see Hawley (ed.) 1994. See Richman (ed.) 1991. The Sanskrit version attributed to Vālmīki is Gombrich (ed.) 2005.

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great Indian epic, the Mahābhārata (composed in the early centuries of the Common Era), where he justifies being a warrior to Arjuna.4

1. Sexual Fluidity The masterful epic warrior Arjuna leads us to understandings of sexual fluidity, an important aspect of South Asian masculinity. In the Mahābhārata, Arjuna, along with his brothers and their shared wife Draupadī, must choose disguises while they are in exile. J.A.B. van Buitenen translates his choice to be a transvestite and later an eunuch,5 but with the odd feminine name of Bṛhannanḍā, meaning ‘having a large reed’: an assertion of his masculine power even while in a non-masculine disguise.6 In the epic when Arjuna offers his services as a dance master to women, he refers to himself as a transvestite and says “I’ll be a woman”.7 King Virāṭa has him physically examined to make sure he is not a man, an examination that Arjuna passes.8 Here we have a definitive warrior, the archetype of Hindu masculinity, slip‐ ping into an ambiguous gender (transvestism)9 and then into womanhood. The sexual ambivalence of the god Śiva, who is both the great celibate ascetic and the virile husband, particularly in his ardhanārīśvara form of ‘the Lord who is half-man/half-woman’ and in the legend of his self-castration10 unites in his person the conflict between spiritual power and sexuality; he gains great power by his austerities, but at other times he is sexually active. He alone of the gods is often represented iconographically as a lingam, a penis, which has a broader meaning as a ‘characteristic’, in this case the ‘mark’ of masculinity and of generative power. Such specific valorization of the penis as the badge of masculinity points to a lingering anxiety about the stability of masculinity in South Asia, further discussed below. Buddhists continued the conflict between spiritual power and sexuality. Nonetheless, as Powers points out, this required proving the Buddha’s 4

5 6 7 8 9

10

Alternatively, Kṛṣṇa is depicted as a rather feminine looking youth in the bhakti tradi‐ tions of Hinduism, see, e.g.,Schweig 2007, 441-475. The many aspects of Krishna are discussed in other essays in this collection. See Hiltebeitel 1980, 147-174. See Van Buitenen (ed.) 1978, 6-9. Ibid., 29. See ibid., 41. Discussion of this episode as well as Śīva’s dual nature, see Custodi 2007, 211-216. Transvestism and sexual ambiguity are an ancient part of South Asian sexual defini‐ tion, see, e.g., the ancient medical texts discussed in Young 2004, 57-65, and male prostitution, ibid., 111-113. See also Nanda 1990; Zwilling/Sweet 1996, 359-384; Herdt (ed.) 1994. A Buddhist example of transvestism during the initiation ceremony for monks is discussed by Keyes 1986, 66-96. See O’Flaherty Doniger 1975; Hiltebeitel 1980, 147-174.

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masculinity while he was still a layman. Overall, Buddhists did not reject the masculine ideal of the warrior, rather they redefined it. The earliest biogra‐ phies of the Buddha have sages predict that the Buddha will become a cakravartin, either a world conqueror through war or through spiritual accom‐ plishments. He is also said to have been a prince trained in the manly arts of war. A frequent epithet for the Buddha is vīra, a hero, a term also used for the Hindu gods Indra and Śiva, as well as for great warriors or ascetics.11 All accomplished Buddhist ascetics are vīras, but they go beyond the accomplish‐ ments of worldly warriors as shown in the Saundarānanda, Aśvaghosa’s 1st century epic about the Buddha’s half-brother, Nanda, who is besotted with his beautiful wife, Sundarī.12 The Buddha manages to make Nanda a monk, but a very reluctant one as he continually longs for his wife. As a cure, the Buddha takes him to Indra’s heaven, the reward of brave warriors, where he sees the apsarās who far surpass Sundarī in beauty. Nanda then develops an even stronger desire for these divine women and spends years in ascetic practices to attain entry to Indra’s heaven and have access to these women only to realize, as his awareness grew, the futility of desire and he chose enlighten‐ ment instead.

2. Karma Buddhist texts are quite articulate when they state that to be born male is a result of good karma earned in past lives in contrast to the evil karma that leads to rebirth as a woman, and there is an ongoing discourse extending back to the earliest Buddhist texts as to whether women can achieve enlightenment or must reincarnate as men in their next life.13 This view of sexual characteris‐ tics as the inevitable outcome of karmic retribution or reward highlights addi‐ tional dimensions of Buddhist gender ideology, especially when compared to Hindu stories of rebirth in which a change of sex is quite rare.14 Rebirth as a man is presented as something women should aspire to,15 while the loss of masculinity is presented as a potential karmic punishment for men. 11

12 13 14 15

The use of vīra for both ascetics and warriors is brought together in the Rajput and Kashmiri warrior communities, where if they knew they would lose a battle, all the men would go forth dressed as ascetics wearing saffron-coloured clothing – they knew they were going to die so they dressed for the fourth stage of life as ascetics. In order to avoid capture, the women (with their children) committed a pre-emptive form of satī known as jauhar by jumping into a pit of fire. See Storm 2013, 141/142 and Olden‐ burg 1994, 163-166. See Jamspal (trans.) 1999. An English translation is by Johnston 1932. See Schlingloff 1987 for textual and iconographic versions of this story, 50, and Grey 1994, 265/266. See Young 2004, 58-62, 203-207 and passim. See Doniger 1999, 298. See Tsomo 1989, 122/123.

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All this contrasts with Hindu concepts of karma that, to somewhat simplify the matter, connect good deeds to rebirth as a god, bad deeds to rebirth as an animal, and mixed deeds to rebirth as a mortal.16 In terms of gender, a man’s karma is vulnerable to his wife’s – male vulnerability to women is a topic that will be pursued further below – a wife’s chastity can release her husband’s bad karma; correspondingly, an unchaste wife (or a raped wife) destroys a man, as in the following story. The god Śiva could not destroy a certain demon because of his wife’s chastity, so he asked the god Viṣṇu to take the form of her demon husband and have sex with her. When the wife realized the deception she said: “By breaking my virtue, you have killed my husband”.17 A detailed vision of the Buddhist karma of gender is contained in The Meritorious Virtue of Making Images.18 As the title suggests, merit can be acquired by making or maintaining Buddha images, and such merit can miti‐ gate karma. This text emphasizes that the actual Buddhist position toward karma is not all that rigid. One’s karma can be altered by directing the consciousness at the time of death; by good deeds, such as making donations; building and repairing stūpas and images; sponsoring the reading or printing of scripture; and religious acts such as pilgrimage.19 More specifically, in this text the reasons why a woman is reborn as a woman centre on her enjoyment of being a woman, her insincerity, lack of gratitude, weariness and contempt for her husband, and thinking of other men. A man is reborn as a woman because he disrespected Buddhist monks or slandered one, and for envying the happiness of other men.20 Obviously, enjoying womanhood dooms one to repeat it, but no such injunction is put on men and their enjoyment of masculinity. This text was probably written by monks and when it states ‘men’ it may mean monks, who are reborn as women for insulting or slandering other monks or for rejecting masculinity and acting like a woman by being deceptive or envious. Of particular interest, the text goes on to explain why men or monks are reborn as hermaphrodites – suggesting women do not receive these rebirths – and why men are born with female (read hom*osexual) desires: castrating another man; scorning and slandering a monk; and not only transgressing the precepts himself but also encouraging others to do the same. A man is reborn as a hermaphrodite for lusting after men; masturbating; and the exposure and sale of himself in the guise of a woman to other men. A man is reborn with the lusts and desires of a woman, and enjoys being treated as a woman by 16 17 18 19 20

See O’Flaherty Doniger 1980a, 21. O’Flaherty Doniger 1980a, 29. Beyer suggests this was composed in the 7th century either in China or Central Asia, though it was probably based on an earlier Indian text, see Beyer 1974, 46. See Samuel 1993, 199-222; Paul 1982, 102ff. See Beyer 1974, 53.

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other men because he despised other men, or slandered them; took pleasure in dressing as a woman; had sex with a female relative; or as a monk falsely accepted reverence while lacking the virtue worthy of it.21 In addition to its hom*ophobic orientation, these causes reveal the fragility of Buddhist masculinity. It can be weakened and lost by men who despise and slander other men, or harm masculinity more directly by castration, or undo their own masculinity by masturbation, hom*osexual desire and acts, or dressing and behaving as a woman. Even Buddha was a woman in one of his many recorded past life stories. She is called Rūpavatī, a beautiful woman who cuts off her breasts to feed a woman who is so hungry she is about to eat her own baby. She then appears among the gods who grant her wish to be transformed into a man, who they make a king.22 A possible point to this story is that even as a woman, the Buddha’s compassion shines through. Or, it may be a Buddhist model of self-sacrifice for women.

3. Sex Change Buddhist Mahāyāna literature is replete with sex change stories that occur not through rebirth but within one lifetime;23 granted, the majority of these are female to male stories, nonetheless they are more expressive of male fears about losing masculinity than of female hopes of gaining it. Sex-change stories most often reflect culturally perceived notions of prestige associated with gender.24 In stories where women change into or disguise themselves as men they become heroic, but stories about men becoming women often lead to their powerlessness and humiliation. Both these examples are brought together in the Vimalakīrti Sūtra, which was composed in Sanskrit between the 1st century BCE and 2nd century CE. It was an extremely popular text throughout the Mahāyāna world. In chapter seven a dialogue occurs between the celestial bodhisattva Mañjuśrī and the human bodhisattva Vimalakīrti about the illusory nature of all beings, human and otherwise, and the attitude a bodhisattva should take toward these illusory beings. The discussion is interrupted by an unnamed goddess who expresses her delight at their discourse by causing a rain of flowers to fall. The flowers fall off the robes of the bodhisattvas but stick to the robes of those who are still mired in illusion. 21 22

23 24

See ibid. See Cowell/Neil (eds) 1886, 470.28-472.17, 473.27/28. It was composed in NorthWestern India during the 2nd century CE. Andy Rotman has translated this story, see Rotman 2017. Mrozik 2006 discusses this story in the context of the meaning early Buddhist literature attached to various bodies, see Mrozik 2006, 15-47 and Ohnuma discusses it in terms of gender and bodily sacrifice, see Ohnuma 2000, 103-141. See Young 2004, 191-210. See Ortner/Whitehead (eds) 1981, 13-24.

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Representing the earlier doctrine of Theravāda Buddhism, the monk Śariputra, who has also been listening to the discourse, cannot get the flowers off his robe and he enters into an argument with the goddess, culminating with his challenging her to change her female form. The goddess complies with his request, but with a twist; she simultaneously changes herself into male form and changes Śariputra into female form. In one stroke, she neatly dramatizes both the chapter’s theme of the illusory nature of all beings and negates any idea that the female gender precludes spiritual achievement. After she restores their original forms, Vimalakīrti explains to the humiliated Śariputra that the goddess has attained irreversibility, in other words she will achieve buddhahood.25 The biography of Upagupta, the Buddhist monk and master of siddhis (spiritual power), who was the Buddhist Emperor Aśoka’s guru, is filled with examples of his skilful means as a teacher of Buddhism, examples that frequently involve siddhis (supernatural powers). In two of these he shapeshifts into a woman. The first time he becomes a woman to help a monk who kept thinking of his former wife while trying to meditate. Upagupta appeared before him in the form of his wife, shocking the monk into realizing his attachment to her. Upagupta then resumed his normal male form and preached to the monk to help him overcome his attachment.26 The second time was to undo a monk’s false sense of detachment, which Upagupta did by taking on the form of a drowning woman. The monk grabbed hold and pulled her/him out of the river, but then he felt desire for her and took her to an isolated spot, only to discover she was Upagupta.27 These two instances of sex change are meant to demonstrate Upagupta’s advanced spiritual powers and because of their short duration in no way undercut his masculine authority. In fact, the whole purpose of these incidents is to point out how threatening women are to monks in order to help monks maintain their celibacy by maintaining their distance from women. And this is why when women change sex and become men they inevitably choose to remain male, which is presented as the normative Buddhist body.

4. Pollution From early ancient times to the present, South Asia women pose not only a sexual threat to men, but they go through periods of what is considered pollu‐ tion whereby they can pollute men who come into contact with them, rendering them impure. This occurs when they are menstruating and after 25 26 27

See Thurman (trans.) 1976, 56-63. See Strong 1992, 127. See ibid., 132.

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childbirth. Sexual contact with women has the same effect; to ritually cleanse oneself after sex with a woman allows men to claim purity for themselves.28 The very nature of this discourse endows men with purity in that it focuses on women, not men, or if men are the subject it is as victims of women’s sexu‐ ality or pollution. Asian ideas about pollution involve many features of everyday life, such as death and contact with other castes.29 Both Hinduism and Buddhism accepted the widely held belief that a menstruating woman, through the most casual physical contact, can pollute men, especially monks or high-caste males, as well as temples or other sacred places. According to the Hindu law book of Manu (composed around the begin‐ ning of the Common Era): Even if he is out of his mind (with desire) he should not have sex with a woman who is menstruating; he should not even lie down in the same bed with her. A man who has sex with a woman awash in menstrual blood loses his wisdom, brilliant energy, strength, eyesight, and long life. By shunning her when she is awash in menstrual blood, he increases his wisdom, brilliant energy, strength, eyesight, and long life.30

It was also believed that giving birth is polluting to the mother, the child, and the household in general. The consequences of contact with a woman in a state of pollution are believed to render a man incapable of communicating with the sacred and may even lead to illness.31 In her study of purity and pollution, Mary Douglas has shown that these are fundamentally conceptions of order and disorder; that which causes pollution is “matter out of place”. Thus, a menstruating woman is out of place within the sacred and contact with her can render men equally out of place.32 While unpolluted women, like men, can be polluted by contact with menstruating women, men have to go through more elaborate procedures than women to regain their pure state, because theirs is believed to inherently be a purer state than that of women. In order to recover from contact with a menstruating woman, men need to bathe while reciting mantras, put on fresh clothes, and ingest certain pure foods. Women need only change their clothes and sprinkle

28 29

30 31

32

See Anderson 1998, 2.819-821. Ortner discusses of a range of polluting factors, see Ortner 1973, 49-63. Scholarly studies of the relationship between body and morality in Hindu traditions include Alter 1992; Daniel 1984. Doniger /Smith (eds) 1991, IV 40-42. In India, these ideas go back at least to the Vedic period, see Smith 1992, 17-45 and Bennett 1983, 214-246, who provides details on menstrual taboos and ritual practices among Nepalese Hindus. See also Yalman 1963, 25-58. Mary Douglas 1966, 2-4.

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water on their heads.33 Women have less purity to recover and therefore do not need to do as much as men. In India the belief in women’s pollution goes back at least to the Vedic period (circa 1500-600 BCE) and the myth that the Hindu god Indra, in order to purify himself from the pollution of murder, transferred one-third of his pollution to women and thus caused them to menstruate. This myth of the origin of menstruation equates it with the sin of murder and defines it as polluting. Interestingly, Indra transferred the other two-thirds to the earth and trees; the earth being an important female deity and trees having a profound connection with female fecundity.34 Another Indian myth explains that women began to menstruate because of their sexual passion.35 Buddhism not only accepted the idea of female pollution, it helped promul‐ gate it. One need only recall that the Buddha’s biography strikingly proclaims the pollution of women when it explained that while in his mother’s womb he was protected from such pollution by being enclosed in a jeweled box (ratnavyūha […] paribhoga).36 And, despite the positive female connotations carried by images of Queen Māyā giving birth, some texts gloss the miracu‐ lous birth from her side as a means of avoiding contamination through the birth canal.

5. Sexual Activity The Buddhists have a negative myth about the origins of sexuality. After the earth was formed, heavenly beings whose merit had run out were reborn there and began to eat pieces of it. Due to these primal meals they developed orifices to discard their waste, and hence sexual characteristics along with desire and greed.37 This text connects sexuality with entrapment in the world and it presupposes a primordial sexless state, which actually means the absence of femaleness and the presence of maleness. Popular Indian ideas about sexuality say that women are sexually eleven times stronger than men, a belief in part connected to the notion that the loss of sem*n debilitates men because one hundred drops of blood are the equiva‐ lent of one drop of sem*n. A great deal of ink has been spilled about Indian

33 34 35 36 37

See Marglin 1985, 62. Ortner discusses other means of purification, see Ortner 1973, 57-60. See Smith 1992, 17-45. Bennett discusses a Nepalese variant of this myth, see Bennett 1983, 215-218. See O’Flaherty Doniger 1976, 27. See Vaidya (ed.) 1985, 74.15; Bays (trans.) 1992, 103ff. From chapter thirteen of the 5th century CE Visuddhimagga, see Warren 1974, 324-327.

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men’s sexual anxieties and actual impotence, particularly in relation to their wives, who are described as sexually voracious.38 Other stories that reveal deep-seated male fears about the sexual powers of women as well as male fears about losing masculinity are the many Hindu folk tales about vagin* dentatas in which women seduce men in order to cut off their penises, thereby rendering men into women.39 These stories describe men who fear their own sexual desires, and who demonize its object, women. At the same time, the women in these stories are inevitably tamed by the loss of their vagin*l teeth. In other words, they become sexually powerless and are thus deemed safe for heterosexual intercourse. Some of the clearest articulations of Buddhist gender ideologies occur in discussions about the advantages of being born male rather than female, advantages that are described in terms of worldly and spiritual benefits. In large part, the Buddhist discourse on gender, whether from the elite perspec‐ tive of the biographies or the blunter ideas expressed in folk beliefs, was fundamentally flawed because it did not distinguish between sexual character‐ istics (biology) and gender (social roles), but rather conflated them. In the same way that biological sexual characteristics identified the male or female gender, it identified female and male social roles; biology was destiny, and as we have seen, a product of one’s karma. At root, the Buddhist discourse on gender was based on observations of prevailing gender inequality.

6. Fathers Unlike Hinduism, which defines masculine roles through the four stages of life that included being a husband and a father and only pursuing celibacy at the end of a socially engaged life, Buddhism abandoned this model, leaving us to forage through the early texts to extract the roles of fathers40 and husbands,41 especially given the foregoing negation of womanhood. The earliest biographies of the Buddha describe his relationships with his father and with his son. To begin with, in contrast to the many iconographic images of Queen Māyā spread across the Buddhist landscape, those of the Buddha’s father, King Śuddhodana, are far and few between. When he does appear, it is usually with Queen Māyā, seated on a throne, listening to her dream of conception dream being interpreted.42 Further, Queen Māyā’s 38 39 40 41 42

See Kakar 1989, especially 43-63. See also O’Flaherty Doniger 1980b, 50/51, 109-112. See, for example, Ellwin 1991 (orig. 1949), 373-387; O’Flaherty Doniger 1980b, 93, 267. See Cabezón 1992, 181-199. See Wilson 1994, 7-28. Such images appear in Gandhara, Amaravatı and at Ajanta, among other sites.

