Trans Talmud: Androgynes and Eunuchs in Rabbinic Literature
Presented by Max K. Strassfeld
Max K. Strassfeld’s new book Trans Talmud places eunuchs and androgynes at the center of rabbinic literature and asks what people can learn from them about Judaism and the project of transgender history today. Rather than treating these figures as anomalies to be justified or explained away, Strassfeld argues that they profoundly shaped ideas about law, as the rabbis constructed intricate taxonomies of gender across dozens of texts to understand an array of cultural tensions. Showing how rabbis employed eunuchs and androgynes to define “proper” forms of masculinity, Strassfeld emphasizes the unique potential of these figures not only to establish the boundary of law, but exceed and transform it. Strassfeld will challenge conventional understandings of gender in Judaism and explain how acknowledging nonbinary gender necessitates a reassessment of Jewish literature and law.
Max K. Strassfeld is an assistant professor in the department of religious studies and classics at the University of Arizona.
Co-Sponsored by: The Department of Jewish Studies, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, and the Jewish Community Library.