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Sex and Slaughter in the Tent of Jael
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About the Author

Colleen M. Conway is Professor of Religion at Seton Hall University.

Reviews

"Conway does much to demonstrate the cultural vitality of people s efforts to rework a biblical story over the last two thousand years, but perhaps the most significant contribution of Sex and Slaughter in the Tent is to alert us to a potential identity crisis in Biblical studies. Conway s hope is that her cultural history will slow the loss of memory that would provoke said identity crisis. Whether her hopes are well-placed remains to be seen, but in the course of telling her story, she uncovers a very wide range of fascinating sources that I, for one, look forward to engaging directly."--Reading Religion"A woman kills a man in a gruesome act that suggests a symbolic rape-the plot of a sensational crime novel? No! It's a biblical story! In this riveting and wide-ranging study of the story of Jael, Conway deftly and perceptively shows how this disturbing story has been interpreted and reinterpreted throughout the centuries to explore the subtleties of gender, violence, and ethnicity in changing cultural contexts. A fascinating journey into a much-contested text." --Carol A. Newsom, Editor of Women's Bible Commentary "A brilliant, erudite, and entertaining cultural history of Jael, the sometimes celebrated, sometimes sublimated biblical heroine and foreign femme-fatale who seduces a retreating general into her tent, nurses him to sleep, and nails his head to the ground with a tent peg. Conway treats the biblical material about Jael as a kind of 'fakebook' whose general features come to life in fascinating and disturbing ways within particular works of visual art and performance. In the process, she drives biblical studies beyond well-established patterns of biblical reception history, modeling deeper, more complex analyses of the ways biblical media both incarnate and sublimate cultural negotiations of gender, sexuality, and national identity. A gift to scholars and students alike." --Timothy Beal, Florence Harkness Professor of Religion, Case Western Reserve University "Combining reception history with cultural criticism, Colleen Conway's cultural history of the encounter between Jael and Sisera as told over centuries in literature and art makes for fascinating and illuminating reading. The range of material examined compellingly illustrates how the biblical tale of violence perpetrated by a woman against a man functions in its myriad permutations as a site for addressing cultural attitudes and anxieties about sex, gender roles, violence and power. In demonstrating how the biblical story becomes a pretext for stories of gender relationships, Conway makes an important contribution not only to the growing body of scholarly literature on the reception of biblical books but to gender studies as well." --J. Cheryl Exum, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield "A woman kills a man in a gruesome act that suggests a symbolic rape-the plot of a sensational crime novel? No! It's a biblical story! In this riveting and wide-ranging study of the story of Jael, Conway deftly and perceptively shows how this disturbing story has been interpreted and reinterpreted throughout the centuries to explore the subtleties of gender, violence, and ethnicity in changing cultural contexts. A fascinating journey into a much-contested text." --Carol A. Newsom, Editor of Women's Bible Commentary "A brilliant, erudite, and entertaining cultural history of Jael, the sometimes celebrated, sometimes sublimated biblical heroine and foreign femme-fatale who seduces a retreating general into her tent, nurses him to sleep, and nails his head to the ground with a tent peg. Conway treats the biblical material about Jael as a kind of 'fakebook' whose general features come to life in fascinating and disturbing ways within particular works of visual art and performance. In the process, she drives biblical studies beyond well-established patterns of biblical reception history, modeling deeper, more complex analyses of the ways biblical media both incarnate and sublimate cultural negotiations of gender, sexuality, and national identity. A gift to scholars and students alike." --Timothy Beal, Florence Harkness Professor of Religion, Case Western Reserve University "Combining reception history with cultural criticism, Colleen Conway's cultural history of the encounter between Jael and Sisera as told over centuries in literature and art makes for fascinating and illuminating reading. The range of material examined compellingly illustrates how the biblical tale of violence perpetrated by a woman against a man functions in its myriad permutations as a site for addressing cultural attitudes and anxieties about sex, gender roles, violence and power. In demonstrating how the biblical story becomes a pretext for stories of gender relationships, Conway makes an important contribution not only to the growing body of scholarly literature on the reception of biblical books but to gender studies as well." --J. Cheryl Exum, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield

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