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iconography is associated with two major events in the Buddha’s life that are commemorated at two of his eight pilgrimage sites, his birth at Lumbini and his descent at Sāṃkāśya after having preached to her in Trāyastriṃśa heaven. Throughout South Asia these eight sites were frequently grouped together in single carvings, large and small, with Māyā grasping a tree to illustrate the birth, and three ladders representing the Buddha’s descent from Trāyastriṃśa heaven. Śuddhodana receives no such iconographic attention nor is he featured at any of the Buddha’s pilgrimage sites, yet he is a larger presence in the texts than the Buddha’s mother. This is not simply a matter of his having lived longer than Queen Māyā. Even though South Asian beliefs about conception emphasize the dominant influence of the father in male children and attribute to men a greater overall influence on all their descendants,43 several biographies of the Buddha deny that Śuddhodana was his physical father, though he clearly remained the Buddha’s social or adoptive father. Queen Māyā’s dream of conception dream was and remains a popular motif in both texts and iconography, and a close reading of this dream in the earliest biographies of the Buddha, the Nidānakathā,44 Lalitavistara,45 Buddhacarita46 and Mahāvastu47 (hereinafter, respectively, the NK, LV, BC and MV), suggests that the elephant in her dream is the progenitor of the Buddha, not King Śuddhodana.48 Miraculous conceptions are a common motif in world religions, and many ancient people believed that women could conceive through dreams, as is evidenced by women who slept in temples in order to have dreams cure their infertility.49 Stories and images of the Buddha’s miraculous conception serve to distance King Śuddhodana from his son. Though the texts accord him all the respect due South Asian fathers, at the same time they emphasize his opposition to the Buddha’s choice of a spiritual life from the moment of his conception through his adulthood. The LV, however, goes further than other 43

44

45

46 47 48 49

See Young 2004, 59, 167. The idea of a battle between female and male elements for the sex of the embryo is contained in several medical traditions, for instance, the Indian Bundahishn, see Lincoln 1991, 219; medieval Europe, see Cadden 1993, 132; while Chinese medical texts say that the sex of the embryo is determined at conception through the predominance of yin or yang energies, see Furth 1999, 54, but see also 206-216. Senart (ed.) 1890, II.12. English translation, Jones (trans.) 1952, II.11. Jones argued that its long compilation period began in the 2nd century BCE and continued into the 3rd or 4th century CE, I.xi-xii. Vaidya (ed.) 1985, VI.6-11. An English edition is available through Bays’ translation of Edouard Foucaux’s French translation from the Sanskrit, see Bays (trans.) 1983, 95-99. It was composed anonymously around the beginning of the Common Era, although it contains much earlier material from the oral tradition. Aśvaghoṣa (Johnston ed.) 1984 (orig. 1936). Senart (ed.) 1890, II.12. This dream, its interpretation and its iconography are discussed in Young 1999, 21-24. See Jones 1951, 82/83, 92ff; Lorenzen 1991, 16/17; Faure 1998, 182.

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biographies in not only negating Śuddhodana as a father, but also negating the Buddha as a father, in that Rāhula, the Buddha’s son, generally said to have been born on the night he left home,50 is completely absent from the text, except for a remark that all the bodhisattvas of the past married and had a son.51 Rāhula is well-known in the Buddhist tradition through other canonical sources, and from tender depictions of the Buddha bidding farewell to his sleeping wife with Rāhula in her arms, so his absence from this text is remarkable. The absence of Rāhula’s birth parallels Śuddhodana’s absence in the Buddha’s conception. In the LV the Buddha is neither fathered nor does any fathering. This is the text that most clearly introduces the Buddhist problem with male reproductive power, a problem that weaves in and out of other early biographies, and one that continues in later Buddhist biographies. The Buddhacarita (hereinafter the BC)52 consistently privileges men over women, and thus its portrayal of Śuddhodana is more extensive than in other biographies. Furthermore, it limits the Buddha’s preaching to his mother in Trāyastriṃśa heaven to two stanzas,53 yet extends almost an entire chapter (XIX) to the Buddha teaching his father. Nor does this text deny his siring the Buddha. It says Queen Māyā dreamed of the elephant before she conceived, and that she conceived “without defilement” (I.3). Unlike the Buddha, who is described as “a captive to the women” of the harem (II.32), the BC tells us that King Śuddhodana practiced self-restraint and behaved as an ideal South Asian king (III.33-56), hoping that when the Buddha saw his own son he would stay in the world. The text forewarns that this will not happen and justifies the Buddha’s desertion of his child by claiming a tradition in which all previous bodhisattvas left home when their sons were born (II.56). So, the BC asserts Śuddhodana’s paternity at the same time it justifies the Buddha’s rejection of his paternity of Rāhula. The Buddha rejects traditional relationships with his father and his son because he can grant enlightenment, which is the best care anyone can receive, and eventually he converts his father and his son. Interestingly, any lack of filial piety on the part of the Buddha was modified in Chinese Buddhism, which elaborated on his relationship with his father. For instance, they said that the Buddha, his half-brother Nanda, and his son Rāhula were at King Śuddhodana’s bedside when he died and that the Buddha helped carry his coffin.54 According to the Mūlasarvāstivāda, after the Buddha achieved enlighten‐ ment, he returned home, converted his father and other family members, and 50 51 52 53 54

See e.g. Fausboll (ed.) 1877, 169. See Bays (trans.) 1983, 213. See Aśvaghoṣa (Johnston ed.) 1984 (orig. 1936). See Aśvaghoṣa (Johnston ed.) 1984 (orig. 1936), XX.56/57. See Faure 1998, 24.

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took Rāhula into the order of Buddhist monks.55 In this, he further thwarted his father: after having removed himself from the patrilineal succession he caused his son to do the same. As stated above, he went even further when he converted and ordained his half-brother Nanda, presumably Śuddhodana’s only other son. Now there would be no male descendants to maintain the offerings to the ancestors. Yet, after having inducted Nanda into the order of monks, he respected his father’s request that from then on monks would require the permission of their parents before joining the order. Early Buddhism subverted biological fatherhood in this and other ways, such as co-opting fatherhood into a mentoring system between younger and older monks referred to as the father/son connection.56 This idea goes back to the early days of Buddhism, in fact to the first rule attributed to the Buddha when he had individual senior monks undertake teaching novices. The rule, in part, states: the preceptor, monks, should arouse in the one who shares his cell the attitude of a son; the one who shares his cell should arouse in the preceptor the attitude of a father. Thus these, living with reverence, with deference, with courtesy towards one another, will come to growth, to increase, to maturity in this dhamma and disci‐ pline.57

There is a deep ambivalence in early Buddhism toward biological fatherhood, both having a father and being a father. The Buddhist message is clear. In order to achieve enlightenment one must move beyond attachment, including attachment to family. Buddhism reconfig‐ ured fatherhood by incorporating its authority within the teachings of the Buddha and the order of monks and actually apotheosized it in the notion of the spiritual father – on earth the guru and in the heavens the celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas. Throughout this process Buddhism never ques‐ tioned the patriarchal social order – it incorporated it. But it did this at the expense of male fertility.

7. Husbands Despite the great emphasis placed on monasticism, the very first followers of the Buddha were and remained lay people. A laywoman, Sujātā, made the first food offerings to the Buddha which gave him the strength to attain enlightenment and which sustained him for seven weeks thereafter until he

55 56 57

See Cohen 2000, 4-31. See Rhys Davids (trans.) 1999 (orig. 1880), 227. Oldenberg (ed.) 1969 (orig. 1879), I.45. Translated by Horner 1982 (orig. 1951), IV.58/59. See also Cohen 2000, passim.

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received food offerings from two laymen, Tapassu and Bhallika.58 Buddhist monastics are dependent on the laity for sustenance, so South Asian ideas about the powers of the virtuous wife are maintained. As a general rule, Buddhism tended not to disturb cultural practices unless they were in direct conflict with Buddhist ethics. Many more people soon became lay followers of the Buddha, while others became nuns or monks, and rules of conduct were established for both groups. Early basic precepts for the laity required them to refrain from killing, stealing, lying, drinking liquor or misconduct in sexual activity. Commen‐ taries, which were written from the male perspective, explain that misconduct in sexual activity means a man cannot have intercourse with a forbidden woman, such as: “The wife of another, a woman under the care of a guardian, a betrothed woman, a nun, a woman under a vow of celibacy”.59 Early Buddhism defined laymen as independent agents who do not break precepts when they have sex with their wives, prostitutes or any women not defined by her relationship with another man or under a religious vow. During his life as a householder the Buddha was represented as having had sexual access to many women, which made it rather difficult for later Buddhists to uphold monogamy as it would suggest the Buddha’s behaviour had been incorrect. Additional precepts say men cannot have intercourse with their wives “by a ‘forbidden passage’ (the anus), in a unsuitable place (that is, a public place or a shrine), or at an unsuitable time (that is, when she is pregnant, is nursing, or has taken a vow of abstinence)”.60 Other sources include fellati* and cunniling*s as a forbidden passage.61 The vast majority of women are not understood to be independent agents, and their sexual partners are much more limited: all men are forbidden sexual access to unmarried women living with their natal families, and all men but her husband are forbidden sexual access to the married woman. These precepts are obviously ideals dictated by monks and do not encapsulate prac‐ tice. Most notably, neither lesbianism nor hom*osexuality are mentioned activ‐ ities railed against in the Vinaya. Nor are class and caste factored in, despite evidence that lower-caste women had more sexual license, whether by choice, necessity or compulsion by upper-caste men. Early Buddhism maintained the prevailing double-standards of Indian society for women and men, and must have assumed, rather than stated, other sexual rules, such as no sex during certain holy days or while a woman is menstruating.62

58 59 60 61 62

For example, Fausboll (ed.) 1877, 205. Robinson/Johnson 1997, 78. Ibid. See Faure 1998, 67. See Doniger/Smith (eds) 1991, III.45-47, IV.40-43 and 128.

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Along with sexual practices current at the time of the Buddha, Buddhists also followed the prevailing South Asian norm that wives and children were the property of the male head of household who could dispose of them as he chose. This norm is shown in the past life story of the Buddha as Prince Vessantara, who actually gave away his wife and children. Buddhism never defined marriage, preferring instead to accept whatever forms of marriage it met with as it spread through various Asian societies, among them monogamy, polyandry and polygamy. Nor did it ever condemn concubinage or prostitution, though it did condemn individual prostitutes, but not their clients. The Buddhist attitude toward marriage is best summed up by the fact that Buddhist monastics never officiated at marriages until fairly recently.63 But perhaps most importantly, in his own life the Buddha deserted his wife and child. Significantly, the Buddhist ordination ceremony re-enacts the Buddha’s departure from home, his abandonment of lay life. Once clear of his father’s palace, the Buddha cut off his hair, changed into the clothes of an ascetic, and took up a begging bowl. To this day, the Buddhist ordination ceremony involves shaving the candidates’ heads, dressing them in monastic robes, and giving them a begging bowl. Buddhists circumvent the denigration of marriage and the family by distinguishing two groups within the Buddhist community, monastics and lay people, and giving them separate rules of conduct, as discussed above. Ideally, monastics are celibate, but the laity is not, therefore guidelines for sexually active Buddhists had to be established. Inevitably, these rules were shaped by the customs of whatever culture Buddhists missionized. For example, multiple wives were the privilege of the wealthy, and the Buddha’s father is said to have been married both to Māyā and her sister, Mahāprajāpatī.64 The Siṅgāla Sutta is a moral guide for the laity that contains a description of five reciprocal ways a wife and a husband should minister to each other. The wife: (1) ‘should perform all her duties well; (2) be hospitable to the kin of both; (3) be faithful to her husband; (4) watch over the goods he brings; and (5) be skilful and industrious in discharging all her tasks’.65 In turn, a husband should minister to his wife in the following five ways: (1) ‘by praising her and upholding the relation‐ ship; (2) by not looking down on her; (3) by not being unfaithful; (4) by letting her be in charge of the home and family; (5) by giving her clothing and presents’.66

This ideal view of the marital relationship is presented as one of mutual dependence and responsibility and mutual sexual fidelity. The Siṅgāla Sutta is 63 64 65

66

Gombrich/Obeyesekere 1988, 249-273. See Senart (ed.) 1890; Jones (trans.) 1949-1956. I have slightly modified the translation by Rhys Davids/Rhys Davids 1921, 182. Ten Suttas from the Dīgha Nikāya 1987, III.180. Buddhaghosa called this the Vinaya of the laity. Rhys Davids (trans.) 1999 (orig. 1880), 182.

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concerned with maintaining harmonious relationships and it establishes both rights and obligations for individuals on a fairly even basis. It also describes the proper relationships between children and parents. Despite the Siṅgāla Sutta’s description of how a Buddhist should treat his wife, children and parents, in his own life the Buddha did not fulfil his obliga‐ tions to his father or to his son, or to his wife. He deserted them all as part of his rejection of worldly life in favour of the ascetic life, and most of the sixty men who joined the order of monks in the first few months of its existence also deserted wives and families.67 Of course, this breached prevailing brah‐ manical social codes in that a man was not supposed to retire into the forest until his son was grown and married with a son of his own. The biographies of the Buddha are caught between Buddhism’s attempt to reconcile itself with lay life and maintain its emphasis on celibate monasticism. Nonetheless, the Vinaya records that the Buddha was accused of destroying families and making widows.68 The Buddha’s desertion of his wife and son went completely against prevailing notions of morality, or dharma. Buddhist texts worked hard to justify this dereliction of duty, especially the BC, which contains long exchanges between the Buddha and various people on the subject of his departure from home (IX and X). In it his wife, called Yaśodharā in this text, makes an impassioned speech emphasizing that his duty, his dharma, is to stay with her or at least to take her into the forest with him as other great sages have done (VIII.60-68). Despite the conflicts between secular and monastic Buddhism, it clearly emphasizes the superiority of masculinity in its iconography, which predomi‐ nantly depicts men, male and female deities, but hardly ever depicts women.69 The spiritual world is a masculine world with a few benign and not so benign female deities. Yet, Robert L. Brown puts forth an interesting argument regarding the feminization of the Buddha image between the 2nd and 5th centuries CE saying that it represents a tendency toward androgyny (deplorable though that term may be) not in terms of the third sex, but more as a movement of spiritualizing the Buddha image.70 Later Buddhist texts continued the valorization of masculinity. To cite just one example, one of the earliest and most important Mahāyāna sūtras, the Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā (The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Verses), focuses on the heroic aspects of bodhisattva nature, deploying specif‐ ically male heroic epithets to describe bodhisattva nature, such as fearless‐

67 68 69 70

See Wilson 1994, 11. See Oldenberg (ed.) 1969 (orig. 1879), I.43. See Young 2016, passim. See Brown 2002. See also, Desai 1997, 42-65.

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ness, undaunted by dangers, and independent,71 despite a more generalized emphasis on compassion and kindness that could be identified with either sex.

8. The Instability of Masculinity Buddhist masculinity encompasses a complex space, much of which clusters around two related but contending poles. Most obviously, Buddhist masculinity is hegemonic – central Buddhist concepts privilege men with particular forms of power. This can be observed in hierarchies of religious and secular power. At this end of the pole, masculinity is stable. The other pole is less obvious, encapsulating as it does male fears that masculinity is fluid, that it can be diminished or, even worse, that a man can be transformed into a woman, as in sex change stories. Seen in this light, denying women access to sacred places and positions of spiritual power goes beyond fears of female pollution or avoiding sexually distracting and possibly voracious women. If women can weaken men’s power, spiritual or otherwise, by seducing them and/or by polluting them, then they can also weaken their masculinity, causing them to drift toward femininity.72 This view is shared in different ways by Hinduism, and as we shall see Islam, when we recall the stories about vagin* dentatas mentioned above and the many stories of apsarās (heavenly women) who act as seductresses at the behest of the gods, especially Indra, to bring about the fall of powerful sages who through their austerities, especially celibacy, build up so much supernatural power (tapas) that their power comes close to exceeding that of the gods. It was and remains a strong belief in Hinduism that men can gain spiritual power by withholding their sem*n, something apsarās excel at undoing.73 Male restrictions on women are about the fear of losing masculinity, of being infected by female‐ ness – either through female sexual aggression or pollution. As Andrea Custodi describes it: “Masculinity is charged with a symbolic investment that is qualitatively different from that of femininity, and is constructed in a way that makes it more vulnerable to challenge and subversion”.74 Particular versions of masculinity emerge in tandem with particular percep‐ tions of equality and inequality.75 Basing male power on the subjugation of women is predicated on the male belief that women have the power to under‐

71 72 73 74 75

See Levering 1992, 137-156. See Corwell/Lindisfarne 1994. See Young 2018, 121/122. Custodi 2007, 208. See Chopra et al. 2000, 1607-1609. See also Chopra et al. (eds) 2004, passim, for local‐ ized scenarios of masculinity.

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mine it, and indeed to undermine masculinity.76 This establishes a highly anxious social system that requires constant surveillance. Depictions of women as sly and underhanded only intensify the need for male vigilance and weaken confidence in their masculinity. Both Hindu and Muslim men have a powerful sense of honour which is most often located outside of themselves in the sexual purity of their female relatives, which requires men to maintain constant surveillance and/or restriction over his female relatives and to inflict instant punishment for any transgressions. The primary focus of masculinity on the sexual purity of women makes male honour public, somewhat mobile and thoroughly unpredictable. Ultimately, it can only be controlled by violence against errant women. Male honour is inevitably exaggerated when it is so overextended that it is difficult to control, and very vulnerable to attack.77 The colonizing English, knowingly or unknowingly, played into these anxi‐ eties through their perception of Muslim men as manly at the same time they feminized Hindu men,78 causing the latter to reclaim, in the face of colonial oppression, traditionally, though diverse, Hindu, though diverse, definitions of masculinity that emphasized a protective aggression, especially of women, and a male Hindu superiority over other minorities.79 The drama of masculine honour was played out most publicly and violently during the partition of India following independence in 1947 when men raped and kidnapped women of the ‘other’, branded the bodies of Hindu women with the crescent moon of Islam while Hindu men branded the bodies of captured Muslim women with the trident of Śiva.80

9. Conclusion When South Asian religions promote a virile masculinity supported by patri‐ archal values, for many it may feel more like a conflict than a privilege, since such a masculinity can assume a superiority that clashes with the varying social status of boys and men. At the same time, violent situations, especially among boys, reveal the fragile tissue of male heroism. Even in the confines of his home, a man may experience his superiority over women and children, but if he is not the senior male, he is again subordinate to another. There is a constant give and take between boys and between men of masculine power. 76 77 78 79 80

Chowdhry has a good example of this in her examination of concepts of masculinities that run counter to women’s mockery of it in their songs, see Chowdhry 2015, passim. See Hodgson 1974, 140-146, but see also Yalman 1963 for South Indian and Sri Lanka, especially 43-45. See Sinha 1997 and Nandy 1983. See Gupta 2011, 441-454. See Menon/Bhasin 1998.

