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"My Brother Esau Is a Hairy Man" Hair and Identity in Ancient Israel

ISBN-10: 019518114X
ISBN-13: 9780195181142
Edition: 2008
Authors: Susan Niditch
List price: $51.00
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Description: Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of scholarly interest in the relationship between culture and the body. One topic that has emerged is the role of hair in the presentation of the body. Hair plays an integral and intricate role in  More...

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Book details

List price: $51.00
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 4/18/2008
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 176
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of scholarly interest in the relationship between culture and the body. One topic that has emerged is the role of hair in the presentation of the body. Hair plays an integral and intricate role in the way human beings represent and identifythemselves. The way we treat our hair has to do with aesthetics, social structure, religious identity, and a host of other aspects of culture. In societies both modern and ancient, the hairdo is one of the keys to a group's cultural code. In the traditions of ancient Israel, hair relates toimportant aspects of identity concerning gender, ethnicity, and holiness. In this book, Susan Niditch seeks a deeper understanding of Israelite culture as expressed, shaped, and reinforced in images of hair - a complex symbol drawn from the body. Among the examples she considers is the tradition'smost famous long-haired hero, Samson. The hair that assures Samson's strength is a common folktale motif, but it also represents his ritual consecration as a Nazirite. Niditch examines the meaning of the Nazirite status - held by Samuel and Elisha as well as Samson - in detail, arguing that longhair is involved in a complex set of cultural assumptions about men, warrior status, and divine election. In addition to the biblical texts, Niditch looks at pictorial representations of hair and other material evidence. Her final chapter turns to the troubling passages in which men impose haircutting or loosening upon women which, she argues, reveal much about attitudes to women and the place of women in Israelite culture.

Introduction
Hair in the Material Culture and Art of the Ancient Near East
Samson: Maleness, Charisma, Warrior Status, and Hair
The Nazirite Vow: Domesticating Charisma and Recontextualizing Hair
Absent Hair
Letting Down Her Hair or Cutting It off: The Ritual Trial of a Woman Accused of Adultery and the Transformation of the Female "Other"
Conclusions
References
General Index
Biblical Index

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