The Mythology of Transgression: Homosexuality as Metaphor

By Jamake Highwater | Go to book overview

4

Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Genesis

The arrogance of sex is the punishment and consequence of the arrogance of man. The sexual parts of his body were the first to rise up in disobedience to God.

Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality

What is this knowledge of good and evil that got Adam and Eve into so much trouble?

At the center of the Western vision of the cosmos is a silent teleology. The conviction that design lies hidden behind the dense veil of creation is usually called divine law, because it assumes that the basis of the cosmos is one of intelligently directed purpose. It is on the basis of this cosmological law that Western culture devised its rules of conduct that are, presumably, reflections of divine authority. Thus the ten commandments are no less than the authentic word of God; while many other moral precepts are said to be based on revelations gleaned from religious scripture.

But why does homosexuality represent what Foucault calls the "arrogance of sex"--one of the most detested transgressions of divine law?

For many centuries such a question was not asked and could not be answered, because divine law was supposed to be inscrutable. Faith

-51-

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The Mythology of Transgression: Homosexuality as Metaphor
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Outside the Walls 1 3
  • 2 - Inside the Walls 23
  • 3 - Beyond the Walled City 31
  • 4 51
  • Transgression as Deformity 5 71
  • Transgression as Science 6 99
  • Transgression as Sensibility 7 149
  • Transgression as Culture 8 185
  • 9 - Transgression as Revelaton 221
  • Notes 239
  • Bibliography 241
  • Index 247
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