O Mother, Where Art Thou?: An Irigarayan Reading of the Book of Chronicles

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-08-19
  • Publisher: Routledge
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According to Kelso, the Book of Chronicles silences women in specific ways, most radically through their association with maternity. Drawing on the work of two feminist philosophers, Luce Irigaray and Michelle Boulous Walker, she argues that we may discern two principal strategies of silencing women in Chronicles: disavowal, and repression of the maternal body. In its simplest form, the silencing of women takes place through both an explicit and implicit strategy of excluding them from the central action. Largely banished from the central action, they are hardly able to contribute to the production of Israel's past. On a more complex level, however, women are most effectively silenced through their association with maternity, because the maternal body is both disavowed and repressed in Chronicles. The association of women with maternity, along with the disavowal and repression of the maternal body as origin of the masculine subject, effects and guarantees the silence of the feminine, enabling man to imagine himself as sole producer of his world. These strategies of silencing the feminine need to be understood in relation to the relative absence of women from the narrative world of Chronicles. Kelso argues that Chronicles depends on the absence and silence of women for its imaginary coherence. This argument is enabled by Irigarayan theory. More importantly, Kelso suggests that Irigaray also offers us a viable mode (not method) of reading, writing, listening, and speaking as woman (whatever that might mean), in relation to the so-called origins of western culture, specifically the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. She argues that Irigaray enables not only a rigorous, feminist critique of patriarchy and its many texts, but also, somewhat more charitably, a mode of reading that enables women to read the past differently, seeking out 'what remains to be discovered, especially the forgotten future in the past.'

Author Biography

Julie Kelso is an Honorary Research Advisor for the Centre for the Reseach on Women, Gender, Culture and Social Change in the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: A Question of Silencep. 1
"All Israel" and the "Inclusive Ideology of Identity" in Chroniclesp. 2
Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Hebrew Bible: "Introducting" Luce Irigarayp. 15
"The Monopoly of the Origin" and the Mute Foundation of Psychoanalysis: The Theoretical Interventions of Luce Irigarayp. 22
Introductionp. 22
The Specularization of Woman-Mother in Philosophyp. 27
The Lacanian Universep. 31
Psychoanalysis, the Economy of the Same, and the Monopoly of the Originp. 45
The Murder of the Mother and the Forgetting of Female Ancestriesp. 56
Conclusionp. 65
Remembering the Forgotten Mother: Engaging with Chronicles in an Irigarayan Modep. 68
Introduction: The Task of Analysisp. 68
Method or Mode? An "Era of Knowledge Already Over" or "the Era of the Spirit and the Bride?"p. 70
The Praticable as Nuptial Toolp. 76
The Embodied Geography of Analysisp. 80
The Rule of Free Association and the Mode of Listening Requiredp. 83
The Rule of Transferencep. 87
Reading Silencep. 94
Speaking Silence Poeticallyp. 102
Conclusion: Going into Analysis "as Woman" with the Book of Chroniclesp. 107
Our Production of a Past, in the Present of Analaysis: Engaging with the Book of Chroniclesp. 111
Who Begets Whom? Disavowing the Maternal Body: 1 Chronicles 1-9p. 115
According to You (I)... Shall We Begin at a Beginning?p. 115
Birth Pangs?p. 120
An Intriguing Inclusion on your Partp. 123
From Edom to Israel, a Sharp Turn?p. 124
A Smooth Production Linep. 126
The Cracks Are Starting to Showp. 129
Father to Son?p. 139
The Passive of Davidp. 143
Discontinuityp. 146
Summary Analysisp. 155
Grammatical and/or Syntactical Breakdownsp. 156
Contradictionsp. 158
A Breakdown of Realismp. 160
Conclusionp. 161
The Debt-Free Masculine Subject: The Repressed Maternal Body in 1 Chronicles 10-2 Chronicles 36p. 167
According to You (II)... Shall We Begin Again?p. 167
Ideal Israel Born of Manp. 168
A Body in Bits and Pieces: the Murder of the (M)other?p. 171
From Father to Son, a Blessed Machinep. 174
Double-Sexing Sacred Space: The Temple in Chroniclesp. 178
"Silencing" the Father?p. 183
Return of the Repressed: The Three Diseased Kings of Chroniclesp. 188
The Problematic Representation of the Motherp. 198
The Mother's Murderous Words (2 Chronicles 22:10)p. 199
"A Horrid Thing," a "Thing to Shudder at" (2 Chronicles 15:16)p. 202
Conclusionp. 206
Figuring Sexual Difference?p. 210
Conclusionp. 212
Notesp. 216
Bibliographyp. 235
Index of Referencesp. 242
Index of Authorsp. 246
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