On Spirit and Sperm
Eroticizing God, Sanctifying the Body
Confessiographies are, to a large extent, soul work. Rousseau's wish to make his “soul transparent to the reader's eye” (1953, 169) is echoed by the unlikely confessant Yitzhak Twersky: “Tat is my confession, the confession of my life, withered and faded before its time, the confession of my tortured, afflicted soul” (Assaf 2006, 31). The struggle of naming one's self into being is, however, always negotiated through the body The soul's work is read and inscribed into the body, mirrored in it, and practiced through performances of the flesh.
The male body has accompanied us throughout these pages, even when it did not take center stage. We encountered the private body in Leiris's “auburn hair” and “incipient baldness”; in Tom Driver's soft, white, and “useless flesh” of his thighs; and in Broughton's androgynous breast and “neglected backside.” We encountered confessional instances that mention intimate exchanges of bodily fluids, such as Augustine's sucking of his mother's milk, Rousseau's involuntary witness of the “whiThish and sticky” ejaculate of his molester, or Jung's fantasy of a defecating God. Whereas some of these male confessants theologized their embodiedness (Augustine, Driver), others insisted on the desacralized triviality of their bodies (Leiris, Rous-