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Lecture 4

RLG314 Lecture 4 Fall and Fault.docx

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Laury Silvers

- RLG314 Lecture 4 Fall and Fault - “Map is not Territory” - Feminist study: is this good or bad for women? - Who is saying what when? - Studying religion involves constructing worlds of meaning - Discover what people think is the truth - For our purposes here: The job of a myth is to construct a world of meaning in which people can dwell. It constructs a map of the situation in which people find themselves. Myths tell people how they got to where they are and why things are the way they are and it tells you where the world should be going, devising the best routes given its view onto the world. Myths tell people that nothing “just happens” - Review: on blackboard - How these myths construct a sense of naturalness to the position of women and the position of men - Remember where important people positioned in history - Explanations that construct and maintain a Natural Order - 94: Genesis Rabbah 17.8 asks the question, why do women walk ahead of the bier? The question addressing an already existing ruling or practice and looks for an explanation. - Reminds women that they are the ones who bring death, menstration: positive thing given negative spin - 204: in the alphabet of Ben Sira, who is Lilith and what might be the social fallout of one understands that she is the reason babies are afflicted with fatal diseases? - Lilith is the first wife of Adam, wouldn’t submit - Doesn’t want to be on the bottom when having sex - She is not obedient - Doesn’t want to reinstate social order - New subordinate woman is created - Babies die because women don’t submit - Women not submitting, she is like Lilith, death of baby blamed on the woman - Social fallout: grief becomes guilt - Tool of men to control women, makes situation more horrific - Explanations that construct and maintain a Natural Order (slide) - Although the plain meaning of the story in the Qur’an has Adam and Eve share the blame and take responsibility for it, the commentary tradition not so much: - Tabari’s collection (burying and citation, where he is situated in history) - He collects and sites everything - Kvam 189: - Presupposes women are foolish and bad tempered, assumptions men have about women and how they solidify it - Stowasser 32: - Adam not a God (hadith) - Angels bowing to Adam - It’s Not Eve’s Fault - Context in not assigning fault to Eve - How positives can also play out as negative qualities - Complementary natures of men!!!... how is this devalued? - 270: Luther seems to be saying it’s not really the woman’s fault. How is a woman’s nature characterized as a result? - Being let off the hook, but being let off the hook because she is helpless, stupid and weak - Try to make women seem equal, but old perceptions remain - Marginalized groups do not have distinct identities, see marginalized groups as unitary - 94: In Numbers Rabbah 10.2 and Deuteronomy Rabbah 9.8, Adam is responsible for the Fall. How do you image alternative readings play out in the literature over all? - What does it take to return to primordial humanity? - 122-123: In the Gospel of Philip, what is the cause of death? What kind of tone do you hear in the language? What does the reunion in the bridal chamber signify? - Androgynous as male - 123ff: In the story of Thecla, there is a great deal of sexual imagery in terms of power drawn through submission and self-con
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