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The subject and the other : construction of gender and identity in Genesis.

Matskevich, Karalina (2013) The subject and the other : construction of gender and identity in Genesis. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This study examines the construction of gendered and national identities in a selection of narratives in the book of Genesis. It distinguishes two processes of signification that run alongside each other, namely, the construction of the androcentric Subject that starts in the narrative of Genesis 2-3, and the emergence, in the stories of the patriarchs, of the ethnocentric Subject of Israel. In both cases, unified subjectivity is perceived in relation to and over against the Other, represented respectively as female and foreign identity. The study adopts a multidisciplinary approach, using the tools of semiotic analysis, narratology and psychoanalysis to uncover the presence and function of alterity, suppressed by the dominant discourse. The study highlights the contradiction inherent in the project of dominance, through which the Subject seeks to suppress the very difference it relies on for its signification. In the garden narrative (Genesis 2-3), this contradiction is reflected in Yahweh’s double-edged discourse and in the ambiguous role woman and the serpent play in leading hà ’àdâm out of the garden. In the larger narrative cycles of Genesis 12-36, the dichotomy of the Self and the Other unfolds on more than one level, revealing itself in the Subject’s conflicted attitude to Egypt as the seductive and threatening Other (the Abraham cycle) and to Haran as ‘mother’s land’, a complex metaphor of the feminine (the Jacob cycle). The study identifies two conflicting voices or ideologies interacting in the Genesis narrative, the institutional and the individual, and demonstrates how the unified institutional discourse of the patriarchal Subject is continuously challenged and changed by the individual perspective in the narrative, represented by women, foreigners, and younger siblings.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Bible studies, Book of Genesis
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Biblical Studies (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.632807
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 24 Dec 2019 09:52
Last Modified: 24 Dec 2019 09:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25668

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