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Hawley, John Stratton (ed.) (1994): Sati, the Blessing and the Curse. The Burning of Wives in India. New York: Oxford University Press. Herdt, Gilbert (ed.) (1994): Third Sex, Third Gender. Beyond Sexual Dimor‐ phism in Culture and History. New York: Zone Books. Hiltebeitel, Alf (1980): Śiva, the Goddess, and the Disguises of the Pāṇḍavas and Draupadī. In: History of Religions 20 (1/2), 147-174. Hodgson, Marshall G. S. (1974): The Venture of Islam. Conscience and History in a World Civilization. 3 volumes. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 140-146. Horner, Isaline B. (trans.) (1982): The Book of Discipline. 6 volumes. London: Pali Text Society (orig. 1951). Jamspal, Ācārya Shri L. (trans.) (1999): Saundarananda Mahākāvya of Ācārya Aśvaghoṣa with Tibetan and Hindi Translations. Sarnath: Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. Johnston, Edward H. (1932): The Saundarananda or Nanda the Fair. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jones, Ernest (1951): On the Nightmare. New York: Liveright. Jones, John James (trans.) (1949-1956): Mahāvastu. 3 volumes. London: Pali Text Society. Kakar, Sudhir (1989): Intimate Relations. Exploring Indian Sexuality. New Delhi: Penguin Books. Keyes, Charles F. (1986): Ambiguous Gender. Male Initiation in a Northern Thai Buddhist Society. In: Bynum, Caroline Walker / Richman, Paula / Harrell, Stevan (eds): Gender and Religions. On the Complexity of Symbols. Boston: Beacon Press, 66-96. Levering, Miriam (1992): Lin-chi (Rinzai) Ch’an and Gender. The Rhetoric of Equality and the Rhetoric of Heroism. In: Cabezón, José Ignacio (ed.): Buddhism, Sexuality, and Gender. Albany, NY: State University Press of New York, 137-156. Lincoln, Bruce (1991): Death, War, and Sacrifice. Studies in Ideology and Practice. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Lorenzen, David N. (1991): The Kāpālikas and Kālāmukhas. Two Lost Saivite Sects. 2nd revised edition. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Marglin, Frédérique Apffel (1985): Wives of the God-King. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Menon, Ritu / Bhasin, Kamila (1998): Borders & Boundaries. Women in India’s Partition. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

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Mrozik, Susanne (2006): Materializations of Virtue. Buddhist Discourses on Bodies. In: Armour, Ellen T. / St. Ville, Susan M. (eds): Bodily Citations. Religion and Judith Butler. New York: Columbia University Press, 15-47. Nanda, Serena (1990): Neither Man nor Woman. The Hijras of India. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Nandy, Ashis (1983): The Intimate Enemy. Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism. Delhi: Oxford University Press. O’Flaherty Doniger, Wendy (1975): Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Śiva. Delhi: Oxford University Press. O’Flaherty Doniger, Wendy (1976): The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology Evil. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. O’Flaherty Doniger, Wendy (1980a): Karma and Rebirth in the Vedas and Purāṇas. In: Id. (ed.): Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 3-37. O’Flaherty Doniger, Wendy (1980b): Women, Androgynes, and Other Myth‐ ical Beasts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ohnuma, Reiko (2000): The Story of Rūpāvatī. A Female Past Birth of the Buddha. In: Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 23 (1), 103-141. Oldenberg, Hermann (ed.). (1969): Vinaya Piṭaka. Volume 1. London: Pali Text Society (orig. 1879). Oldenburg, Veena Talwar (1994): Comment. The Continuing Invention of the Sati Tradition. In: Hawley, John Stratton (ed.): Sati, the Blessing and the Curse. The Burning of Wives in India. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 159-166. Ortner, Sherry B. (1973): Sherpa Purity. In: Journal of the American Anthro‐ pological Association 75 (1), 49-63. Ortner, Sherry B. / Whitehead, Harriet (1981): Introduction. In: Id. (eds): Sexual Meanings. The Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 13-24. Paul, Robert A. (1982): The Tibetan Symbolic World. Psychoanalytic Explo‐ rations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Rhys Davids, Thomas William (trans.) (1999): Buddhist Birth Stories. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services (orig. 1880). Rhys Davids, Thomas William / Rhys Davids, Carolin A.F. (1921): Dialogues of the Buddha. Sacred Books of the Buddhists Series. Part 3. London: Oxford University Press. Richman, Paula (ed.) (1991): Many Rāmāyaṇas. The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

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Robinson, Richard H. / Johnson, Williard L. (1997): The Buddhist Religion. A Historical Introduction. 4th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Rotman, Andy (2017): Divine Stories. Divyāvadāna. Volume 2. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. Samuel, Geoffrey (1993): Civilized Shamans. Buddhism in Tibetan Societies. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. Schlingloff, Dieter (1987): Studies in Ajanta Paintings. Identifications and Interpretations. Delhi: Ajanta Publications. Schweig, Graham M. (2007): The Divine Feminine in the Theology of Krishna. In: Bryant, Edwin F. (ed.): Krishna. A Sourcebook. New York: Oxford University Press. Senart, Émile (ed.) (1890): Le Mahāvastu. 3 volumes. Paris: À L'imprimerie Nationale. Settar, Shadakshari / Sontheimer, Günther-Dietz (eds) (1982): Memorial Stones. A Study of their Origin, Significance and Variety. Dharwad: Insti‐ tute of Indian Art History. Sinha, Mrinalini (1997): Colonial Masculinity. The ‘Manly Englishman’ and the ‘Effeminate Bengali’ in the Late Nineteenth Century. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Smith, Frederick M. (1992): Indra’s Curse, Varuṇa’s Noose, and the Suppres‐ sion of the Woman in the Vedic Śrauta Ritual. In: Leslie, Julia (ed.): Roles and Rituals for Hindu Women. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 17-45. Storm, Mary (2013): Head and Heart. Valour and Self-Sacrifice in the Art of India. London: Routledge. Strong, John (1992): The Legend and Cult of Upagupta. Delhi: Motilal Banar‐ sidass Publishers. Ten Suttas from Dīgha Nikāya (1987). Volume 3. Sarnath: Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. Thurman, Robert A. F. (trans.) (1976): The Holy Teaching of Vimalakırti. A Mahāyāna Scripture. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State Univer‐ sity Press. Tsomo, Karma Lekshe (1989): Tibetan Nuns and Nunneries. In: Willis, Janice D. (ed.): Feminine Ground. Essays on Women and Tibet. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 118-134. Vaidya, P. L. (ed.) (1985): Lalitavistara. Darbhanga: Mithila Institute. Van Buitenen, Johannes Adrianus Bernardus (ed.) (1978): The Mahābhārata. Volume 3. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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Warren, Henry Clarke (1974): Buddhism in Translation. New York: Atheneum. Willis, Janice D. (1985): Nuns and Benefactresses. The Role of Women in the Development of Buddhism. In: Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck / Findly, Ellison Banks (eds): Women, Religion and Social Change. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Wilson, Elizabeth (1994): Henpecked Husbands and Renouncers Home on the Range. Celibacy as Social Disengagement in South Asian Buddhism. In: Union Seminary Quarterly Review 48 (3/4), 7-28. Yalman, Nur (1963): On the Purity of Women in the Castes of Ceylon and Malabar. In: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 93 (1), 25-58. Young, Serinity (1999): Dreaming in the Lotus. Buddhist Dream Narrative, Imagery, and Practice. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 21-24. Young, Serinity (2004): Courtesans and Tantric Consorts. Sexualities in Buddhist Narrative, Iconography, and Ritual. New York and London: Routledge. Young, Serinity (2016): Absence and Presence. In: Bose, Melia Belli (ed.): Women, Gender and Art. London, New York: Routledge, 268-293. Young, Serinity (2018): Women Who Fly. Goddesses, Witches, Mystics, Mystics and other Airborne Females. New York: Oxford University Press. Zwilling, Leonard / Sweet, Michael J. (1996): ‘Like a City Ablaze’. The Third Sex and the Creation of Sexuality in Jain Religious Literature. In: Journal of the History of Sexuality 6 (3), 359-384.

The Gendered Buddha: Neither God Nor Man, But Supremely Manly John Powers Discussions of the Buddha’s masculinity and his perfect (male) body are a pervasive aspect of Indian Buddhist literature, from the time of the Buddha himself (c. 4th century BCE) to the demise of the tradition in the 13th century. These discourses represent him as the supreme being, and a core aspect of this is often extensive and detailed descriptions of his physique and various ways in which he epitomizes normative male qualities. These attributes are valorized alongside – and in tandem with – his meditative attainments, his wisdom, and his good qualities such as generosity, ethics and compassion. An example is a dialogue in the Numerical Discourses (Aṅguttara Nikāya) of the Pāli canon that reports a conversation between the Buddha (whose name was Siddhattha Gotama; Skt. Siddhārtha Gautama) and the brahman Doṇa. The Numerical Discourses contain dialogues attributed to the Buddha that divide various things into categories, and this one is concerned with what sort of being the Buddha is. Doṇa asks: “Are you a god (dibba; Skt. deva)?” “Are you a human (or man: manussa; Skt. manuṣya)?” The Buddha responds nega‐ tively to both options and also informs Doṇa that he cannot be assigned to other possible species, such as gandhabba or yakkha.1 Rather, he declares that he belongs to a unique class of beings: he is a buddha (awakened one). Unlike every other creature living during his time, he has completely eliminated the defilements (āsava; Skt. āśrava) that are found in the psychophysical contin‐ uums of all other beings, so thoroughly that there is no possibility that they might ever arise again in the future. The Buddha then adds a crucial explanation. He is a sentient being, and during his past lives he was born in every possible realm of existence. He has been a god, a human, an animal, a hell-being, an insect, and a hungry spirit (peta; Skt. preta). Over the course of innumerable lives, he cultivated virtue and engaged in meditative practice and thus weakened the afflictions that lead to continued existence in saṃsāra (the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth in which all beings are enmeshed). In his final birth as a buddha he has tran‐ scended the world: 1

Gandhabbas (Skt. gandharva) are celestial spirits, the musicians of the gods, who guard the sacred soma. Rebirth as a gandhabba is the result of cultivation of ethics in a past life, but they are classed as one of the lowest forms of the divine realms. Yakkhas (Skt. yakṣa) are nature spirits; in Buddhist literature, they are generally benevolent and often function as protectors of righteous people.

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Brahman, I have abandoned whatever defilements there were due to the presence of which I might have become a god. I have cut them off at the root and made them like palm stumps, eliminated them, and they are not subject to any further arising. I have abandoned whatever defilements there were due to the presence of which I might have become a gandhabba […], a yakkha […] or a human […]. Brahman, just like a blue or red or white lotus is born in water and grows in water, it then rises above the water untouched by water, so I also was born in the world and grew up in the world but have transcended the world; I now live untouched by the world. Brahman, remember me as a buddha.2

The story begins with Doṇa tracking the Buddha. Walking along a road, Doṇa sees unusual footprints on the ground: in the middle of each imprint is a thou‐ sand-spoked wheel (cakka; Skt. cakra) pattern, and Doṇa remarks to himself that this is an amazing sight: “[T]hese definitely are not the footprints of a man”. When he finds the Buddha sitting beneath a tree in meditative equipoise, the brahman is struck by the beauty of his physical form, which inspires faith and demonstrates his supreme accomplishments on the religious path. The Buddha is like “a tamed and disciplined bull elephant of controlled faculties”.3 These details are part of the image of the Buddha developed in Indic sources. He is the supreme sage, and he is also the “ultimate man” (purisot‐ tama; Skt. puruṣottama). His body is testimony to the fact that he has perfected all desirable qualities, such as wisdom and compassion, generosity, ethics, and meditative concentration. The wheel pattern on the soles of his feet (and on the palms of his hands) is one of the thirty-two “physical charac‐ teristics of a great man” (mahāpurisa-lakkhaṇa; Skt. mahāpuruṣa-lakṣaṇa), which are only found on the bodies of universal monarchs (cakkavatti; Skt. cakravartin) and buddhas. But those of universal monarchs are not as beau‐ tiful; only buddhas have perfected them, and buddhas’ physiques are the most exalted of all bodies. This is not merely ancillary to buddhahood; buddhas’ bodies and their distinctive physical characteristics are integral factors in what separates them from other beings.4 The concept of the ‘great man’ is linked with Buddhist understandings of karma and rebirth: every being’s body reflects its relative level of progress on the religious path. Those who are ugly or poor, who suffer from sickness or encounter misfortune, are reaping the results of past volitional actions. Beauty, good health, wealth, and high social status are indi‐ 2 3 4

Aṅguttara-nikāya, II.36; Morris (ed.) 1955, II.37-39. Ibid. The Discourse on the Physical Characteristics (Lakkhaṇa-sutta) of the Long Discourses (Dīgha-nikāya) explains that he perfected each of these distinctive features through engaging in “various mighty deeds, generosity, discipline, abstinence, honouring his parents, ascetics, and brahmans”, Rhys Davids/Westlin Carpenter (eds) 1966, III.144/145.

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cations that those who enjoy them engaged in virtuous behaviours in the past, but their good fortune will only continue if they pursue the same sorts of activities in their present and future lives.5 Gender is also a crucial factor: men enjoy a hegemonic status in most soci‐ eties, including that of ancient India, and so the logic of the system assumes that birth as a male must also be the result of superior karma. Humans rank above animals, hungry spirits, and hell beings in the hierarchy of birth, and men are superior to women. Brahmans, as the highest caste (varṇa), are enjoying the rewards of past cultivation of virtue, while śūdras, who perform menial tasks and whose main work is taking care of cows, are at the bottom end, but still rank above animals and other lower beings. Looked at from a sociological perspective, birth as a man or woman, or in a high or low social stratum, are adventitious, but Buddhist and brahmanical literature present the system as natural and as part of a universal order that operates independently of any single society or time.6 This chapter will explore some of the most important aspects of how the Buddha’s masculinity is presented in Indic sources, focusing primarily on texts from the Pāli canon, which probably contains some of the earliest extant works from the formative period of Buddhism.7 As we will see, for the Indian Buddhists who constructed the biography of the founder of their religion, masculinity is not peripheral to buddhahood; it is conceived in these sources as an essential aspect and is a key factor that aids his missionizing activities and is proof of his spiritual attainments.

1. The Perfect Body of the Ultimate Man The Buddha’s body is proclaimed in Buddhist sources to be the ultimate perfection of the human form (and as superior to all other physiques, 5

6

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For example, the Legend of Miserly Nanda asserts that “the form of a man, possessing the pleasant beauty of a bunch of flowers, which attracts […] the eyes of men and women, unwavering in energy and strength and perfect in its proportions, is the reward of virtue”, Matsaranandāvadāna, verse 66; see Handurukande 1984, 108. See also Connected Discourses with the Kosalas, in which the Buddha describes why various types of ill-fated humans have sickly, weak, or ugly bodies as a result of negative karma, see Feer (ed.) 1960, I.94. According to the theory of karma, each varṇa has specific predispositions (adhikāra). A person born into a family of pot makers, for example, is endowed with predispositions toward this occupation and should not attempt to perform the duties of another group. One’s predispositions are the result of past volitional actions, and nothing one does in the present lifetime can alter one’s natural proclivities. This is the canon of the modern Theravāda school and is the most complete Indian Buddhist canon. It contains texts that were originally orally transmitted until it was committed to writing during the fourth Buddhist Council, held in Sri Lanka in 29 BCE, approximately five centuries after the death of the Buddha.

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including those of gods), but the ways in which his consummate beauty is described will strike modern readers as odd. If one were to imagine someone with the thirty-two physical characteristics of a great man – to which are added another eighty secondary (anuvyañjana) characteristics – the resulting body would look freakish, and not beautiful in comparison to modern images of ideal physiques. A buddha’s physiognomy includes: a fist-sized lump (unhīsa; Skt. uṣṇīṣa) on top of his cranium; long arms that reach down to his knees without him having to bend over; webs between his fingers and toes; a torso like a lion’s; legs like an antelope’s; eyelashes like a cow’s; golden coloured skin; a mouth like a bright red bimba fruit; one hair to each pore on his scalp, all curling in the same direction; skin so soft and smooth that no dust can settle on it; a shining silver tuft of hair between his eyebrows (uṇṇā; Skt. ūrṇā) that when uncurled is about a meter in length; perfectly flat feet the surfaces of which contact the ground at the same time; a penis hidden by a sheath;8 and an enormous tongue that can cover his forehead and the tip of which can be inserted into his earholes.9 The Buddha’s body is a subject of fascination in Indian Buddhist literature, and readers are informed that it is consummately beautiful, but the details contrast with contemporary ideals.10 All of its surfaces are smooth and rounded, and he has no bulges, including muscles. According to the commen‐ tator Buddhaghosa (fl. early 5th century CE), the Buddha even lacks an inden‐ tation at his spine: his back, unlike those of other men, is rounded.11 Buddhaghosa further states that the Buddha never bends at the waist: his entire body is inclined upward or downward, and when he turns he does so like an elephant, with all parts moving at the same time.12 His torso is straight with a slight midriff bulge, not V-shaped like the modern male ideal, and 8

9

10 11

12

This is linked with the Buddha’s practice of celibacy in past lives and also serves to associate him with large, powerful animals emblematic of masculinity like stallions and elephants. See Buddhaghosa (1886-1932), II.447, where he compares the Buddha’s penis to those of elephants or bulls and states that the sheath resembles the pericarp of a golden lotus. These are detailed in a Pāli text devoted to the physical characteristic of a great man, Discourse on the Physical Characteristics; Rhys Davids/Westlin Carpenter (eds) 1966, III.144/145. A complete list with Pāli and Sanskrit equivalents can be found in Powers 2009, 235-239. Buddhaghosa (1886-1932), II.450 explains that, “the great man’s tongue is soft, long, and wide and it also has a pleasing colour. Because it is soft, he can extend the tongue and touch and stroke both ears with it. Because it is long, he can touch and stroke both nostrils; because it is wide, he can cover his own forehead”. The most detailed descriptions of the Buddha’s body in the Pāli canon are found in the Discourse with Brahmāyu; Chalmers (ed.) 1960, 133-146. See Buddhaghosa (1886-1932), II.446. It explains that the Buddha had a fleshy membrane that extended from his hip upward and covered his entire back, which “appeared like a straight golden slab”. See ibid., II.435 and II.448. The Brahmāyu-sutta also contains detailed descriptions of the Buddha’s physical comportment.

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although he is powerful and athletic, this is not matched with the sort of physique found in contemporary images of strong and fit men. The oddness of the Buddha’s form as described in Indian literature (the Pāli canon, commentaries on it, as well as Mahāyāna texts, including sūtras, exegetical literature, and scholastic works)13 and the multiple ways in which it contrasts with how contemporary men experience their bodies – as well as the paradigms of masculine embodiment they strive to actualize – illustrates Björn Krondorfer’s remark that “male-gendered experiences are hegemonic and yet remain unmarked experiences. Although the male body is always in the text […] it is not present as a consciously gendered body”.14 There is not even any apparent recognition that there is an absence. Social concepts of the body that were hegemonic in ancient India are interwoven into narratives of the Buddha’s life, but there is no sense that the authors are aware that what they present is a historically determined and contingent image of masculinity. The Buddha is thin and lithe, and his body is ideally suited for the most manly of male physical pursuits according to Indian Buddhist sources: archery, which requires skill and strength, but not the sort of blunt force used to best enemies in hand-to-hand combat. Archers use their weapons to dispatch enemies at a distance, and accounts of the Buddha’s life portray him as the greatest archer of his time. He also excels at other sports such as running and wrestling, but archery figures more prominently in accounts of his manly deeds during his youth and adolescence.15 Sexual performance is also a core trope. In later life the Buddha became a celibate homeless ascetic who survived on alms food and wandered from place to place with a group of fellow mendicants. They shaved their heads and wore robes made from scraps of castoff fabric sewn together and dyed saffron, but despite their lack of adornment or interest in fashion, the monks of the Buddhist order are also portrayed in Pāli and Sanskrit literature as paragons of manhood. They are described as healthy and fit, with attractive features. The greatest threat to their commitment to the monastic lifestyle was 13

14 15

Contemporary scholarship generally places the Buddha’s dates sometime around the 5th century CE. Dating of most Indic works is approximate because they do not mention when they were composed, except in general terms. In some cases, mentions of historical figures may aid in assigning a general time period for a particular work. For many texts, dated Chinese translations provide a terminus ad quem for their composition. The texts under discussion in this article probably mainly date from Buddhism’s early formative period, from the beginning of the Buddha’s preaching career to his death and the subsequent period of revision and editing that resulted in the first canonization of Pāli materials. In all probability, this was not the end of the process, and much of this literature requires input from the commentarial tradition, most notably the works of Buddhaghosa. Krondorfer 2016, 150. See, for example, the description of the contest for Yaśodharā’s hand in Vaidya (ed.) 1958, 100-107 and the Great Matter in Mahāvastu; Senart (ed.) 1977, II.73.

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the constant blandishments of women who threw themselves at them, propo‐ sitioning them for sex.16 As Serinity Young notes, women try to impede their progress; women are the opposition. Women are not participants in the same human journey, but are obstacles to it. The Buddha’s biogra‐ phies identify women with materiality (saṃsāra) and sexuality, in contrast to men who are identified with spirituality (dharma).17

Monks’ bodies play a central role in their religious lives. Their training emphasizes control over their passions and restrained physical comportment. The Pāli canon contains numerous accounts of people who joined the monastic order (saṅgha; Skt. saṃgha) after witnessing the physical beauty of the Buddha or one of his followers.18 A recurring trope in conversion stories recounts how a sceptical brahman hears that a buddha has been born in the Magadha region of Northern India and subsequently travels there to verify this for himself. When he arrives, he remarks on the Buddha’s beautiful form and saintly demeanour, but these by themselves are common attributes of accomplished meditators. Some Indian Buddhist texts mention advanced practitioners who have bodies endowed with one or more of the physical characteristics of a great man,19 but only a buddha has all of them, perfected to the highest degree. The brahman visitors sequentially verify that the Buddha’s body displays thirty of the physical characteristics, but they are unable to ascertain whether or not he has a sheathed penis and an enormous tongue. In some cases, he reads their minds and exposes his genital area for inspection and then extrudes his tongue, first covering his forehead and then inserting the tip into each earhole. In other stories, the brahman asks the Buddha to display these two aspects of his physique: Upon your body, Gotama, is what is normally concealed by a cloth hidden by a sheath, greatest of men? Though named by a word of the feminine gender, is your

16

17 18

19

See, for example, the account in the Basket of Discipline (Vinaya-piṭaka) in which a group of women see a sleeping monk with an erection and sexually violate him: Oldenberg (ed.) 1969, III.38/39. Powers recounts variations on this theme in Indian Buddhist literature, Powers 2009, 67-69. Young 2004, 5. Buddhaghosa (1975), 211, considers a buddha’s body to be essential to his teaching mission: his physical beauty impresses worldly people, and because of this they natu‐ rally gravitate toward him and respect his words. See also Ohnuma 2007, 224/225, who remarks on a similar linkage between virtue and physical beauty in the Jātakas (stories of the Buddha’s past births): “[T]his is a world in which physical features are always indicative of moral status, and moral attainments must be reflected by their corre‐ sponding physical effects”. See Radich 2007, 73 and Thera/Hecker 1997, 109, which reports that several of the Buddha’s disciples had one or more of the physical characteristics of a great man, but not the complete set.

