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God’s Phallus: The Refusal of Public Engagement

God’s Phallus: The Refusal of Public Engagement

Chapter:
(p.201) 9 God’s Phallus: The Refusal of Public Engagement
Source:
Who Owns Religion?
Author(s):
Laurie L. Patton
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226676036.003.0010

This chapter addresses the most unusual controversy in the group of case studies, that of Howard Schwartz. Schwartz wrote two mildly controversial works involving Freudian analysis, although neither of them engendered the level of controversy that Jeffrey Kripal's Freudian treatment of Ramakrishna did. The chapter talks about Schwartz's first work, The Savage in Judaism: An Anthropology of Israelite Religion and Ancient Judaism in 1990, which argues that Judaism shares many more elements of earlier Middle Eastern religions than most contemporary scholars are willing to admit. It also analyzes his second work, God's Phallus: And Other Problems for Men and Monotheism, where he claims there is a homoerotic element to Hebrew Bible writings. In Schwartz's view, God's male qualities create interpretive challenges for both ancient and contemporary Jews.

Keywords:   Howard Schwartz, Freudian analysis, Judaism, Middle Eastern religion, God, homoerotic

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