Reclaiming the Sacred: The Bible in Gay and Lesbian Literature

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Raymond-Jean Frontain
Harrington Park Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 265 pages
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The second edition of Reclaiming the Sacred: The Bible in Gay and Lesbian Culture continues the groundbreaking work of the original, exploring the territory between gay/lesbian studies, literary criticism, and religious studies. This much-anticipated follow-up examines the appropriation and/or subversion of the authority of the Judeo-Christian Bible by gay and lesbian writers. The book highlights two prevalent trends in gay and lesbian literature—a transgressive approach that challenges the authority of the Bible when used as an instrument of oppression, and an appropriative technique that explores how the Bible contributes to defining gay and lesbian spirituality.

Reviewers of the first edition of Reclaiming the Sacred hailed the book's enterprise in exploring the area between literary criticism and religious studies. Whereas contemporary literary-critical theory has been slow to integrate religion and religious history into queer theory, this pioneering journal has addressed the issue from the start with a collection of thoughtful and though-provoking articles.

This latest edition expands coverage to include noncanonical ancient texts, popular Victorian religious texts, and contemporary theater. Academics and lay readers interested in literary criticism, cultural studies, and religious studies will gain new insights from topics such as:
  • religious mystery and homosexual identity in Terrence McNally's “Corpus Christi”
  • same-sex biblical couples in Victorian literature
  • homoerotic texts in the Apocrypha
  • sodomite rhetoric in a seventeenth-century Italian text
  • Radclyffe Hall's lesbian messiah in her 1928 novel The Well of Loneliness
  • homosexual temptation in John Milton's Paradise Regained
Reclaiming the Sacred counteracts the manipulative and oppressive uses to which modern writers and thinkers put the Bible and the “morality” it is presumed to inscribe. An important tool for understanding the role of the Bible in gay and lesbian culture, this remarkable book makes a powerful contribution to the advancement of studies on queer sanctity.

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