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tongue really a manly (narassika) one?20 Is your tongue also large? Please stick it out a bit and cure our doubts.21

He obliges, and following this odd spectacle, the brahmans are convinced: Siddhattha Gotama is indeed a buddha. A number of Pāli texts assert that the physical characteristics of a great man are part of brahmanical lore, but there is no evidence supporting this in extant canonical texts. Modern digitization and search engines allow scholars to look for words and strings across a large corpus of brahmanical literature composed prior to the Buddha’s time and later works that became normative for people who identified with the brah‐ manical tradition, and while some of the terms appear, there is no comparable listing of these physical attributes in any ancient Sanskrit texts. This is also the conclusion reached by Buddhaghosa, who indicates that he investigated in vain (using premodern research methods) throughout brahmanical literature and failed to find any mention of the lore of the physical characteristics of a great man. He concludes that it was part of brahmanical learning in the past but that it has been lost and only remains as an oral tradition, one that is alluded to by the Buddha and the brahmans who come to examine his body.22 In these accounts, the Buddha’s physiognomy is the decisive factor in eval‐ uating his claims to be an awakened being. The brahmans who test him first listen to a sermon, but his words of wisdom are not enough to convince them: fools may learn to parrot the teachings of sages, but they cannot fake the signs of accomplishment inscribed on the bodies of buddhas. In two intriguing stories in the Monastic Code of the Everything Exists School (Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya),23 the Buddha’s malevolent cousin Devadatta attempts to do so, but the results are disastrous. He schemes with Prince Ajātaśatru (who staged a coup that usurped his virtuous father, King Bimbisāra, and later imprisoned him) to remove the Buddha as head of his monastic order and replace him with Devadatta. The prince is willing to collaborate in the plot, but he tells Devadatta that he cannot declare him to be a buddha because he lacks the physical characteristics of a great man. Without

20 21

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Jivhā, the Pāli word for tongue, is a feminine noun. Brahmāyu-sutta; Division on Brahmans (Brāhmaṇa-vagga); Middle Length Discourses in Majjhima-nikāya; Chalmers (ed.) 1960, II.136. The sutta reports that Brahmāyu was so impressed by the Buddha’s display that he joined the Buddhist order, and for seven months he followed the master everywhere, never leaving his presence. During this time, he meticulously chronicled the details of the Buddha’s appearance and comportment for the benefit of other brahmans. See Buddhaghosa (1922-1938), II.761. See also Rhys Davids 1889, 11. The date of composition is unknown and is a topic of speculation among contempo‐ rary buddhologists. The two extant versions are in Chinese (8th century) and Tibetan (9th century). Both probably contain material compiled over a long period of time in ancient India.

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these, anyone can see that Devadatta is merely an imposter, and no one familiar with the lore of buddhahood would accept the declaration.24 Devadatta is portrayed as single-minded in his envy of the Buddha and his desire to supplant him, and so in response he hires a blacksmith to fashion an iron brand with a cakra design on it. The metal is heated until it turns red; Devadatta applies it to his palms and the soles of his feet, but the result is grisly scars, and not the delicate lines of a buddha’s cakras. Another story recounts that Devadatta convinced a goldsmith to gild him so that his skin would be like that of the Buddha, which was the colour of smelted gold and supremely beautiful. This attempt to emulate physical perfection artificially also fails: the gold flakes off, revealing patches of red, discoloured skin. People who see his condition are repulsed, and not inspired to follow him.

2. Conflicted Hegemonies: The Buddha as Brahman and Warrior It is important to note that we are not dealing with the historical Buddha but with the literary character Buddha, a persona constructed by his followers after his death. What if any elements of the Buddha’s life or statements attributed to him and corresponding to historical events are matters of belief because there are no reliable contemporaneous sources that might shed light on what sort of person he was or what sort of body he had? It is highly unlikely that it resembled the trope of the ‘great man’ in Pāli or Sanskrit texts. There are no accounts of the Buddha’s life and times outside of this hagio‐ graphical literature, which was only committed to writing centuries after his death. Moreover, I am not aware of any written or oral sources from any time or culture that contain first-hand descriptions of any human being that even remotely resemble the freakish physiognomy of Indian Buddhist depictions of the founder of their religion. In traditional hagiographies, the Buddha is portrayed as effortlessly performing normative manhood, but if we dissect them a bit fissures are revealed. As Todd Reeser notes, masculinity “is not at all a given, but a fabri‐ cation or construct of a given historical context”.25 The Buddha of the Indian Buddhist imaginaire earns the admiration of other men without having to exert any special effort. In his youth, he surpasses his contemporaries in sports and martial arts, and the women who view his body are spontaneously attracted to him without any need for him to court them, adorn himself, or engage in physical training. In these stories he is at ease in his paradigmatic masculinity, but within accounts of the Buddha’s life and manly deeds there

24 25

See Gnoli (ed.) 1978, 163/164. Reeser 2010, 2.

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are tensions between contrasting and probably incompatible ideals that func‐ tioned in his society. On the one hand, there is the brahman – congenitally inclined toward reli‐ gious pursuits, contemplative, and scholarly. The ideal brahman type is the male householder who as a youth memorizes the sacred lore of the Vedas and in adulthood performs sacrifices that maintain the world (loka-saṃgraha). The other Indian masculine archetype is the kṣatriya, a warrior and ruler who trains in martial arts and who protects his kingdom by skill in armed combat, prudent governance, and diplomacy. The sorts of qualities valorized in these two paradigms are difficult to reconcile in a single person, and a man who excels in one would be unlikely to do so in the other. But as the ‘ultimate man’, the Buddha (or at least the literary figure Buddha) must be the supreme exemplar of each, and of both at the same time. And even more importantly, he must do so without any tensions or struggles. This reflects an observation by Tim Carrigan, Bob Connell, and John Lee that “the culturally exalted form of masculinity, the hegemonic model so to speak, may only correspond to the actual characters of a small number of men. […] There is a distance, and a tension, between collective ideal and actual lives”.26 In this case, there are two very different visions of what the ideal man should be and what sort of activities he performs, but the Buddha’s biographies construct him as embodying the best of both and as transcending even the gods. Stories of the Buddha’s early life – during which he lived in the women’s quarters of his father’s palace – are replete with details of his prodigious sexual exploits, but several also indicate that he was not motivated by desire; he was merely enacting the sort of actions expected of young male kṣatriyas.27 He is described as a “stallion” with a boundless capacity for sex.28 In some accounts, he is said to have had as many as 60,000 beautiful courte‐ sans, and he fully satisfied every one. According to the Monastic Discipline of the Everything Exists School, each woman thought that he only spent time with her.29 In addition to his harem, he also had between one or three wives according to these stories, and he fathered a son with Yaśodharā. But he did

26 27

28 29

Carrigan et al. 1985, 589. See, for example, Deeds of the Buddha (Aśvaghoṣa 1984), which describes in detail the surpassing beauty of his courtesans and asserts that any ordinary man – and even gods – would be overwhelmed by lust for them, but the prince is unmoved. His father Śuddhodana becomes concerned that there is something wrong with his son, who “firmly guarded his senses, and in his distress at the inevitability of death was neither cheered nor disturbed”. In response, the brahman Udāyin characterizes his attitude as unworthy and enjoins him to perform “the duty of a man”, see Aśvaghoṣa 1984, 34-37. Doniger notes that the Indo-Āryans associated stallions and other large, powerful animals with masculinity, see Doniger 1980, 239. See Mūlasarvāstivāda-vinaya (Taishō 24.1450.111/112); see also Taishō 1442, ch. 18: 720c, 12/13 and Senart (ed.) 1977, II.76.

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not impregnate her out of lust, or even because he wanted to see his bloodline continue after he left his royal life to pursue a religious path; rather, producing progeny was a testament to his manhood, a pre-emptive move to forestall future critics from characterizing him as a bloodless ascetic who abandoned his harem and kingly duties because of some inadequacy or an inability to perform sexually.30 This concern continues even after the Buddha becomes a renowned sage with a growing order of followers. In one story, he overhears two monks complaining about the strict rules of celibacy imposed on them. They agree that the Buddha is a “natural eunuch”, incapable of passion, and so the renun‐ ciate life is easy for him. Ordinary men struggle with their sexual urges, but the Buddha cannot understand how onerous the monastic codes are for the monks who attempt to follow his Dharma. In response, the Buddha walks to a secluded area and ejacul*tes a prodigious amount of sem*n into his cupped hands and then confronts the recalcitrant monks: “Do you really question my virility? Do you actually think my virtues are a reflection of impotence? […] Here is proof of my manhood!” After this display of his masculinity – which apparently was achieved without any object of sexual desire or any friction to produce the discharge – he washes his hands in a nearby river. The potency of his sem*n is so great that a female fish swimming by becomes pregnant and later gives birth to a human son, who grows up to become the arhat Upagupta.31 These stories are part of a pattern in accounts of the Buddha’s life following his renunciation of the world and adoption of a monastic lifestyle. As the ultimate man, it is not enough that he merely excel in religious pursuits; he must also continue to inspire the admiration of masculine paragons like kings, and a recurring trope has warrior rulers describing in detail the power of his physique and enjoining him to return to the affairs of royalty: crushing enemies, having sexual intercourse with multiple female partners, exercising power over others.32 The Buddha is never tempted and always flatly rejects offers to share power or to replace a ruler. But the fact that this trope appears frequently indicates a lingering uneasiness for his hagiographers, whose accounts are replete with literary devices designed to attest that even as a wandering monastic ascetic he still outshone vigorous

30

31 32

See Mūlasarvāstivāda-vinaya, I.120. This passage is discussed by Strong 1997, 115. The notion that the Buddha only conceived a son in order to fulfil societal expecta‐ tions of virile men is also found in Senart (ed.) 1977, I.167-170. See Archaimbault 1972, 55. See also Strong 1994, 220 for stories of how the Buddha’s ejacul*tion inadvertently led to Upagupta’s conception. See, for example, Aśvaghoṣa’s Deeds of the Buddha (Aśvaghoṣa 1984), 113, where King Śreṇya of Magadha urges the Buddha to return to the manly pursuits of kṣatriyas.

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martial masculine figures in the sorts of qualities they personified. In these accounts, readers are assured that the Buddha, despite years spent in medita‐ tive retreats, sitting for long periods of time and not engaging in any sort of exercise, lost none of his physical strength, speed, stamina, or sexual potency; although his head was shaved and he wore robes of castoff rags, women were irresistibly drawn to him. In accounts of his life and times, the Buddha remains the paradigmatic kṣatriya although he no longer engages in any of the characteristic activities of the warrior caste. He does not fight, nor does he train in martial arts. He has renounced his royal birthright and his kingdom, and he is not engaged in affairs of state. Nonetheless, his embodiment of the highest ideals of a kṣatriya remains undiminished, and others immediately recognize this despite his monastic clothing and saintly demeanour. One of the tropes that suggests this portrays the Buddha as a “herd bull”33 surrounded by his monastic companions. He has the outward appearance of a renunciant, but he is still described as “manly”, “leader of men”, “god among men”, “possessing manly strength”, “a bull of a man”, “king of kings” and “crusher of enemies”.34 The Buddha also epitomizes the other dominant Indian masculine paradigm, the brahman. The Buddha implicitly asserts authority over this ideal and frequently makes pronouncements about who is or is not a “true brahman”. He castigates members of the brahman caste (varṇa) who presume that endogamous birth confers special status. Their current position at the top of the social hierarchy may be a result of past good karma, but in order to be worthy of the designation “brahman”, the Buddha declares, a man must exemplify the normative qualities of a religious practitioner. Those who look down on others who are lower-born or who engage in actions unworthy of a brahman are merely pretenders, using their birth to lay claim to a station that they do not deserve. The implicit ideology of masculinity encoded in these stories simultane‐ ously incorporates and subverts the two dominant paradigms. The figure of the kṣatriya is valorized as an ideal masculine type, but the post-renunciation Buddha no longer performs the activities of a warrior or ruler. Instead, he renounces armed conflict and rulership and also removes himself from repro‐ duction, one of the central duties of an Indian householder (gṛhastha). At the same time, however, he retains authority to lecture kings about the ways in which they fail to live up to the standards of their varṇa. Similarly, he castigates brahmans who are concerned with profit or social status and instructs them on how to act in such a way as to deserve their exalted social status; but he never engages in the central duties of brahmans, 33 34

Ibid., 81. See Powers 2009, 26/27 and Senart (ed.) 1977, III.261.

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particularly officiating sacrifices that provide sustenance to the gods and sustain the universe. Only a man born into a brahman family who receives the proper initiations and lengthy instruction in ritual lore can perform these rites, and as a prince the Buddha was not privy to this sort of training; but none of the accounts in which he remonstrates with brahmans contain any responses questioning his standing. Brahmans are the guardians of the sacred Vedas, but the Buddha’s hagiographies do not credit him with such scriptural expertise; and the paradigmatic brahman householder maintains the world and continues his line through procreation until he reaches an advanced age,35 while the Buddha works to depopulate saṃsāra through expounding a dharma through which his followers might eliminate their passions and mental afflictions and eventually escape the cycle of birth and death.

3. Hybrid Masculinity: The Buddha as a New Type of Man Contemporary studies of masculinities often highlight the notion of crisis, the cognitive difficulties faced by males who attempt to meet impossible or conflicting standards.36 But despite the obvious contradiction of the two contrasting archetypes the Buddha embodies, no such tension appears in Buddhist accounts, at least on the surface. He effortlessly proclaims his supreme manliness through his perfect body, his comportment, and his actions. He personifies the highest ideals of brahmans and kṣatriyas without giving any sense that the expectations for the two groups contain discrepan‐ cies that must be negotiated. He stands apart from other men, who struggle to live up to the standards of their societies and who feel inadequate when they fail to do so. At the same time, the hybrid nature of the Buddha’s performance of masculinity suggests that there were implicit tensions in communal models during his time. The brahmans stood at the apex of the social hierarchy, and they assiduously maintained their ritual purity so that they could officiate in the rites that sustained the world. But like contemporary intellectuals, their largely sedentary lives and cerebral occupations created a typology of a man who spends his time sitting, reading, and chanting, as opposed to the virile, physical warrior ideal of the kṣatriya. In both appropriating elements of the two paradigms and critiquing aspects of them, Buddhists through the creation of the fictional character of their founder presented an archetype that retained the best qualities of both and at the same time transcended them in the form of a separate category, that of buddha. His example provided a model for how 35 36

This is an injunction of the Ordinances of Manu (Manu-smṛti), particularly in chapter 6; see Bühler (trans.) 1969, 205-214. See, for example, Beynon 2002 and Connell 2005, 84 and 226.

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men might negotiate conflicting demands for masculine performance and the disparity between idealized images of men and what most men actually do from day to day. Buddhist texts promise that those who successfully undertake Buddhist regimens might win the admiration of their peers and progressively cultivate exalted qualities such as wisdom and compassion, but at the same time they will be desirable to women, handsome, healthy, and fully at ease in the world, free from the sorts of uncertainties that plague most people. From our contemporary vantage point, however, we can see that, as Chris Haywood and Máirtín Mac an Ghaill observe, there is nothing natural or necessary about the sorts of masculine tropes taken for granted in Indian literature: “Masculinities are formed by nationally specific images, tasks, rituals and value systems […] Masculinity is not a simple self-construct”.37

4. Marketing Strategies: The Creation of the Literary Figure ‘Buddha’ The creation of the literary figure ‘Buddha’ can be viewed as part of a marketing strategy. Early Buddhism was one of many ascetic (śrāmaṇa) movements in ancient India, and it was also in competition with the main‐ stream brahmanical tradition, which was the dominant religious model in most of the North-Central regions of the subcontinent. Other renunciant orders could boast far more impressive feats of austerity and more physically challenging disciplines. Some fasted for extended periods of time or engaged in prodigious feats of self-harm. The Pāli canon contains a number of accounts of the Buddha’s reactions to these extreme cults. In one example, a ‘dog-ascetic’ visits the Buddha and describes his regimen: he walks on all fours, eats food from the ground, and generally acts like a dog in the hope that these difficult exercises will bring him great merit and a glorious rebirth. The Buddha informs him that all he is really accomplishing is cultivation of the karmic seeds of future lives as a dog. By emulating canine behaviour, the ascetic is – according to the Buddha – not progressing on a religious path; rather, he has deluded himself by imagining that a particular training is bene‐ ficial merely because it requires extraordinary self-abnegation.38 In another dialogue, the Buddha debates with Aggivessana, a yoga master.39 Aggivessana advises the Buddha that he and his followers would benefit from the physical training of yoga, which would increase their

37 38 39

Haywood/Mac an Ghaill 2003, 86. See the Kukkuravatika-sutta of the Majjhima-nikāya; Chalmers (ed.) 1960, I.387-392. See the Mahāsaccaka-sutta of the Majjhima-nikāya; ibid., I.237-247.

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strength and stamina and enhance their cognitive abilities through breath control (prāṇāyana) and bodily contortions (āsana). The Buddha rejects Aggivessana’s argument and states that yoga and other corporeal regimens only waste energy and offer no positive outcomes for people seeking release from saṃsāra. Exerting effort in exercise, like attachment to mundane things, creates the causes and conditions for continuing attraction to the phenomena of the world and thus assures that those who fall into such traps will return again and again to rebirth. Such confrontations are a recurring theme in Indian Buddhist literature. They show that the writers of these stories were aware of other orders and viewed them as competitors whose claims needed to be countered. One of the key components of the Buddhist marketing strategy was the “middle way” (madhyama-pratipad), which the Buddha said was the ideal discipline for a religious practitioner. A person who follows this path avoids the two extremes of hedonism and severe asceticism. This notion implicitly acknowledges the appeal of sensual pleasures, but warns against them. They may provide super‐ ficial and temporary gratification, but they are ultimately unsatisfactory, resulting in feelings of emptiness and discontent. The feats of Indian ascetics may seem impressive to a naïve observer, but they are just as counterproduc‐ tive as carnal indulgence. Severe self-abnegation is enervating and ultimately ineffective for those seeking release from saṃsāra, and the impulse behind it is rooted in ego. It leads to attachment, and so to rebirth. The Buddha as depicted in Pāli sources was clearly aware that his saṃgha was in competition with other groups for new recruits and lay supporters, and their rivals also claimed that their practices and paths were supremely effica‐ cious. The various śrāmaṇa orders – most of which disappeared and whose teachings only survive in ancient texts – lived as mendicants and subsisted on alms. Only yogis who were regarded by the populace as practicing a genuine dharma and not merely seeking handouts would be given food, clothing, and other necessities. Donors believed that they received merit as a result of their gifts, but only genuine religious trainees were “fields of merit” (puṇyakṣetra). Alms given to such people yield the expected karmic rewards, but donations to fraudsters are worthless.40 40

In Commentary on the Treasury of Abhidharma Vasubandhu (1967), 136, presents unflattering descriptions of the practices of other ascetic orders and the ugliness of their bodies, which reflect their flawed religious regimens. See also the Dhammacetiya-sutta, in which King Pasenadi of Kosala rapturously describes the beautiful physiques of Buddhist monks and extolls this as proof of the supremacy of the Buddha’s Dharma. He negatively compares other ascetic factions, whose bodies are “lean, wretched, unsightly, jaundiced, with veins standing out on their limbs, such that people would not want to look at them again”. He concludes: “that is why I infer that […] the saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples is practicing the correct way”, see Majjhima-nikāya; Chalmers (ed.) 1960, II. 121/122.

