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The outrageous tale of Mrs Potiphar. An Analysis of the Gender Bias of Modern Interpretations of Genesis 39 and a Proposal for an Intersectional Reading

Daniela Feichtinger

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 103 Kb

str. 9-20

preuzimanja: 1.685



Throughout modern research history, the story about Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39) has very often been labelled “seduction” or “temptation”. With both terms, Mrs. Potiphar is depicted as a dangerous and yet fascinating femme fatale. Both labels show a twofold gender bias: (1) Men cannot be victims of sexual violence and (2) Women cannot be sexual offenders. The aim of this paper is to
analyse and overcome this double bias. For this purpose, the story will first be interpreted from an explicitly patriarchal perspective using Pierre Bourdieu’s “La Domination Masculine” (1998) to disclose the otherwise unconscious assumptions of a large part of modern interpretations. Afterwards, the deconstruction of the aforementioned gender bias will follow, as well as a critical evaluation of feminist approaches to Genesis 39. In the concluding chapter, a new
reading will be proposed that focuses on Joseph as a victim of hierarchical, sexual and ethnical power relations.

Ključne riječi

Potiphar’s Wife, Joseph story, Pierre Bourdieu, Symbolic Power, Feminist Interpretation, Gender, Old Testament, Hermeneutics

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