Abstract

Abstract:

This article reassesses certain assumptions concerning the conception of gender as a rigid binary structure within Jewish tradition, through the analysis of the scriptural ban on cross-dressing (Deut. 22:5), and its development within past and contemporary Jewish legal discourse. It proposes that the prohibition on cross-dressing has traditionally been interpreted in two opposing manners—an essentialist approach and a functionalist approach. Both options, from the early rabbinic literature down to the contemporary responsa literature, were seen as halakhically valid. Thus, the standard contemporary theology affirming a rigid gender binary as the sole halakhic truth represents just one hermeneutic option. This halakhic “truth” has served as a political device wielded against Jewish religious feminism.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1565-5288
Print ISSN
0793-8934
Pages
pp. 46-68
Launched on MUSE
2021-07-19
Open Access
No
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