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In addition to other ascetic congregations, Buddhists were competing with the brahmans. As the dominant religious faction, brahmans exerted broadranging influence, particularly in North-Central India. Due to successful marketing of their brand, over the course of millennia they extended their hegemony over most of the subcontinent, and today they remain at the apex of the Hindu social hierarchy. The brahmans had a pantheon of gods, most of whom possessed a particular set of attributes and powers; and the brahmans were the sole purveyors of Vedic rituals, which promised wealth, long life, sons, and cows to people of the lower classes who engaged their services. In their public presentations, Buddhists had to develop counter-strategies to compete with mainstream Brahmanism and its gods, as well as with local cults and their promises of access to deities who could confer worldly bene‐ fits to devotees. A key aspect of the production of the image of Buddhism’s founder was the creation of a figure who surpassed the gods. His perfect body was part of the public appeal of their group: gods are longer-lived, they have various attributes such as feet that do not touch the ground and beautiful garlands that never wilt (until just before they are about to die). Their physiques are more beautiful than those of humans. Men who see celestial beings such as apsaras proclaim that they are infinitely more alluring than any human woman, and male devas are surpassingly attractive.41 Male devas also have bodies that are far more handsome and powerful than those of human men. The Buddha, however, has the supreme male body, and while he is not credited with the powers of the great devas (for example, Brahmā’s ability to fashion the universe out of the chaotic matter left behind following the cata‐ clysm at the end of an eon), a number of stories of the Buddha’s life feature episodes in which mighty gods (including Brahmā and Indra, the king of devas) visit him, touch their celestial crowns to his feet in a gesture of defer‐ ence, and proclaim that he is the greatest of all beings, the apogee of perfec‐ tion, both physical and cognitive.42 They beg him for instruction and confess their inability to grasp the subtleties of his insight and wisdom. These literary devices implicitly acknowledge the appeal of supernatural beings for ordinary people and attempt to subvert it. Gods can provide aid in times of distress or confer boons on those who propitiate them; but they cannot match the spiri‐ tual perfection of a buddha, nor can they guide adepts who seek release from the cycle of birth and death.

41

42

Apsaras (also spelled apsarasa) are female spirits who live in clouds or in water. They are surpassingly beautiful, and in some accounts ordinary men (and sometimes sages) are so aroused upon seeing them that they become overheated, and sometimes expire. See, for example, the Extensive Sport; Vaidya (ed.) 1958, 84.

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5. Concluding Remarks As Kenneth Dutton remarks, a core trope of contemporary male bodies is an emphasis on physical training that aims to actualize their potential strength, endurance, and attractiveness.43 Buddhist literature, by contrast, presumes that physical perfection can only be achieved over the course of multiple lifetimes. Beings who cultivate virtue and thus accumulate positive karma will gradu‐ ally progress in wisdom and other desirable qualities such as ethics and generosity, and their physiques will improve during successive births, along with their social status and resources. Within a single lifespan, however, no matter how much one exercises, there are limits to how strong, fast, or fit one will become; and old age will gradually rob even the most diligent exercisers of their strength and speed. Even when people reach their athletic prime there will likely be at least one other person who is simply better. When Usain Bolt, for example, is on his best form and free from illness, he will win most competitions, no matter how hard his rivals work. Every other runner in the 100 meter final has trained assiduously and worked with top coaches, but they still fall short. Men watching movies starring men like Batman or James Bond who are able to perform extraordinary feats as a result of training may fanta‐ size situations in which they emulate them, but such examples also make men aware of their physical limitations. Figures like Superman or Iron Man are less proximate models because they enjoy advantages of birth or technolog‐ ical enhancement. The Buddha, although superhuman, is cast as a possible role model because anyone who follows his Dharma can accumulate merit and advance in wisdom, and over the course of innumerable lifetimes will progressively be born with better and more beautiful (male) bodies. In stories of the Buddha’s life and manly exploits, he far outshines all competitors, and he does so without any special diet, exercise program, or coaching. His body is perfectly ordered and disciplined, and he has full control over it. His contemporaries can only observe and admire his prowess and his perfect anatomy, but the Buddhist path also promises that if people engage in the religious regimens he describes, in future lives they might also have lumps on top of their heads and enormous tongues. Buddhists’ presentation of the Buddha’s masculinity was part of a program of valorization of their religion, of its practices, and of its hegemonic claims of unique effectiveness. Buddhist literary sources claim that their path is the only one that can ultimately bring about release from saṃsāra. Other forms of training might produce merit and improved rebirth situations, but only the Buddha’s Dharma leads to the final goal of the religious project. The 43

See Dutton 1995, 280.

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Buddha’s unique embodiment proved his claims, and no other human or god during his time (and probably ever) was marked with the thirty-two physical characteristics of a great man and the eighty secondary physical characteris‐ tics. The inferiority of other ascetic traditions is inscribed on their bodies, which are portrayed as dirty and emaciated, making them objects of derision or pity. The gods cannot provide release from the cycle of birth and death because they too are enmeshed in it; their exalted status is temporary, the result of past accumulation of positive karma, but when their accounts are depleted they will return to the lower levels of existence. The literary figure “Buddha” functions like Jesus does as a role model for Christians: Jesus was a man with a human body, and so his example can inspire his followers to emulate his deeds. But Jesus is also Christ, part of the Godhead, and thus no human can ever truly be like him. The Buddha, by contrast, is conceived in Buddhist literature as the apotheosis of the potential of every sentient being. Although no one can presently fully actualize the masculine paradigm he represents, accounts of his life and lives hold out the promise of future improvements in physical endowments and wisdom, culmi‐ nating in the final goal of religious practice. Bibliography Aṅguttara-Nikāya. Morris, Richard (ed.) (1955): The Aṅguttara-Nikāya. 6 volumes. London: Pali Text Society. Archaimbault, Charles (1972): La course de pirogues au Laos. Ascona: Artibus Asiae Publishers. Aśvaghoṣa (1984): Deeds of the Buddha (Buddhacarita). Johnston, Edward H. (ed.): Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita, or, Acts of the Buddha. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Beynon, John (2002): Masculinities and the Notion of ‘Crisis’. In: Id. (ed.): Masculinities and Culture. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press, 75-97. Buddhaghosa (1886-1932): Sumaṅgalavilāsinī of Buddhaghosa. 3 volumes. Edited by Thomas W. Rhys Davids / Joseph E. Carpenter / W. Stede. London: Pali Text Society. Buddhaghosa (1922-1938): Papañcasūdanī of Buddhaghosa. 5 volumes. Edited by J. H. Woods / D. Kosambi / I.B. Horner. London: Pāli Text Society. Buddhaghosa (1975): Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga). Edited by Caro‐ line Rhys Davids. London: Pali Text Society. Bühler, Georg (trans.) (1969): The Laws of Manu. New York, NY: Dover Publications.

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Carrigan, Tim / Connell, Bob / Lee, John (1985): Toward a New Sociology of Masculinity. In: Theory and Society 14 (5), 551-604. Chalmers, Robert (ed.) (1960): The Majjhima-nikāya. 4 volumes. London: Pali Text Society. Connell, Raewyn (2005): Masculinities. 2nd edition. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. Dīgha Nikāya. Rhys Davids, Thomas W. / Westlin Carpenter, Joseph E. (eds.) (1966). London Pali Text Society. Doniger, Wendy (1980): Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Dutton, Kenneth (1995): The Perfectible Body. The Western Ideal of Male Physical Development. New York, NY: Continuum. Gnoli, Raneiro (ed.) (1978): The Gilgit Manuscript of the Saṅghabedavastu. Being the 17th and Last Section of the Vinaya of the Mūlasarvaāstivādin (Part 2). Rome: Instituto Italiano Per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. Handurukande, Ratna (1984): Five Buddhist Legends in the Campū Style. From a Collection Named Avadānasārasamuccaya. Bonn: Indica et Tibetica Verlag. Haywood, Chris / Mac an Ghaill, Máirtín (2003): Men and Masculinities. Theory, Research and Social Practice. Buckingham: Open University Press. Krondorfer, Björn (2016): Genderless or Hyper-Gendered? Reading the “Body of Christ” from a Critical Men’s Studies Perspective. In: Wendel, Saskia / Nutt, Aurica (eds): Reading the Body of Christ. Eine geschlechtertheologische Relecture. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 147-157. Mūlasarvāstivāda-vinaya (1924-1934): (Taishō 24.1450). Taishō shinshū daizōkyō. Edited by Takakusu Junjiro and Watanabe Kaigyoku. Tokyo: Daizōkyōka. Ohnuma, Reiko (2007): Head, Eyes, Flesh, and Blood. Giving Away the Body in Indian Buddhist Literature. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Powers, John (2009): A Bull of A Man. Images of Masculinity, Sex, and the Body in Indian Buddhism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Radich, Michael (2007): The Somatics of Liberation. Ideas about Embodi‐ ment in Buddhism from its Origins to the Fifth Century CE. Harvard University: Ph.D. Dissertation. Reeser, Todd W. (2010): Masculinities in Theory. An Introduction. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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Rhys Davids, Thomas W. (1889): Dialogues of the Buddha. Part I. London: Pali Text Society. Saṃyutta-nikāya. Feer, Leon (ed.) (1960). London: Pali Text Society. Senart, Émile (ed.). (1977): Mahāvastu-avadāna. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale. Strong, John (1994): The Legend and Cult of Upagupta. Delhi: Motilal Banar‐ sidass. Strong, John (1997): A Family Quest. The Buddha, Yaśodharā, and Rāhula in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya: In: Schober, Juliane (ed.): Sacred Biography in the Buddhist Traditions of South and Southeast Asia. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 113-128. Thera, Nyanaponika /Hecker, Hellmuth (1997): Great Disciples of the Buddha. Their Lives, Their Works, Their Legacy. Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications. Vaidya, P.L. (ed.) (1958): Lalitavistara. Darbhanga: Mithila Institute. Vasubandhu (1967): Commentary on the Treasury of Abhidharma (Abhid‐ harma-koṡa-bhāỵa). Pradhan, Prahlad (ed.). Patna K.P.: Jayaswal Research Institute. Vinaya Piṭakaṃ. Oldenberg, Hermann (ed.) (1969). London: Pali Text Society. Young, Serinity (2004). Courtesans and Tantric Consorts. Sexualities in Buddhist Narrative, Iconography, and Ritual. New York, NY: Routledge.

“Honesty, bravery, self-control”:1 Constructions of Masculinities in India Renate Syed God’s own gender in Hinduism is male, especially in the Vedic culture of the second millennium BCE,2 but there are goddesses as well. In contrast to the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which are monothe‐ istic and worship one invisible male god, Brahmanic tradition has always had a multitude of divinities of male and female gender, described in mythology and represented in iconography, mainly sculpture. And Hindu tradition not only acknowledges goddesses and gods, but even includes Śiva in his form of Ardhanarīśvara, that is, literally, ‘the Lord (īśvara), who is half (ardha) female (narī)’.3 Furthermore, the gods and goddesses of early Brahmanism and later Hinduism are, in certain mythological contexts and in contrast to the Abrahamic concepts of the divine, imagined as having sex and procreating. Representations of sexuality, often perceived as blasphemous or obscene else‐ where, are essential to Hinduism: The phallus or phallic symbol, called liňgam, is a symbol of Śiva, one of the greatest gods of India,4 while his spouse, Pārvatī, is symbolized by the female sexual organ, yoni. In iconog‐ raphy, the male liňgam in the female yoni symbolizes the cosmic creation, as male and female gods are, in Indian understanding, necessary for creation and existence itself.5 Indian philosophies, developed in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, especially the dualistic systems Sāńkhya and Yoga, postulate two radically distinct and autonomous principles of existence: prakŗti, which is grammatically feminine in Sanskrit and imagined as ‘female’, is the primordial matter or substance, while puruşa, which is grammatically masculine and imagined as ‘male’, is the eternal spirit or mind. The creative power or energy, śakti, inherent in

1

2 3 4

5

Mahābhārata 3.55.9 enumerates the masculine virtues: honesty, bravery, generosity, sexual and mental self-control, purity in body and mind, discipline, and serenity are the virtues of a king, the model of a man. The three Sanskrit terms cited are: satyam, ‘truth(fulness)’, dhŗti, ‘bravery’ or ‘steadfastness’, tapas/dama, ‘asceticism’ and ‘selfcontrol’. See Whitaker 2011. An Ardha-nara-īśvarī, a goddess who is half-male, is, on the other hand, unheard of. ‘Greatest’ with respect to the antiquity of his cult, which began in Vedic times, the continuity of his worship over the course of millennia and the numbers of his adherents today. Liňgam-and-yoni depictions are frequently installed as central cult-images in the inner sanctum or garbhagŗha, literally ‘uterus-room’, in temples and shrines all over India.

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prakŗti and therefore active and creative in all existing beings and objects, inspires and incites action and is seen as the indispensable counterpart for the act of creation; the world only exists because of the union and unity of the passive, meditative male and the active, agitated female.6 It is therefore no surprise that every Indian religious tradition such as Śivaism, Vişņuism, and Śāktism7 venerates a divine couple such as Śiva and Pārvatī, or Vişņu and Lakşmī, that (re-)enacts the union of the male and female in heavenly connu‐ bial relation.8 The incomprehensible Impersonal Absolute, the Universal Reality or Ultimate Truth, the matrix of all that is, brahman, is of neuter gender in Sanskrit.9 Ancient Indian culture was patriarchal and androcentric since the Vedic period, dating back to the 2nd millennium BCE. Every discourse – mytholog‐ ical, religious, philosophical, medical, juridical, social and political – speci‐ fied the male as being the first and foremost gender and formulated strict ideals, role models and identities for males. Masculinity and femininity were both seen as natural, inborn and acquired naturally at conception. According to ancient Indian medical theory,10 different mixtures of male and female sem*n (the woman was believed to possess a sem*n-like fluid) constituted the biological sex; the dominance of the father’s sem*n by quantity and quality created a son, which is a child with a male body and male soul; the male possessed a puńs-svabhāva, ‘male-self-being’, or, ‘male core-identity’. The dominance of the mother’s generative fluid in quantity and quality brought forth a daughter, which is a child with a female body and female soul; the female possessed a strī-svabhāva, or ‘female core-identity’. Svabhāva, liter‐ ally ‘self-becoming’, ‘self-being’ or ‘identity’, was understood as the inherent nature of beings, including animals, and as such imagined to be unalterable; it encompassed not only sex but also gender, the culturally endorsed traits, models, roles and restrictions attributed to man and woman.11 The respective duties of men and women, their prescribed roles, privileges and restrictions were not only conceived as biologically determined, but also as god-given (since gods control nature) and metaphysically legitimized, and therefore as

6

7 8 9 10 11

In Hinduism, gods and goddesses do not have sex only in the mythic stories; erotic scenes and images of sexual intercourse including fellati* and other sexual practices are depicted on temple walls in Khajuraho, Bhuvaneshvara and Konarak in Odisha, to name a few. In these sculptures, at least, gender equality seems to be realized, as often the female is depicted as on top. Śāktism is the tradition of the Great Goddess Durgā, also named Śakti, ‘the Power’. See Syed 1998. See Ŗgveda in 1.164.46: “To what is One, the sages give many names, they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan”. See Manusmŗti 3.49. Carakasaňhitā, Śarīrasthāna 2. This theory is found in the Dharmaśāstras (Manu, for example), and in the medical Śāstras of Caraka and Suśruta, compiled in the first centuries CE.

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indisputable and valid among humans and gods since time immemorial. Masculinity and virility were seen as precious as well as precarious; the svabhāva itself could not be lost, as man was man and woman was woman forever, but the puńs-svabhāva could become weak and fragile from neglect, by misbehaviour or disease, and had to be meditated upon, nourished and strengthened through prescribed practices (just as true ‘woman-hood’ could be lost by wrong behaviour and neglect of the female duties). The assumed biological, social and metaphysical legitimacy of male domi‐ nation was never questioned; the Vedas (around 1800 BCE), ritual scriptures like the Śatapathabrāhmaņa (around 800 BCE), philosophical texts like the Upanişads (700-300 BCE), legal compendia like the Dharmaśāstras (2nd century BCE to 2nd century CE), the great epics Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata (3rd century BCE to 3rd century CE) and the mythological scriptures called Purāņas (500-1000 CE) all describe the dominance of men. Already in Vedic times, masculinities were defined according to appearance, behaviour, lifestyle, duties, rights, privileges and intellectual as well as spiritual aspirations; these different concepts were described positively in texts, depicted in iconography and performed by individuals in their body language and aesthetic appearances, or in a ‘habitus’ as a personal system of embodied practices, acquired by mimesis.12 The Dharmaśāstras described a boy or man who did or could not follow the given prescriptions of masculinity as napuňsaka, ‘no-man’, or klība, ‘impotent’, ‘defective’, defined him as belonging to the ‘third gender’, and he was ridiculed as well as discriminated against and excluded from family, ritual and society.13 The philosophy of the Upanişads constructed a dichotomy of mind and body, and henceforth the male was associated with the mind, reason and tran‐ scendence, and the female with matter, the body and profanity; the male was in the world, the female of the world. The male alone was believed to be able to control his mind, his body and its functions, self-control being the sine qua non for leading an ascetic life and gaining knowledge and enlightenment through yoga and tapas. The woman was seen as subjugated to her svabhāva and therefore as fickle-minded and physically as well as mentally weak; her body and its nature-regulated cycles of menarche, menstruation, desire, preg‐ nancy, breastfeeding, menopause, etc. kept her, it was believed, in mental turmoil and irrationality, allegedly driven by an insatiable sexual appetite.14 A woman was a seductress capable of ruining the life and spiritual aspiration of any man, wise or stupid, and she was believed to need lifelong male protec‐

12 13 14

See Bourdieu 1979. See Syed 2015 on the ‘third gender’ in ancient and contemporary India. See Syed 2001.

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tion and control, rakşā.15 The celibate student or brahmacārin and the ascetic vānaprastha had to avoid any contact with females because of their seduc‐ tiveness.16 Ancient Indian culture was familiar with several concepts of masculinity, pums-tva, ‘man-hood’. The ancient Upanişads formulated the concepts of caturāśramavarņadharma: the eternal order, dharma, the four stages of life, caturāśrama, and the four castes, and they differentiated masculinity along the lines of caste, biography and stage of life. The males of the three upper varņas, i.e. brahmaņas, priests, kşatriyas, warriors and aristocrats, and vaiśyas, common men (literally, ‘people’), were advised to follow the ideal biography of the four life stages, caturāśrama, which encompassed sexually active as well as abstinent phases. Every man had the duty to study, marry and procreate, and to strive for knowledge and liberation from the circle of rebirth. In youth, a man had to be a celibate and obedient student, brahmacārin, in adult life, a sexually active and working householder, gŗhastha, in older age an abstinent ascetic, vānaprastha, who was to be asexual and devoted to spiri‐ tuality and meditation, and in advanced age an hermit, saň-nyāsin, one who had ‘cast off everything’.17 Sexuality and virility in middle age and abstinence in later life were seen as equally important for leading a successful life and therefore Hindus frowned upon the Buddhist practice of recruiting monks and nuns at a young age and demanding lifelong celibacy. A man’s duties and joys were manifold: he had to study, to marry, to work and lead a social life, to enjoy entertainment, science and the arts (the famous Kāmasūtra was the educated, urban man’s compendium for the joys of life in his best years with wine, women and music), to gain knowledge and strive for liberation from rebirth. The woman’s task was to be a wife and mother and her place was the home. Both wife- and motherhood were highly glorified, praised and eulogized in literature and culture, and submissive and obedient women, especially mothers of many sons, were granted social recognition, so that women, forced to accept the given social roles, solidified and perpetuated the patriarchal social order by acting affirmatively towards it.18 A woman had to wait, the Dharmaśāstras inform us, for another incarnation in a masculine 15

16 17 18

The root rakş can be translated either as ‘to protect’ or ‘to control’. Manusmŗti in 9.3 states that the father has to ‘control’, rakşati, his daughter, the husband his wife, and sons their mother; a woman is not be granted ‘independence’, svatantrya, at any stage of her life. See Manusmŗti 2.213 and 2.214. The concept of the four life stages was developed in the later Upanişads and described in detail in the numerous Dharmaśāstras, see Manusmŗti 6.87. There existed, of course, more than one model of femininity; while the wife had to be fertile and sex with her was mainly procreative, recreational sex for fun was enjoyed with gaņikās or courtesans, as the Kāmasūtra describes. Another difference within femininity was between fertility or infertility; a woman in her fertile life-phase was

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body with a male identity to strive for higher goals; but the desired rebirth, punarjanman, as a man could happen only if the woman had collected good karma, or puņya, by acceptance of her female duties, mainly submission and obedience. The male existence was the preferred incarnation because being a man ensured the opportunity, the right and the means to lead an intellectual and spiritual life and acquire knowledge, enlightenment and lastly mokşa, the liberation from the circle of rebirth, sańsāra. The upanayana or sacred-thread ceremony, a rite of passage that marked the acceptance by a guru, who served as intellectual teacher and spiritual mentor, was restricted to boys and young men. The guru instructed the boy in the essential virtues of being a man, which were, as the Manusmŗti declares in 6.92, tenfold: contentment, forgive‐ ness, sexual discipline, abstinence from greed, purity in mind and body, phys‐ ical self-control, control of the senses and desires, wisdom, knowledge and abstention from anger. Eight idealized concepts or representations of masculinity in ancient India can be distinguished; the following classifications are not defined or described expressis verbis as a list in Indian discourses, but are the results of the author’s studies of ancient Indian sources. The masculinities described here are theoretical ideals, difficult but not impossible to achieve, and their accomplishment promised rewards in this life and in the nether world or next incarnation. There are possible overlaps: A man could lead a life of a priest and that of a married householder at the same time, and a man could be a warrior and a gŗhastha at once. Other combinations were impossible because of their inherent antagonism: A family man could never lead an ascetic life, and a priest, who had to observe lifelong non-violence, could never become a warrior.

