Studies in Bible and Feminist Criticism

By Tikva Frymer-Kensky | Go to book overview

27 / On Feminine God-Talk

1994

Passover is here as I write this, and we have been singing songs around the Passover table. Joyfully we raise our voices: Adir Hu, Barukh Hu, Gadol Hu, Dagul Hu. Hu. Hu. Hu. Hu. “He. He. He. He.” He is noble, He is blessed, He is great, He is outstanding. It is hard to miss the message, applied as it is with a sledgehammer: God is a He. As we say seven times at the end of Yom Kippur: YHVH, He is God, YHVH, He is God.

Every time we say a blessing in Hebrew, the message is underlined: barukh ata YHVH, “Be blessed, you-he YHVH.” Masculine verbal forms, masculine adjectives, masculine nouns unremittingly deliver the subliminal message: God is male. Even the nouns in the liturgy are masculine, in content as well as form: our father, our king, our mighty hero.

Alongside this liturgical message goes a theological one: God is not really male. God has no form, so He cannot be a male. Language is gendered, and that limits us, but God was never really male, and the He should be understood as generic or neutral. Religious leaders sometimes seem almost surprised that they should have to state this: since God is not human, how could anyone believe Him to be male. Like a secret message to the initiates recorded at 33⅓ r.p.m. on a 45 r.p.m. record, the theological message gets overwhelmed by the drumbeat of He's, Him s, King's and Father's. Evey child hears that God is male; only the religiously sophisticated learn more.

There is some truth in the theological message that God, not being human, is also not male. The God of the Bible is not sexually a male, not a phallic figure. There is no worship of male sexuality, potency, or Viriliy in the Bible. In stark contrast to the veneration of the phallus of male pagan deities, the penis of God is never mentioned. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that the God of biblical Israel is grammatically male: all the verbal forms, adjectives, and pronouns are masculine. God in the Bible is also sociologically male: the husband, the father, the king.

-393-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Studies in Bible and Feminist Criticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 436

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.