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xiii + 218 pp.

£32.50 / $42.50 / €37.50
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£65 / $85 / €75
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Performing Masculinity in the Hebrew Bible
Milena Kirova

In Performing Masculinity, the eminent Bulgarian literary critic Milena Kirova turns her attention to the Hebrew Bible, offering a reworking and condensation of two volumes of essays she published in Bulgarian in 2011 and 2017. Her chapters, each with an attractive and stimulating title, present a distinctive voice in current debates about masculinity in the Hebrew Bible.

Masculinity studies have been developing during the last half a century, but there is still some opposition, not always conscious, to the field. Studies in masculinity in the Bible have an even shorter history and have created as yet little by way of a tradition among biblical scholars: it is a field still under development.

Kirova has researched a rich variety of narrative situations, poetic characteristics, and symbolic functions of biblical men. Her research here is especially focused on the regal roles ascribed to masculinity in the ancient world.

Among the intriguing questions Kirova poses are these: Why should heroes be beautiful? What is the benefit of weeping, and weeping eloquently? Why problematize what is ‘natural’? Who is the ‘bramble king’? The ten chapters of Performing Masculinity are deliberately interdisciplinary: anthropology, psychoanalysis, literary and gender studies complement biblical criticism. A variety of audiences will find the book a pleasure and an education.

Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 91
978-1-910928-77-6 hardback
Publication October 2020

1. The Perfect Body: An Essay on the Inconceivable
2. ‘As an apple tree among the trees of the wood’: Beauty
and Perfection of Biblical Men
3. ‘I am a poor man and of no repute’: The Theme
of the Youngest Brother
4. ‘The Symbolic Wound’: Ideology and Practice
of Circumcision
5. ‘Real’ Shepherds and Pastoral Symbolism
in the Hebrew Bible
6. The Bramble King: Banditry and Kingship
in the Historical Books
7. When Real Men Cry: The Symbolism of Weeping
in the Torah and the Deuteronomistic History
8. The Body in Action: The Builder King
9. ‘Gray hair is a crown of glory’: Old Age and Masculinity
in the Hebrew Bible
10. Epilogue: Another Story—Another Man