1. Human Masculinities 1.1 Human, Worldly Masculinity According to the aforementioned ideal schema of the four stages of life, every man was required to marry and to procreate in order to continue his family and clan and fulfil his obligations towards gods and forefathers. The gŗhastha, ‘house-dweller’, had to be healthy, and his body was nurtured by a special diet to enhance his virility and potency; temporary sexual abstinence seen as enticing, sexually demanding and dangerous, whereas a girl before menarche and the menopausal matron were considered innocent or innocuous, respectively. Women who did not conceive were unlucky as the female alone was held responsible and blamed for infertility; her husband had the right to send her back to her home and marry a new wife.

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to collect ‘strong sem*n’ was advised.19 Before his marriage, in the first stage of life, the young man, brahmacārya, had to live as a celibate, focusing on education and learning, but in the second stage of life, as a householder, he had to embody potent manhood, bravery and the ability to look after his family and clan. Sexual power and virility were highly valued, and even worshiped in cults and ensured by rituals, while impotence and infertility were dreaded; the Vedic texts20 and later scriptures reveal an obsession with virility21 and a cult of fertility. Sons, a man’s ‘alter egos’, were highly favoured over daughters since they ensured the father’s immortality by extending his identity after his death through ancestor worship and rituals of remembrance.22 As virility was believed to create virility, a son was proof of the father’s energy and strength, while a daughter was a sign of her father’s physical and mental weakness.23 The joys of life and the importance of sexu‐ ality and Eros, kāma, are praised in the Kāmasūtra and other compendia of erotic lore, the Ratirahasya and Anaňgaraňga. Here the wealthy citizen, the nāgaraka, is even advised to enjoy extramarital affairs with lovers or courte‐ sans, gaņikās. 1.2 Human, Martial Masculinity Martial masculinity and warfare were restricted to the members of the warrior, or kşatriya, caste; only kşatriyas were allowed to kill in battle and this only in a rightfully declared war; all other men, especially Brahmins, had to observe ahimsā, ‘non-violence’, and not harm any being by thought, speech or action. The warrior or hero, kşatriya, had to be, by duty of his caste, brave, strong and muscular, and his body was sustained by special foods, physically nour‐ ishing practices, gymnastics and sports;24 he was to be able to control body and mind. The warrior was defined by attributes such as decisiveness, strength and a willingness to engage in battle and accept his own death by the 19 20 21 22

23

24

See Suśrutasaňhitā, Śarīrasthāna, in 2.42 and 2.43. The Atharvaveda contains several hymns, including love charms, to celebrate virility, secure fertility and regain lost potency. See Zwilling/Sweet 1996, 99ff. Daughters, the images of the mother, were undesirable because they had to be married off as virgins and with a copious dowry, and were, after settling in her husband’s family, lost to their native families. Even today, there is a high preference for male offspring in India. The preference for sons is a characteristic of the divine world as well: Indian gods and goddesses only have sons and never daughters; Śiva and Pārvatī, for example, have two sons, Gaņeśa and Kārtikeya. No Indian god or goddess, as far as I know, ever had a daughter. See the poet Bāņa’s extensive description of King Harşa, his character and daily routine in his biography Harşacarita, written in the first half of the 7th century CE; especially Chapters 1 and 2.

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hand of the enemy, as was demanded in the Bhagavadgītā, in which the warrior ethos, or kşatriyadharma, is explained by Lord Kŗşņa himself. Martiality is praised as early as in the Ŗgveda, as Whitaker shows: Ŗgvedic tribes had a heavily ritualized and martial ideology […]. Ŗgvedic poetpriests clearly propagated a violent masculine ideology – a Ŗgvedic warrior ethic – wherein all males, whether young or old, become real man by participating in the ritual tradition and by being strong, tough, and dominant. They celebrate bravery, toughness, and strength as core components of manhood.25

Gods and men shared similarities, but men and women did not, so the question Whitaker poses, “Where does manhood come from?” is answered by him as: “According to the poet-priests, it comes from their ritual perfor‐ mances and the very gods they summon”.26 Manliness in general had to be enhanced, guarded and upheld: A famous Indian example of the ‘precarious’ status of a warrior who wants to flee the battlefield because of moral concerns is the hero, or vīra, Arjuna in the epic Mahābhārata, who expresses scruples about his enemies, among whom were relatives and teachers of his.27 Lord Kŗşņa, Arjuna’s charioteer, accuses him of unmanliness, klaibya.28 Klaibya is a pejorative term carrying the connota‐ tion of emasculation and impotence; as a klība, a person of the so-called ‘third gender’, being neither man nor woman is considered defective, power‐ less, effeminate or ‘like a female’. The great epic Mahābhārata tells numerous stories of heroes with this ‘human, martial masculinity’, such as Bhīma or Yudhişţhira; the latter was the model of a warrior who remains righ‐ teous and honourable against all odds even in undeserved exile. The duty of the warrior was war and fighting, and the heroes, vīra, are described as yuyutsu, ‘eager to fight’, and yoddhu-kāma, ‘loving battle’. 29 For the dharmic hero, and only for him, “combat opens heaven’s gate”.30 The ideal body of a king or hero can be seen in the Gupta coins of the 4th and 5th centuries AD, where King Candragupta is depicted as a muscular archer or as killing a lion by hand, displaying broad shoulders, strong arms, slim hips, and a regal posture.31 Later Indian heroes are depicted in the European tradition on horse‐ back with imperial gestures, as was Chatrapati Śivajī (1627/30-1680), the Indian Warrior King, fighting the Muslims and the British. The ideal of the

25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Whitaker 2011, 161. Ibid., 15. The Bhagavadgītā is incorporated in the Mahābhārata. See Bhagavadgītā 2.3. Klaibya, ‘unmanliness’, is derived from the Vedic klība, ‘impo‐ tent’, ‘emasculated’ or ‘castrated’ man. Bhagavadgītā in 1.1 and 1.21. Bhagavadgītā 2.32. See Altekar 1957, Plate V, 4 and 5, Plate VI, 1 to 5 and 6 to 10.

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kşatriya is still valid and prevalent in modern India, for example in the Rajput or Sikh army officer.32 1.3 Human, Priestly Masculinity Brahmins were responsible for sacrifice, temple rituals and domestic rites, and their caste is the highest ranking of the four varņas. The priest or brāhmaņa was to have an alert mind and healthy body created by a special and nutritious, but restricted, i.e. non-violent, vegetarian, diet, as well as mental techniques and a spiritual lifestyle focusing on learning, concentration and meditation; for service at the temple the priest had to fast and to abstain temporarily from sexual intercourse. The art of concentration and controlling the body and mind was developed by the Vedic priests since the early 2nd millennium BCE by means of the long and elaborate rituals they had to attend. Not physical, but mental power was required; purity rather than strength defined the priestly body. The Dharmaśāstras give detailed descriptions of how a priest should act and appear, but as we have no ancient visual represen‐ tations, we only can rely on the behaviour of priests in temples and public places today. Priests in Hindu temples often appear clean, soft and pampered; they keep their distance, and avoid eye contact and appear elegant, even graceful. Plain and simply put, the hero is active, quick and alert, whereas the priest is passive, slow and concentrated. Indian Priests and gurus rarely take action, but sit still and wait for students or admirers to approach them humbly. 1.4 Human, Ascetic Masculinity, or, more precisely, Human, Ascetic NonMasculinity In his first stage of life, as a brahmacārin or celibate student, a young man already had to discipline his body, speech, mind and senses, as well as control his sexuality.33 In the third stage of life, after having fulfilled his obligations towards family and society, a man ideally had to resign from worldly life and become a vānaprastha, a ‘forest-dweller’. The hermit, a marginal wanderer contemptuous of worldly life, had to avoid the dangerous and tempting company of women as well as all distractions and material possessions. In Indian thinking, the identity of a person or object consists of nāma, ‘name’ or social definition, and rūpa, ‘form’, ‘body’ or physical presence; the hermit neglects the body and its aesthetics and demands, including hunger and desire; to become ‘one’ with the brahman, he sheds all attributes including his name, caste and gender, becoming a no-body. The ascetic or yogin 32 33

The Indian army is today the third largest army in the world. Manusmŗti 2.192, and chapter 4.

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displays an emaciated body, or better, a ‘non-body’ which is voluntarily ‘demasculinized’ and ‘de-sexualized’ and reduced by fasting and by practicing yoga; the asexual body contains no individuality and becomes almost ‘gender neutral’. The nudity of a Hindu sādhu and a Jain monk, who is called digambara or, ‘sky-clad’, is a sign of his being beyond good and evil, desire and shame. The sculptures of the fasting Buddha in Gandhāran art or the JainaTīrthāňkaras in the numerous Jaina temples all over India display ‘human, ascetic non-masculinity’.

2. Divine masculinities Conceptions of human masculinities and femininities were reflected in mythology and in the divine order of the heavens; Indian theism is replete with anthropomorphism. Nowadays, gods and goddesses might be considered to be the mental constructions of human imagination, but the priests and poets of ancient India thought otherwise: gods, independent and superhuman beings, were prior to humanity and therefore became men’s ideal. 2.1 Divine, Peaceful Masculinity Generally, Hindu gods, devas, are benevolent and have a soft, ephemeral, youthful and kind appearance; they are mainly depicted as mild, friendly and beautiful, and as protective husbands like Śiva, or devoted lovers like Kŗşņa. The god in this form is comparable to the human gŗhastha (1.1), and/or the human priest (1.3), and has a wife by his side and does his job undisturbed and peacefully. Just as the gŗhastha looks after his family and acts according to what is right or dharma for the benefit of society, a god in his benevolent aspect protects the order of the worlds. Even so, in Hinduism the gods are not addressed as ‘father’, like, for example, in Christianity, and his devotees are not ‘children’, but bhaktas, ‘sharers (of god’s grace)’.34 2.2 Divine, Martial Masculinity Human patriarchy was reflected in the Vedic pantheon, which consisted of powerful male gods like Agni, Indra and Soma. As Whitaker has shown, the god Indra was described in the hymns of the Ŗgveda as manly and martial, but also wise, as a paragon of masculinity par excellence, and a role model

34

See the description of bhakti in the Purāņas, e.g. in Vaişņavapurāņas; the devotees of Kŗşņa experience a relationship of love with Kŗşņa, their favoured god, or işţadevatā.

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for warriors.35 Hindu Gods like Śiva or Vişņu can turn, as Indra could, into destructive forms or avatāras to kill demons or eliminate adversaries for the purpose of establishing an order which had been upturned by malevolent powers or demons. These avatāras, or ‘descents’, often wrongly called ‘incar‐ nations’, are threatening. The god is comparable to a human kşatriya or king (1.2), a warrior and fighter, ready to kill to protect the innocent and restore any order that had been disrupted by evil. Examples of these warrior-like forms include Śiva as Tripurāntaka, ‘destroyer of the three (demonic) cities’, and Vişņu in his siňhāvatāra form, as a man-lion. 2.3 Divine, Ambivalent Masculinity Among gods, masculinity has a broad spectrum: gods can appear as husbands, fathers, gurus, yogins or warriors, and most gods have shifting or fluid identi‐ ties. One example of divine ambiguity is Rāma, who is presented in Indian literature and art in various ways: he is an obedient son, a loyal brother and a dedicated husband, as well as an archer, leading an army to slay demons. Śiva and Vişņu can appear in both benign and threatening forms. Śiva is worshipped as an ascetic, lover, creator, father, sustainer and destroyer, and as the creative and destructive power itself. In iconography, he is shown as a yogin, with his eyes closed and sitting in padmāsana, sometimes displaying an erect penis, a symbol of creation, such as in the sculpture in Elephanta, the island in the bay of Mumbai. 2.4 Divine, Ascetic Masculinity Gods also practice yoga. The ascetic manifestation of a god is a recurring theme in mythology and iconography. The god Śiva, for example, is both sexual and abstinent; he is immersed in cosmic withdrawal while meditating and has to be lured out by the seductive force of the god Kāma, personified desire.36 Vişņu, while resting on the World-Cobra between two cycles of exis‐ tence, is, as a yogin, completely withdrawn and slumbering in cosmic yoganidrā, or ‘yoga-sleep’.

35 36

See Whitaker 2011, 20. The poet Kālidāsa’s epic Kumārasaňbhava tells the love story of Śiva and Pārvatī in vivid detail.

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3. Masculinity in Danger: Wild Goddesses and Dangerous Women In the Upanişads, philosophical texts composed after 800 BCE, asceticism became the sine qua non for gaining knowledge and attaining liberation. A man could be either sexual or spiritual, and sexual abstinence was seen as necessary in order to achieve a peaceful mind and mental strength. Therefore women, who were described as seductresses, had to be avoided because they posed a constant threat to man’s autonomy. Women were often described as incomprehensible and, because of their strong sexual appetite, dangerous for themselves and for men. Human as well as divine masculinity could be chal‐ lenged by female power, śakti, which might turn mild femininity into a wild, chaotic gynocracy. Vedic religion, or Brahmanism,37 was only familiar with a small number of goddesses, mainly abstract philosophical concepts such as vāc, ‘speech’, lakşmī, ‘luck’, or natural phenomena such as uşas, ‘dawn’, and sarasvatī, ‘river’. Goddesses were seen as daughters or wives like Lakşmī, who in later mythology became the obedient wife of Vişņu. These goddesses represented the ideals of mundane femininity; they were beautiful, docile and obedient like Sītā, who even commits ‘suicide’ by jumping into the flames when she is falsely accused of adultery by her husband Rāma. Self-denial and even self-immolation were seen as feminine ideals among women and goddesses. The worship of a Great Goddess, or Devī, already appears in the Ŗgveda in 10.125.38 In the process of shifting to central and southern India over the course of the post-Vedic centuries to the beginning of the Christian era, Brahmanism or the so-called ‘great tradition’, came into contact with indigenous tribal and local cults, which Western Indology labels as ‘little traditions’. These cults and their gods and goddesses were not fought or extinguished, but accepted, adopted and integrated into a new multi-faceted religion which was to become ‘Hinduism’, an assemblage or blend of Vedic and local elements. These tribal, mostly agrarian goddesses were, in contrast to the beautiful and obedient Vedic goddesses, benevolent and/or malevolent, wild as well as mild, sometimes ugly and, above all, independent and unpredictable; they were believed to send disease, drought or death if disrespected and angered. Fierce and capricious goddesses like Durgā and Kālī had been worshipped for a long time, as they were said to control the forces of nature, fields and fertility and their energetic femininity (which was interpreted by the ‘great tradition’, as 37 38

Brahmanism, or the so-called ‘great tradition’, is characterized by the cultural domi‐ nance of brahmins and the use of Sanskrit as a sacred language in rites and scriptures. Here the goddess refers to herself as ‘Empress’, rāştŗī, bending the bow of Rudra/ Śiva, as well as the sole creator of the worlds, pervading every existing creature.

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the śakti or nature’s energy) was considered stronger than masculinity, be it human or divine. These goddesses were therefore especially respected and feared by male adherents, who served them with submission and addressed them euphemistically as ‘mothers’. Nature, prakŗti, was, as already mentioned, conceived in Indian philosophy as energy or śakti, and as active, forceful, changing and erratic. This concept of śakti was applied to the Goddesses of the fields and diseases, who could thereby be integrated into Hindu philosophy and religion. These fierce goddesses became symbols of that potentially dangerous femininity which is a permanent threat to ascetic masculinity. The wrathful goddess Kālī, the ‘Black One’, with tousled and dishevelled hair and a protruding red tongue mocking order, hierarchy and gender, is shown dancing on the body of her ‘husband’ Śiva. And Durgā, the ‘Inaccessible’ or ‘Invincible’ Lady of the Himālayas, is ‘beyond reach’, strong, beautiful and confident, and she crushes male demons; in her manifestation as Mahişāsuramardiņī, she kills the buffalodemon who represents bestial masculinity. One of Mahişā’s offences was, besides his crimes against the worldly order, to ask the Goddess to marry him and making sexual advances to her, a virgin.

4. Masculinity Today India is one of the oldest surviving cultures and many of her ancient traditions of almost four millennia are still alive. The concepts of traditional human masculinity described here, the worldly, the martial, the priestly and the ascetic, can be still observed in today’s India where we encounter the successful and caring family father, the self-confident policeman and the disciplined army man, the poised and confidant priest in Indian temples and the emaciated ascetics and distinguished sādhus, who gather at festivals and flock to holy places. Ideals of masculinity might have changed slightly over the centuries, but the general paradigms defined by caste or class, age, stage of life and other markers remain in many cases the same, as a comparison of ancient iconography and modern representations suggests. Traditional ideals of masculinity may be observed in the innumerable soap operas on television and in Bollywood films, which function as mighty transporters of stereotypes and role-models.39 Family, schools and the media, especially the numerous 39

Bollywood is made for the male spectator and the films mainly focus on the male viewer, offering stereotypes of manliness to identify with. The traditional dichotomy of sex and gender is perpetuated and the often-stereotyped representations of ‘woman as virgin’, ‘woman as chaste wife and devoted mother’, ‘woman as dancer/prostitute’ and ‘women as sex-object’ doubtless have the effect of validating the inferiority of women as natural and as therefore justified. The man as the saviour and the woman as victim are prominently to be seen in Bollywood films. The classical heroine is a

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religious TV programmes, enact and reproduce the ancient cultural myths, rituals and concepts described above, telling the eternal stories daily anew.40 Children, by accepting these norms, develop adherence and loyalty to these narratives, which shape their identity. Masculinity is understood even today as the essential means and instrument for dominating political and social power and underpinning culture, law and order in family and society, in India as elsewhere. A study published in 2014 on gender roles in contemporary India, conducted by the International Center for Research on Women, or ICRW, concluded that Indian men’s sense of ‘masculinity’ significantly affects preferences for sons as well as inclinations for violence towards an intimate partner, especially the wife.41 The majority of Indians show a high preference towards subordinating individual aspira‐ tions beneath a larger social framework like family, clan and caste. Individ‐ uals, both men and women, are expected to act and perform in accordance with the will of elders and traditions. Controlling boys and young male adults is crucial to the success of the gendering process; in one recent empirical study on the construction of masculinity among young men in low income communities, Verma found that, “masculinity is an overwhelming construct in the minds of young men providing a framework to determine their selfconcept and also the cultural rule relating to their actions”.42 Masculinity is ascribed value in the concept of aslī mard, the ‘real man’, described in terms of physical, attitudinal and behavioural attributes, and as mardangī, ‘male‐ ness’, whereas women are educated to be good, obedient and self-sacrificing daughters, wives and daughters-in-law. The ideals of femininity comprise softness, subtlety and modesty. Independence and hegemony are encouraged in men and disproved of and discouraged in women; women who transgress the tight conventions of chastity and purity, or ‘decency’, are punished, as are men who do not display and enact male behaviour. Women in India are still seen as the bearers of the family’s and community’s honour. Gender stereo‐ types of powerful males and submissive females are still considered valid, granting boys and men freedom and independence. “Girls on the other hand

40

41 42

damsel in distress who has to be rescued from the clutches of a villain by the hero who saves her, often by marriage and sometimes by violence; the woman of substance who lives independently and makes decisions without relying on a male is absent. The concepts of masculinity, the family man, the hero, the ascetic, etc. live on in innu‐ merable soap operas. And the might of the goddess Kālī is also unbroken; today, her temples are visited daily by millions and she even ‘owns’ a TV channel called Kātyayanī, which is devoted to her 24 hours, 7 days a week and broadcasts documen‐ taries about her cults and screens films of her services from the thousands of her temples in India. See Nanda et al. 2014. Verma/Mahendra 2004, 73.

