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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the origins of critical masculinity studies of New Testament texts in poststructuralist gender theory, especially as this theory was carried into the study of masculinity in classical texts. It also points to the influence of sociological work on cultural masculinities, especially the idea of hegemonic and alternative masculinities. The idea of hegemonic masculinity provided a theoretical justification for bridging from classical texts, produced by elite men of Greece and Rome, to analysis of the relatively nonelite writings of the New Testament. In spite of the consistent comparative methodology for New Testament masculinity studies, conclusions from these studies vary because of theoretical differences around concepts of the body. Recent studies of masculinities in the New Testament show not only an ongoing interest in hegemonic forms of masculinity but also a turn to arguments for subversive and resistant masculinities. The chapter closes with a call for future work to be more thoroughgoing by including gender-critical analyses of the deity. It highlights calls for the work to be multidisciplinary and to do more to bring this critical work to the general public.

Keywords: body, gender theory, hegemonic masculinity, alternative masculinities, poststructuralist

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