Karin Hügel

Cover JESWTR 31 2023


Karin Hügel, "Queer Readings of Jewish Male Prostitution in Antiquity: Mishnah Horayot 3:7 and Two Different Rabbinic Traditions Based on Tosefta Horayot 2:5-6".

In antiquity, not only poor Jewish women and children but also poor Jewish men and boys could end up in hopeless situations of sexual exploitation by those in power. The Halakhah contains a reference to the handling of Jewish prostitutes. If a Jewish man and a Jewish woman were sold into a brothel, the man should be redeemed first according to Mishnah Horayot 3:7. Subsequent to this Mishnaic passage, a narrative in Tosefta Horayot 2:5-6 mentions an encounter between a rabbi and a Jerusalemite child with beautiful eyes and good looks, destined for prostitution. Interestingly enough, the rabbi was willing to redeem him and had to pay a huge amount of money to do so. This anecdote in Tosefta Horayot 2:5-6 has been further developed in later Jewish writings in various ways, whereby two different rabbinic traditions can be discerned. According to the Palestinian Talmud Horayot 3:7, 48b, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananyah encounters a figure that alludes both to the young biblical David in the First Book of Samuel 16:12 and the beloved in the Song of Songs. However, in the Babylonian Talmud Gittin 58a and in Lamentations Rabbah 4:4 on Lam. 4:2, this character is identified with Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha. Queer and feminist issues are discussed in connection with these rabbinic traditions.

  • Karin Hügel, "Queer Readings of Jewish Male Prostitution in Antiquity: Mishnah Horayot 3:7 and Two Different Rabbinic Traditions Based on Tosefta Horayot 2:5-6", in: Martina Bär/Anne-Claire Mulder/Agnethe Siquans/Mireia Vidal Quintero (eds.), Confronting Gender Polarity and Nationalism, Journal of the European Society of Women in Theological Research/Revista de la asociación europea de mujeres en la investigación teológica/Jahrbuch der Europäischen Gesellschaft für theologische Forschung von Frauen, Volume 31, Peeters, Leuven 2023, 115-136.
  • Journal of ESWTR 31/2023
    VI-157 pages
    ISBN: 9789042952058
    ISSN: 1783-2454
    eISSN: 1783-2446
    EUR 50,00

    Abstract in Peeters Online Journals
    Peeters Online Journals

    This article has been presented at the Annual Conference of the European Association of Biblical Studies on August 4, 2021 at the University of Wuppertal in Germany, at the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature on July 20, 2022 at the University of Salzburg in Austria, and at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Feminist Theologies, Religion and Sustainable Democracy in the Nordic Countries and Europe "Confronting Gender Polarity and Nationalism" on August 26, 2022 at the University of Regensburg in Germany.

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    Abstract: Queer Interpretations of the Commandments of Love in Leviticus

    Abstract: Jewish Legal Interpretations of Female Homoeroticism

    Abstract: Readings for Blessing Ceremonies of Same-Sex Couples Queerly Interpreted

    Abstract: King Davidʼs Exposure while Dancing: A Queer Reading of 2 Samuel 6

    Abstract: Queer Appropriations of David and Goliath: Artistic Self-portraits as Defeated Pederasts

    Abstract: A Queer Reading of Qohelet 4,9-12

    Abstract: Queer Readings of the Song of Songs

    Abstract: A Queer Reading of Joseph

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