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are associated with stereotypes of being ‘beautiful’, ‘affectionate’, ‘emotion‐ al’ and ‘caring’”.43 The ancient concept of the male warrior is clearly used in modern Hindutva or Hindu Nationalism as a role model, showing that Hindus, who are seen as having been overpowered by Muslims and the British, can be martial, defending the honour of Bhārat Mātā, Indian culture and Indian women. Even Svāmī Vivekānanda had said: “What we want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel”,44 referring to Indians fighting for independence. There is clearly a Nationalist narrative constructed with elements of traditional images and ideas of masculinity and of the aggressive warrior, as Banerjee describes: The image of an aggressive male warrior is central to certain versions of Hindu Nationalism or Hindutva in contemporary India […]. This image is embedded within a political narrative, which declares its affinity for ideas of resolute masculinity through an array of symbols, historic icons, and myths.45

Interestingly, there is also strong female political participation in Hindu Nationalism, taking as its role models and ideals martial goddesses like Kālī, Durgā or Bhāvanī (the patron goddess of the historical Maratha hero Chatra‐ pati Śivajiī), or the historical Rani of Jhansi, who rode into battle and fought the British. Thus, nowadays even women can become ‘warriors’ to defend the nation: the Durgā Vāhinī, the ‘army of Durgā’ exists for women and girls, where the ancient ideals associated with masculinity, mainly honesty, bravery and self-control, are valued, in women.46

43 44 45

46

Ibid., 72. Jyotirmayananda (ed.) 1986, 29. Banerjee 2003, 167/168. Banerjee observes that, “social organizations such as the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and political parties such as the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) all represent some aspects of ‘militant’ Hindu nationalism”. “It is expected from the Durgas of Durga Vahini [the female members, R.S.] that they extend their co-operation in providing a solid support to the Hindu society and culture by ending all types [of, R.S.] insecurity, unrighteousness, immorality and inequality among Hindus and to launch our nation on to the path of progress […]. The Vedas have therefore given the message of Charaiveti, ‘Be on the move, Be dynamic’ […]. It is but natural that these Durgas should be sturdy and quite competent both physically and mentally [emphases added, R.S.]”. Durga Vahini on vhp.org [Accessed: 01/11/2017].

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Bibliography Altekar, Anant Sadashiv (1957): The Coinage of the Gupta Empire. Corpus of Indian Coins. Volume 4. Varanasi: Banaras Hindu University, Numismatic Society of India. Banerjee, Sikata (2003): Gender and Nationalism. The Masculinization of Hinduism and Female Political Participation in India. In: Women’s Studies International Forum 26 (2), 167-179. Bhagavadgītā; Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli (ed.) (1958): Die Bhagavadgita. Einleitung, Sanskrittext, Übersetzung, Kommentar. Translated by Siegfried Lienhard. Wiesbaden: Löwit. Bourdieu, Pierre (1979): Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Carakasańhitā; Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society (eds) (1949): The Carakasańhitā. Expounded by the Worshipful Ātreya Punarvasu. 6 Volumes. Jamnagar. Harşacarita; Pandurang Vaman Kane (ed.) (1965): The Harşacarita of Bāņabhaţţa. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Jyotirmayananda, Swami (ed.) (1986): Vivekananda. His Gospel of Manmaking with a Garland of Tributes and a Chronicle of His Life and Times. Madras: All India Press. Manusmŗti; Mandlik, Vishvanatha Narayan (ed.) (1886): The Mānavad‐ harmaśāstra with the Commentary of Govindarāja. Bombay: Ganpat Krishnaji’s Press. Nanda, Priya / Abhishek, Gautam / Ravi, Verma / Aarushi, Khanna / Niza‐ muddin, Khan / Dhanashri, Brahme / Shobhana, Boyle / Sanjay, Kumar (2014): Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India. New Delhi: International Center for Research on Women. Ŗgveda; Müller, Max F., (ed.) (1869): The Ŗg-Veda-Sanhita. The Sacred Hymns of the Brāhmans. Translated and Explained together with the Commantary of Sāyanācārya. 4 Volumes. London: Trübner. Syed, Renate (1998): Materie, Göttin, Frau. Zur Vorstellung des Weiblichen im indischen Denken. In: Hutter, Manfred (ed.): Die Rolle des Weiblichen in der indischen und buddhistischen Kulturgeschichte. Graz: Leykam, 185-220. Syed, Renate (2001): Ein Unglück ist die Tochter. Zur Diskriminierung des Mädchens in alten und im heutigen Indien. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Syed, Renate (2015): Hijras. Das dritte Geschlecht in Indien und Pakistan. Eigenverlag Renate Syed.

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Verma, Ravi K. / Mahendra, Vaishali (2004): Sharma, Construction of Masculinity in India. A Gender and Sexual Perspective. In: The Journal of Family Welfare. Special Issue 50, 71-78. Vishva Hindu Parishad (n.d.): Durga Vahini. URL: vhp.org/vhp-glance/youth/ durga-vahini/ [Accessed: 01/11/2017]. Whitaker, Jarrod L. (2011): Strong Arms and Drinking Strength. Masculinity, Violence, and the Body in Ancient India. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Zwilling, Leonard / Sweet, Micheal J. (1996): Like a City Ablaze. The Third Sex and the Creation of Sexuality in Jain Religious Literature. In: Journal of the History of Sexuality 6 (3), 359-384.

5. Further Considerations

God’s Hinder Parts and Masculinity’s Troubled Fragmentations: Trajectories of ‘Critical Men’s Studies in Religion’ Björn Krondorfer We find a curious passage about God’s body in an unlikely place, namely in one of the writings of Baruch Spinoza, the 17th-century philosopher from Amsterdam who is known for his rejection of any anthropomorphizing of God. God, for him, was bound to abstract and impersonal principles of knowledge, and such knowledge was bound to knowing ‘Nature’. The tendency to attribute human traits to God, according to Spinoza, can be explained by people’s natural inclination toward (religious) superstition. To assign a body to God was, to him, “nonsensical”.1 “Those who feign a God, like man, consisting of a body and a mind, and subject to passions”, Spinoza argues, just demonstrated “how far they [have] wander[ed] from the true knowledge of God”.2 Yet, Spinoza – himself of Jewish Sephardi-Portuguese background – observed in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus that the Torah “nowhere prescribed the belief that God is without body, or even without form or figure”; it only requires Jews to “worship him alone” and forbade them not to “invent or fashion any likeness of the Deity”. Spinoza continued to muse that the “Bible clearly implies that God has a form” and that, when Moses heard him speaking, “he was permitted to behold it, or at least his hinder parts”.3 Spinoza’s mentioning of the “hinder parts” of God is, of course, a reference to Exodus 33,17-23, where Moses encounters God and pleads, “I pray thee, show me thy glory”. God promises him to “make all my goodness pass before you [Moses]”, while also firmly stating that “you cannot see my face”. God’s back (‘hinder parts’), however, Moses is allowed to see. For Spinoza – the forerunner of Enlightenment thought and modern biblical criticism, who was banned and expelled by a writ of cherem from the Amsterdam Jewish community – the question was not whether God has a body (God did not!). He only wished to explain that it is biblical Scripture that testifies to God’s body. And even in Scripture, Spinoza wrote, we rarely find strong affirmations about a deity’s body. Moses’ encounter with God is an exception, for Moses holds a special place among the prophets in the 1 2 3

Markschies 2016, 30. Quoted in Nadler 2016. Spinoza 1891.

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Torah. He is the only prophet who hears the ‘real voice’ of God: “Moses spoke with God face to face as a man speaks with his friend”.4 But even Moses cannot see the face of God; his sighting of God’s glory is limited to getting a glimpse of God’s back parts. It is with this reference to God’s back parts that I will enter into a discussion of my critical men’s studies perspec‐ tive on an epistemological difficulty that haunts our attempts to get a firm grasp on masculinities in religions.

1. God’s Veiled Sex and Men’s Non-Absence Referencing God’s body in the Jewish and Christian traditions – as Spinoza did in his Theological-Political Treatise, first published anonymously in 1670 – without embracing any literal, anthropomorphic understanding of such a divine body has had a long history of theological and philosophical debates in the West, as a recent study on Jewish, Christian, and pagan perceptions of Gottes Körper5 (God’s Body) demonstrates. Spinoza, in this sense, was part of a larger Enlightenment trajectory that universalized and de-mythologized religious belief systems, in which the particularity of a faith tradition – and certainly the particular materiality of an imagined divine body – were anathema to modernity. Yet, it is also true that beginning in the second half of the 20th century, religious studies scholarship turned to the materiality and history of the body, inspired by the works of people like Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, feminist scholars and medievalists,6 gender-conscious scholars of patristics,7 and gay religious historians8. “The God of the Hebrew Bible has a body, this must be stated at the outset”9 – this is the opening sentence with which Benjamin Sommer, unequivocally, sets the stage for his book, The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel. But such an inquiry is by no means limited to biblical schol‐ arship; rather, it has extended across the world religious traditions.10 Ques‐ tions of whether God has a body are no longer asked to make theological or ontological points. Rather, they lead to investigating expressions of popular piety and devotion, to tracing gendered representations throughout history, or to analyzing how human and divine bodies, as cultural productions, variously comply with or resist normative gender expectations. If God has a body, God might also have a gender and a sex. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Ibid. Markschies 2016. See e.g. Bynum 1992. See e.g. Burrus 2004. See e.g. Boswell 1980. Sommer 2009, 1. Cf. Krondorfer 2016.

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The fact that we can think and speak about God’s body and gender makes us children of the Enlightenment. Such speech is possible because we can remove ourselves from an all-embracing religious universe and stand at a distance to theological doctrine and faith communities, or, at least, inhabit a dialectical space between scholarship and faith. We have learned to see reli‐ gion as an objectifiable phenomenon, wherein gender becomes one of the lenses by and through which we can understand religious identities and practices, discourse and institutions. A ‘critical men’s studies in religion’ approach is part of this larger mode of discernment; it asks questions specifi‐ cally pertaining to men and masculinities in the religious traditions, querying and critiquing men’s identities and performances as well as assumed male authority and power. It can also include questions about male-gendered imag‐ inings of the divine. Let us, then, return to the ‘hinder parts’ of God, which, according to the passage in Exodus, Moses was allowed to see. Given Spinoza’s agenda of dismantling superstitious religious belief (of which anthropomorphic descrip‐ tions of God were just one problem), his caustic and somewhat mocking reference to God’s back side is not surprising; yet, it brushes aside a whole set of questions we can ask today: Why, according to Scripture, was Moses permitted to see only the back side of God? Why could Moses – and by impli‐ cation, all Jewish and Christian readers – not see the face of God? Was Moses not allowed to see God’s front side because he would have seen God’s own gender? Would he have seen the genital markers on God’s body? In the passage of Exodus, God allows Moses to be witness to his passing kavod, his ‘presence’; but as a good measure of protection, he places Moses “in a cleft of the rock” to “shield you [Moses] with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen”.11 Why can Moses not see God’s face? Howard Eilberg-Schwartz, an American Jewish scholar, wonders in his book God’s Phallus and other Problems for Men and Monotheism12 what it is that is being protected, veiled, and hidden in this Torah passage. Is it possible that what is hidden are God’s genitals? Could this be the reason why Moses cannot see God’s face? The Hebrew term panay is conventionally translated as ‘my face’. According to Eilberg-Schwartz, panay can also be translated as ‘my front side’, in parallel construction of the Hebrew ahoray for God’s ‘back side’. The front side would reveal gendered markers, the back side might not. Was the divine being clothed when passing Moses, Eilberg-Schwartz wonders? The biblical Jewish tradition seems to think so. But regardless of whether God was wearing clothes or not, when his kavod passes Moses stuck 11 12

Ex 33,21-23. Eilberg-Schwartz 1994.

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in between rocks, God’s “turning of the back”, according to EilbergSchwartz, “symbolically represents a hiding of the very spot by which sexual identification can be confirmed”.13 Even if we were to assume a clothed divinity and accept the translation of panay as ‘face’ (rather than ‘front side’), the face itself could still reveal the markings of gender identity. What is ulti‐ mately at stake, Eilberg-Schwartz argues, is the “veiling of God’s sex”.14 Here is not the place to discuss the validity of Eilberg-Schwartz’s argument. I am mentioning Spinoza and Eilberg-Schwartz only because the veiling of God’s body, the veiling of God’s sex, and the veiling of God’s gender point, heuristically, to a larger epistemological problem that stymies the critical inquiry of men and masculinities in religion. Whereas we have come to a place in secularized scholarship that allows us to approach religion as an object of non-theological, evidence-based inquiry, it is more difficult to get a firm hold on the slippery category of ‘masculinities’. How do we know what we know about masculinities? Let us assume for a moment that we had been in Moses’ place a few thousand years ago, placed in the cleft of a rock. Unlike him, however, we would have peeked out from the cleft a little earlier and caught a glimpse of God’s front side. What if we had detected, to our surprise, some male genital markers on God’s body? This might tell us some‐ thing about God. But even if this had been the case, what exactly would we have learned about masculinity? It might be telling that the recent (and already mentioned) publication of Gottes Körper in Jewish and Christian antiquity cites Exodus 33,17-23 at three separate occasions as evidence of God’s biblical Körperlichkeit (corpore‐ ality).15 All three citations focus exclusively on God’s ‘face’ that Moses is prevented from seeing. The fact that Moses, according to Exodus 33,23, can see only God’s ‘hinder parts’ does not get any attention here, or nowhere else in this otherwise comprehensive study. In a recent remarkable article, Susan Haddox surveys the development of Hebrew Bible scholars’ interest in masculinity studies over the last two decades.16 Part of the problem of getting a good grasp on the subject, she writes, is that “biblical interpretation of men, by men, and for men was the normative mode for most of the history of the biblical texts and of biblical criticism”. An explicit investigation of men as gendered beings, however, is complicated by the “unmarked nature of masculinity in cultural structures, including language”.17 The 2016 study of Gottes Körper – although not unaware of the gender-implications of imag‐ ining God’s body – remains in the territory of not critically investigating the 13 14 15 16 17

Ibid., 77. Ibid., 78. See Markschies 2016, 43, 278, 358. Haddox 2016; see also Creangă (ed.) 2010. Haddox 2016, 177.

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“unmarked nature of masculinity”. Almost coyly and somewhat ambiguously, Markschies addresses the issue of the maleness of the divine body in a summary fashion toward the end of his work: [W]hen asking what is the gender that lingers in the background when talking about the divine corporeality […] [then] an image emerges […] of mostly a male figure […] [D]escriptions of specific male attributes and bodily details are not necessarily in the foreground […]. Nevertheless, among the texts we examined there is not a single literary attempt to problematize or deny the visual constraint of imagining [God] as man. At a minimum, we must state: the image of God in this regard is lopsided.18

Haddox’ remark about the unmarked nature of masculinity echoes earlier observations by Stephen Moore in the introduction to New Testament Masculinities. “What does masculinity have to do with biblical studies?” he asks. “Almost nothing – and nearly everything […]. Masculinity is, at once, everywhere and nowhere”.19 For masculinity to be everywhere and nowhere, while remaining an unmarked experience – just as God’s sex remains ‘unmarked’ in Exodus 33 – makes it difficult to bring into speech the very phenomenon we try to analyze. Similar to the veiling of God’s sex and gender in Exodus, there is an epistemological veiling of men as consciously gendered beings in our readings of religious traditions. To be more precise, there is a veiling of the marked nature of hegemonic, mostly heterosexual malegendered experiences. We are everywhere and yet nowhere. We hide behind an omnipresent visibility – a visibility taken for granted to such a degree by society and scholarship that it becomes virtually invisible. Philip Culbertson incisively observes that “patriarchy is built upon the assumption that a male body is a text which will reject all attempts by other men to read it. To accept such an attempt would be to destroy the basis of power and control”.20 Culbertson, himself a gay biblical studies scholar, actu‐ ally has the heterosexual normative body in mind. It is the normative male body that averts being gazed at and studied as a problematic body. The heterosexual male body does not so much “reveal” as it “re-veils”,21 according to Samuel Tongue’s book-length interpretation of Jacob wrestling with the Angel. Re-veiling instead of revealing! Just as Moses was not able to see and read the face of God or, put differently, the ‘front side’ of God’s body, men in hegemonic positions are unable and often unwilling to see and read their own bodies. In both cases, to see or read the male body is perceived as a loss of power. Hence, the epistemological conundrum we are faced with is how we can read critically that which is omnipresent yet invisible. How can 18 19 20 21

Markschies 2016, 425. Moore 2003, 1. Culbertson 2009, 117. Tongue 2014.

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we attempt to critically read the male body and to fix our gaze on men as gendered beings when such attempts are not only resisted but also caught in a house of mirrors? In this house of mirrors, images of masculinities are reflected everywhere, but as soon as we try to get hold of them they disinte‐ grate into distortions and fragmentation, then disassemble and vanish. Masculinity, Todd Reeser writes in in his introduction to Masculinities in Theory, is “unmarked”.22 Precisely because it is unmarked, we can call it with Roland Barthes “a significant absence”.23 Masculinity, as an unmarked expe‐ rience, is an absence that needs our attention, and that is true for all world religions that follow patriarchal traditions. I have, therefore, suggested speaking of a non-absence.24 The concept of non-absence refers to the obser‐ vation that male-gendered experiences are hegemonic and yet remain unmarked experiences. Although the male body and male agency are always in the text (and in theology, in religious habits, in devotional practices, and in sacred institutions), they are not present as a consciously gendered experi‐ ence. Non-absence signals that there is no awareness of that which is present but not consciously articulated. A non-absent male body, then, is man’s obliv‐ iousness toward his gendered body’s materiality; a non-absent male body is also man’s blindness toward a body’s textual transformation into law, social institutions, normative discourse, cultural customs, artistic expressions, and so forth.

2. A Brief History of ‘Critical Men’s Studies in Religion’ The subfield of ‘critical men’s studies in religion’ has tried to counter such omnipresent non-absence of hegemonic and mostly heteronormative masculinities. Although I have focused so far on examples from the field of biblical scholarship, biblical studies scholars were not the first to address issues of men and masculinities in religious studies. Although David Cline’s influential work on masculinities in the Hebrew Bible dates back to the mid-1990s,25 contributions from scholars in the history of hom*osexuality and gay theological studies preceded biblical scholarship on men by a good 15 years. Because I have written elsewhere about the developing field of ‘critical men’s studies in religion’,26 I will limit myself here to a brief summary. It is now safe to say that this field of scholarly inquiry is older than a gener‐ ational cohort of 25 years, that is, it has a history of about 35 plus years. An 22 23 24 25 26

Reeser 2010, 8/9. Barthes 1967, 77. See Krondorfer 2010, 74-99. Cline 1995. Krondorfer (ed.) 2009.

