• Bereaved Mothers and Masculine Queens: The Political Use of Maternal Grief in 1-2 Kings.

    Author(s):
    Cat Quine (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    Ancient Near East, Biblical Studies, Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Book of Kings, Women in the Bible, Queens in the Ancient Near East, Queer and gender studies
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/3jh0-z644
    Abstract:
    Recent research demonstrates that maternal grief functions paradigmatically to epitomize despair and sorrow in the Hebrew Bible. These literary uses of maternal grief reinforce the stereotype of womanhood, defined by devotion to children and anguish at their loss. In 1–2 Kings, narratives about unnamed bereaved mothers are used politically to create a contrast with named biblical queens who lose their sons but never grieve for them. Although 1–2 Kings names the queen mothers alongside the male rulers, these mothers have no agency or when they do, they act more like men than women. Neo-Assyrian inscriptions attest the masculinity of royal female power, and this article argues that conceptions of royal female power in Judah were similar. By contrasting the masculine queens with stereotyped “real men” and “real women,” traditional gender performances literarily overcome the institution of queenship. While the queens are polemicized, unnamed mothers emerge as the female heroes of Kings. Royal female power is demoted beneath reproductive ability and emotional responses to children, while the gender fluidity of royal power is circumscribed.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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