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The Soul of the Stranger
Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective
Joy Ladin



HBI Series on Jewish Women

Brandeis
2018 • 208 pp. 6 x 9"
Literary Criticism - Religion / Sexuality & Gender Studies / Judaism - Sacred Writings

$29.95 Paperback, 978-1-5126-0293-7
$95.00 Hardcover, 978-1-5126-0066-7

$28.99 Ebook, 978-1-5126-0294-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.



“This heartfelt, difficult work will introduce Jews and other readers of the Torah to fresh, sensitive approaches with room for broader human dignity.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Evocative readings of the Torah through the lens of transgender experience, exploring the ways trans perspectives can enrich our understanding of religious texts, traditions, and God

Reading some of the best-known Torah stories through the lens of transgender experience, Joy Ladin explores fundamental questions about how religious texts, traditions, and the understanding of God can be enriched by transgender perspectives, and how the Torah and trans lives can illuminate one another. Drawing on her own experience and lifelong reading practice, Ladin shows how the Torah, a collection of ancient texts that assume human beings are either male or female, speaks both to practical transgender concerns, such as marginalization, and to the challenges of living without a body or social role that renders one intelligible to others—challenges that can help us understand a God who defies all human categories. These creative, evocative readings transform our understanding of the Torah’s portrayals of God, humanity, and relationships between them.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Defining transgender as having a sense of self that does not fit the traditional binary gender categories of male and female, she finds a connection with those in the Bible who abandoned or violated their assigned gender roles. But it is to God she always returns, concluding that to open ourselves to the deity, we must open ourselves to the stranger.”—Booklist

“An intellectual and spiritual journey illuminated by the audacity of faith in God. Ladin’s transcendent readings of scripture restore the luster of the revelation at Sinai. And her readers will find the work transformational to their own relationships to other humans and to God.”—Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary

“In this beautifully written book, Ladin uses transgender experience to shed light on the Torah and the Torah to shed light on transgender experience. In doing so, she offers readers many insights into what it means to be a stranger and to think of God as a stranger.”—Judith Plaskow, professor emerita of religious studies at Manhattan College

“Joy Ladin is our finest writer on transgender issues, and The Soul of the Stranger is her best book. In it, she examines her profound faith in an invisible but undeniably present god from a trans perspective, and finds wisdom, understanding, and love. A must-read for anyone who wishes to be touched by both the eternal divine as well as the humbly, miraculously human. Luminous, heartfelt, and brilliant.”—Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Long Black Veil



JOY LADIN holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University.



Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:08:32 -0500