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early interest in men and religion by religious studies scholars is already discernible in the 1980s, though it took about ten more years before these scholars began to identify themselves as belonging to a group working on common themes. Realizing that their inquiries were sufficiently different from other approaches to the phenomenon of religion, there was a need for classification that would best encapsulate the thematically unifying nature of such endeavours across a range of applied methodologies. Two groups within the American Academy of Religion pushed the scholarly agenda of this field, namely the ‘Gay Men’s Issues in Religion’ group, founded in 1988, and the ‘Men’s Studies in Religion’ group, founded two years later. Whereas John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance, and hom*osexuality27 can be seen as an important key to launching the scholarly interest in the study of religion by, for and about gay men (and especially the interest in the history of hom*osexu‐ alities), it took the heterosexual community of male scholars of religion until the mid-1990s to gain a more visible profile. In the early stages, it was far from certain whether the scholarly interest in men and masculinities would eventually emerge as something distinct from other scholarship. Would the scattered individual research projects be able to stand on their own? Or would they be subsumed under particular disciplines (like New Testament Studies, Practical Theology, Jewish Studies, Buddhist Studies, Medieval Religious History, etc.)? Or would they be absorbed by already established cross-disciplinary research areas, such as women’s studies, gender studies, or queer studies? Defining the contours of critical men’s studies in religion as a distinct field has met with some difficulties. In a 2004 review of books on religion and masculinity, the reviewer Kathryn Lofton writes critically, and somewhat unfairly, that “scholarship in masculinity – like the broader studies of gender that fostered it – remains an ambiguous, ambitious, interdisciplinary, and immature field of intellectual endeavor”. She concluded: “Rather than a provocative interrogation of gendered discourse, masculinity studies have become just another way to talk about white men”.28 Whatever truth there might be in Lofton’s observation, the field of ‘critical men’s studies in religion’ has certainly moved forward with respect to levels of sophistication. Viewing religion as a genuine expression of human interac‐ tion, while cognizant of its complex interactions with language, culture, politics, etc., the field is now producing a steady stream of new works, using a variety of methodological approaches, and seeking alliances with feminist, queer, postcolonial, legal, cultural, ethnographic, and restorative justice

27 28

Boswell 1980. Lofton 2004.

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studies. It is also now recognized in norm-setting archives of knowledge, that is, in the form of entries in encyclopaedias and handbooks.29 For years I have advocated, and am still advocating, for calling our inquiries a ‘critical’ study of men and masculinities in religious traditions and cultures. By calling it ‘critical’, we emphasize that bringing gender consciousness to the analysis and interpretation of men in relation to all aspects of religion is indispensable; otherwise, we might remain in danger of slipping back into a long tradition of reiterations of male dominance within the sphere of religion. In other words, ‘critical men’s studies in religion’ exhibits not only a reflective and empathetic stance toward men as individual and communal beings trying to make sense of their lives within the different demands put upon them by society and reli‐ gion, but it must also engage these issues with critical sensitivity and scholarly disci‐ pline in the context of gender-unjust systems. Such systems – like patriarchy, androcentrism, the oppression of women, heterosexism, masculinist God-language, hom*ophobia, xenophobia, religious discrimination, colonization, or enslavement – can operate in subtle and overt ways, and they benefit certain men in certain histor‐ ical and political circ*mstances. These systems need to be kept in mind when working in this area.30

3. On Male Imaginations and Gender Justice In the beginnings of a more deliberate study of men and masculinities in reli‐ gion, the scholarly imagination of what constitutes masculinity was quite limited. With the help of psychological models, authors constructed male typologies and archetypes that either confirmed or contradicted normative male behaviour.31 Such approaches were seeking a greater variety of accept‐ able male roles and behaviours by reinterpreting figures like Moses, Samuel, David, Joseph, John the Baptist, Jesus or Paul, but overall they did not chal‐ lenge what today we would call ‘hegemonic masculinities’. Rather, they maintained and reaffirmed benign-paternalistic male models. An even more conservative approach was to seek gender equality through models of gender complementarity, a stance that by and large still character‐ izes the official Catholic position on men and women. Theories (and theolo‐ gies) of gender-complementarity locate themselves in anthropological understandings of the different natures of men and women, which in turn

29 30 31

See, for example, Krondorfer 2015; Ib. 2016; Krondorfer/Culbertson 2004; Culbertson 2007; Ganzevoort/Sremac 2016. Krondorfer 2009, xvii. See, for example, Anderson 1990; Arnold 1991; Culbertson 1992; Judy 1992; Moore/ Gillette 1990; for a short analytical overview, see Krondorfer (ed.) 1996, 12-15; for Islam, see De Sondy 2011.

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justify differentiations of men and women’s participation in the spheres of sacred authority and secular power. Such social differentiation, so the argu‐ ment goes, does not diminish the value of women, it just assigns her a different space (or as my current neighbour in Flagstaff, the assistant rabbi of the local Chabad [Lubavitch] movement, would say, “We don’t discriminate against women, we put them on a pedestal”). In Christianity, a favourite passage called upon in the context of arguing for gender equality within gender complementarity is Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. There, the Apostle sets down some rules for the early Christian communities: “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does”.32 We find similar debates about gender justice among contemporary inter‐ preters of the Qur’an. Surah 2:228 almost mirrors Paul’s admonition: “The rights of the wives (with regard to their husbands) are equal to the (husband’s) rights with regard to them”. This verse is often cited by modernist Qur’an interpreters to support a position of Islam’s gender equality.33 Other such Qur’anic verses include Surah 4:124, “And whoever does good deeds, whether male or female, and is a believer, will enter Paradise”. Or we can cite the regulations on fasting in Surah 2:187, in which men and women are permitted to have sexual relations during the nights of Ramadhan. “They (wives) are garment for you and you are garment for them”. Yet, as Kecia Ali incisively observes in Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith and Jurisprudence34, male agency is never questioned in these passages. In Surah 2:187, Ali writes, “women are spoken about and men are spoken to in a way that presumes male control”.35 Supposed equality in gender-complementary systems is always burdened by a difference that favours male agency, male control, and male power. If we return to Christianity and take a look at Augustine’s writings three hundered years after Paul, we can read the following about the creation of men and women in his Confessions: In mental power, woman has an equal capacity of rational intelligence, but by the sex of her body she is submissive to the masculine sex. This is analogous to the way in which the impulse for action is subordinate to the rational mind’s prudent concern that the act is right. So we see that each particular point and the whole taken all together are very good.36

32 33 34 35 36

1 Cor 7,3-4. See, for example, Engineer 2001. Ali 2016. Ibid., 128. Saint Augustine 1992 (orig. between 354-430), 302.

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The current field of ‘critical men’s studies of religion’ would, of course, neither return to a positivist affirmation of male role models derived from sacred Scriptures nor defend religious models of gender complementarity. Rather, masculinities are now understood within a framework of “fluid, obsti‐ nate, and unfamiliar gender conceptions”.37 In such a framework, masculini‐ ties are seen as constructed, varied, and unstable wherein different hegemonic ideals of masculinities compete and wherein “priapic masculinity” rules, that is, where men assert their masculinity by also dominating other men.38 Gay studies had already discovered religion and theology in the mid-1970s, quite a number of years before biblical studies constructed masculinities along conventional lines of individual male heroes and anti-heroes. Gay scholars embraced theology and religion as potential sites of spiritual resilience and renewal. In Queering Christ,39 Robert Goss observes that early gay theologies were largely defensive and apologetic.40 It was not until the 1980s and 1990s that they began to employ a liberationist and affirmative theological paradigm.41 In the mid-1990s, gay theology expanded into a more differentiated field with a variety of methodological and comparative approaches, including of what could be called essays on ‘theo-eroticism’.42 Currently, as gay theology has found its voice and agency, it discusses the stability and fluidity of its boundaries in conversation with feminism, LGBT, and queer studies.43 Furthermore, it has taken a self-critical stance on earlier writings that essentialized gay identity and idealized modes of ‘hom*onorma‐ tivity’. Investigating masculinities in religious contexts relies today on theoretical frameworks provided by R.W. Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculini‐ ties;44 Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of habitus as a central mechanism for male domination;45 Judith Butler’s concept of gender performativity;46 Michel Foucault’s analysis of discursive regiments, especially with regard to power and sexuality (all three volumes of his The History of Sexuality);47 and also George Mosse’s work on the simultaneous rise of masculinity and modern nationalism.48 It also employs post-colonialism studies when investigating the

37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Walz/Plüss (eds) 2008, 16. Williams 1999. Goss 2002. Cf. McNeill 1976; Horner 1978. Cf. Clark 1989; McNeill 1988; Goss 1993; Comstock 1993. Cf. Boisvert 2004. Cf. Goss/West (eds) 2000; Comstock/Henking (eds) 1997. Connell 1995. Bourdieu 1990. Butler 1990. Foucault 1984. Mosse 1996.

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colonial and colonized male subject. What these and other theoretical approaches have in common is that they problematize gender categories, and especially gendered categories pertaining to men and masculinities, in order to grasp the phenomenon of ‘masculinities’ without re-inscribing new norma‐ tive models and ideals. But I am not so sure that we always succeed, for I often feel we are engaged in a continuous process of ‘re-veiling’ the subject that we are trying to understand. Philip Culbertson might be right when he said that as soon as we fix our gaze on men, our subject refuses to be looked at. Or, to use another metaphor, we manage to see the ‘hinder parts’ of what is omnipresent while the front side remains invisible to us. These somewhat sceptical remarks do not, however, prevent people like me and many others from pursuing our interests and curiosity in this area. It is very exciting to be part of this developing field. Whenever I come across fresh research angles in new publications, I am – despite the epistemological conundrum I sketched above – astounded by what we can discover, learn, and bring into articulation. What I find particularly worthy of exploration is the investigation of masculinities in a comparative framework of religious studies, and I am deeply indebted to my colleagues who work in religious contexts I know little about, including those present in this volume. Let me return now to the male body and, by doing so, push a little further into our comfort zones.

4. Testicular Logic and Sexualized Violence In his 1946 book, That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis remarks about the Divine that “what is above and beyond all things is so masculine that we are all feminine in relation to it”.49 Although his observation does not hold equal value across different religious traditions, it does point to a peculiar dynamic in the monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with regard to masculinities. If God’s own gender is, by and large, imagined as male, then the devotional relation of faithful men to a male divinity leads to intricate negotiations in terms of gendered language, identifications, and metaphors. If men of faith are in a subordinate and submissive position in relation to a male God, how are they to worship him and yet maintain agency and control as men in this world? Do hom*osocial bonds and male-only communities offer men possibilities to protect themselves against the gaze of women as they submit to a powerful male deity? By metaphorically becoming ‘female’, does this avert or encourage hom*oerotic relations? Must male submissiveness toward a male-imagined God be inscribed into the male body through a phys‐

49

Lewis 1946, 316.

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ical and metaphoric wounding? I like to address this last issue of wounding at the closing of this chapter. We know, for example, that the Jewish brit milah (circumcision) is inter‐ preted by the talmudic sages and rabbis not so much as giving circumcized men exclusive access to God, but rather as a remedy for a fundamental flaw in the nature of men. Nachman Wilhelm, for example, writes that “circumci‐ sion was designed to repair nature” because “man is not born intact and still requires fixing of body and soul”.50 Contrary to what others may claim or believe about men, according to the rabbinic understanding of circumcision, men are not perfect but deeply flawed, which is why Torah-learning takes life-long and immense efforts. The cutting and wounding of the body part that most defines men’s biological difference – and also defines how men assert themselves socially (virility, progeny) as well as symbolically (honour, phallic power) – is interpreted by a number of orthodox rabbis as a repair of a natural flaw. Scholars outside the tradition loyal to the Torah-Talmud, however, have ventured further afield, suggesting that men’s relation to a male God requires physical wounding to signify submission. Howard Eilberg-Schwartz, for example, lists a number of biblical examples of wounds inflicted in the genital area. “The blood of circumcision”, he writes, “is a symbolic acknowl‐ edgment that a man’s masculinity belongs to God. Submitting to God and surrendering one’s masculinity amounts to the same thing”.51 Lest we one-sidedly single out the Jewish rite of circumcision (brit), the blood of the martyrs in early Christianity may just signal a similar case. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”, Tertullian famously wrote in his Apology (197 CE). Perhaps we can even mention here the Shia ritual of Ashura, where men cut themselves with knives, chains, and swords as an expression of remorse and mourning for not having been present to save Hussein at the battle of Karbalah. In his analysis of Jacob wrestling with the angel at the Jabbok River, Samuel Tongue interprets the wounding of Jacob’s yarekh as a genital assault. Conventionally translated as ‘hip’, the Hebrew yarekh can also be translated as ‘thigh’, ‘hip joint’, or ‘genitals’ – which has led Roland Boer to speak of a “testicular logic” of biblical Hebrew.52 Male “bodies are wounded and altered in the name of God”, Tongue summarily writes, “and these wounds can ‘unman’; patriarchal power is consistently wounded by the divine male”.53 There is, of course, a point I want to make by engaging with these biblical details. I want to return to the epistemological conundrum of bringing into language the non-absence of the male body and male agency. A wounding of 50 51 52 53

Quoted in Bilu 2003, 179; see also Cohen 2005. Eilberg-Schwartz 1994, 160. Boer 2011. Tongue 2014, 259.

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the male body, it seems, might be the clearest marker that brings into physical presence elusive masculinities. And yet, it gets elided through a re-veiling in religious discourse and, I might add, in modern obliviousness. It might be easy to dismiss the genital wounding of Jacob as a hyped-up interpretation of postmodern biblical scholars, just as it is easy to deflect attention from cases of sexual assault on men in atrocity crimes today. In both cases, we avert our gaze from the front side of men, because it might complicate our under‐ standing of what makes men ‘masculine’. Samuel Tongue, in the biblical context of Jacob’s wounding, summarizes the situation well. He writes, the “troubling scene of male performance” at Jabbok “involves recognizing that the symbolic marks on male bodies are written and perceived in ways that often elide the troubled fragmentation at the heart of many different perfor‐ mances of masculinity”.54 When Tongue talks about eliding the “troubled fragmentation” at the heart of “performances of masculinity”, he is pointing to a similar problem that I am concerned about: it is difficult to see ourselves other than through troubled fragmentations. The Dutch theologian Ruard Ganzevoort and Serbian religious studies scholar Srdjan Sremac recently published a piece on Masculinity, Spirituality, and Male Wartime Sexual Trauma,55 in which they address the stigmatization and silence around the sexually violated, heterosexual male body in war. Because there is silence does not mean, however, that these assaults do not happen. “This stigma”, Ganzevoort and Sremac write, “serves to keep the trauma hidden and reduce the chances of intervictim solidarity because every victim survives in shame”.56 From beatings of the testicl*s to forced fellati*, from anal raping by inserting objects to forcing prisoners to mutilate each other sexually, the range of savage creativity in violating other men knows no bounds. I will cite verbatim only one episode reported from the Omarska Detention Camp in the Bosnian war. The testimony is taken from the trial transcripts of the International Criminal Tribunal of former Yugoslavia. [One day they brought in] two brothers. They were singled out by Zena for torture. He beat them and then they had to slap each other’s face, for instance, and if the slaps were not strong enough, then he would show them how it’s really done. One day they had to suck each other’s penis.57

Any such descriptions are hard to stomach. Genital humiliation and genital mutilation of the male body are often subject to multiple layers of silencing. The victims themselves, if they survive, do not dare speaking about it out of shame and stigmatization, and because these assaults threaten the core of their 54 55 56 57

Ibid. Ganzevoort/Sremac 2016. Ibid., 340. Cited in ibid., 341.

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male identities. Ganzevoort and Sremac actually mention that most testi‐ monies about male victims of sexualized violence come from secondary witnesses, and not from the men affected themselves, an observation also echoed from other atrocities zones such as Darfur.58 Another level of silence refers to the general silencing of sexualized violence during war and ethnoreligious conflicts. It was only after the wars and genocides in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda that the wartime rape of women was finally recog‐ nized legally as a war crime. There is yet a third level of silencing that has to do with the public, academic and human rights discourse about sexual violence which, for good reasons, focuses mostly on women but, in the process, averts the eyes from the sexual assault on male bodies. Such combined silencing – by public discourse and by the boys and men them‐ selves who were sexually assaulted – reinforces the “troubled fragmentation”, as Samuel Tongue put it, of performances of masculinities.

5. Outlook I ended my chapter on the sobering and heart-wrenching story of two brothers being forced to slap each other and then suck each other’s penises because thinking critically about masculinities is, for me, not merely an academic luxury but an endeavour with real life consequences. Religious studies, across the world religions, need to be part of this conversation. Perhaps the difficulty of talking about masculinities is, in the end, not so different from talking about religion. In both cases, we need to repeatedly talk, think, read and remember in order to grasp an elusive phenomenon, and then re-talk, re-think, re-read and remember again. I will conclude with a quote by queer theologian Gerald Loughlin, taken from his entry on ‘The Body’ in The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture. He writes: “This, indeed, is the field of religion, in which believers are bound (religare) over to the reading, again and again (relegere), of the texts by which they are both bound and set free”:59 And I may add these words: as men, we are bound to reading our bodies as text, again and again, by which we are both bound and set free.

58 59

Cf. Ferrales et al. 2016. Loughlin 2006, 381.

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Acknowledgements This volume publishes the contributions to the conference God’s Own Gender? Religions and their Concepts of Masculinity, which took place at the University of Münster, Germany, in November 2016 and was organized collaboratively by the Center for Religion and Modernity, the Cluster of Excellence ‘Religion and Politics’ and the Centre for Islamic Theology. The international and interdisciplinary conference was also the culmination of research carried out by a Junior Research Group funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research between 2012 and 2016 on the subject of Religious Plurality as a Challenge for Religions and Societies (‘Religiöse Pluralität als Herausforderung für Religionen und Gesellschaften’). The editors sincerely thank everybody who helped in publishing this book. First and foremost, we are grateful to all the presenters at the conference who have made their papers available in written form, as well as to all those authors who contributed after the conference. Furthermore, we would like to thank Perry Schmidt-Leukel and Thomas K. Gugler for their suggestions and the support they gave us before and during the conference, as well as Detlef Pollack, Astrid Reuter and Felix Krämer for their repeated feedback during the making of this book. Our thanks also go to Marianne Heimbach-Steins for her comments during the review process. The work of David West, Eduard Levin, Theo Riches and Jana Weiß in translating and correcting the text meant that the book could appear in English. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to them, as we do to Sarah Armbruster, Annika Keute and Vivien Wodara for the extensive work needed to prepare the texts for publica‐ tion. Last but not least, we would like to thank the editors of the series Reli‐ gion in der Gesellschaft for accepting this volume, as well as Ergon Publishing and Nomos Publishing, in particular Hans-Jürgen Dietrich and Holger Schumacher, for their close cooperation during the creation of the book. We are grateful to the Cluster of Excellence ‘Religion and Politics’ for the financial support in the publication of this volume. Daniel Gerster, Münster & Michael Krüggeler, Aruanã (Brazil), July 2018

Notes on Contributors Friederike Benthaus-Apel is Professor of Sociology at the Protestant Univer‐ sity of Applied Sciences Rheinland-Westfalen-Lippe in Bochum, Germany. Amanullah De Sondy is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam at University College Cork, Ireland, and currently Acting Head of the School of Asian Studies. Daniel Gerster holds a PhD in history and is a Research Associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) in the Center for Religion and Modernity at the University of Münster, Germany. Admiel Kosman is Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Literature in the School for Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam, Germany. Felix Krämer holds a PhD in history and is Research Associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) in the Institute of History at the University of Erfurt, Germany. Björn Krondorfer is Endowed Professor of Comparative Study of Religions and Director of the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University, USA. Michael Krüggeler holds a PhD in theology and is a former Research Asso‐ ciate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) in the Center for Religion and Moder‐ nity at the University of Münster, Germany. Miriam Kurz is a Doctoral Fellow at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Ruth Mazo Karras is Lecky Professor of History at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Matthias Morgenstern is Professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies at the University of Tübingen, Germany. John Powers is Research Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.

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Renate Syed holds a PhD in Asian studies and is a Senior Lecturer (Privat‐ dozentin), specialising in the fields of Indian philosophy and cultural history in Munich, Germany. Yvonne Maria Werner is Professor of History in the Department of History at Lund University, Sweden Serinity Young is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Institute for Classical, Middle Eastern, and Asian Languages and Cultures at Queens College, CUNY, and Research Associate in the Division of Anthropology at the Amer‐ ican Museum of Natural History in New York City, USA.

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