Monday, March 13, 2006

Gendered Language of Warfare

I finished The Gendered Language of Warfare in the Israelite-Assyrian Encounter on Friday (my books read on the side is hopelessly out of date...). It suffered from what I call "dissertationitis"—the same point is made about 10 times just to make sure everyone knows that the author knows their stuff. But, it was worth reading despite that. Her basic thesis is that by comparing the Neo-Assyrian warfare texts with the prophetic texts relating to warfare, we can see how they both used gendered terms to discredit the other side. In the Neo-Assyrian texts, the enemy is shown to be "feminine" and the king is portrayed as a "man's man." On the other hand, in the Hebrew texts, the enemy is also feminized, but it is YHWH who is shown to be the true man and Jerusalem is the bride/daughter of YHWH who spurns or whores with (depending on the time period) the enemy.

She has a tantalizing final chapter that examines the iconography of the Neo-Assyrians. I wish she had developed that further...maybe in an article or another book?

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