Chair: Ada Rapoport-Albert
In his provocative Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man (1997), Daniel Boyarin argues that gender roles are not universal and traces the early Jewish ideal of the gentle, receptive male as the object of female desire in Diaspora society. Michael Gluzman, in The Zionist Body, focuses on Zionism's promise of an erotic revolution and the creation of a more vigorous and muscular type of man as symbol of the new 'normal' society.
In this session, Daniel Boyarin and Michael Gluzman, two of the world's leading writers on Judaism and sexuality, explored with AdaRapoport-Albert, the changing nature of the Jewish male over the centuries, and the impact on women of the new Jewish man.
The audience were indeed taken by this enthralling session. One member of the audience, an optician, had even, during the course of the evening, taken a fancy to Professor Boyarin's glasses. In what was for Daniel the highlight of his three-day visit to the UK, this lady asked him if she could borrow his glasses to have them replicated! He willingly agreed for an undisclosed figure and on the basis that someone led him back to his hotel.
Daniel Boyarin is Professor of Talmudic Studies, Near Eastern Studies and Comparative Religion at the University of California,Berkeley. His publications include Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (1993) and Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (2004).
Michael Gluzman is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature atTel Aviv University. He is the author of The Politics of Canonicity (2003).
Ada Rapoport-Albert is Reader in Jewish History and Head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London. Female Bodies, Male Souls was published later that year.