Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Intersexuality And Scripture

Intersexuality And Scripture : What the Torah (Old Testameent) and traditional Talmudaic commentary actually say about Intersex conditions.
On the subject of Rabbinical traditions about intersexuality, Tractate Yevamot in the Babylonian Talmud (leaf 64a) contains a tradition to the effect that Abraham and Sarah were intersexed. It states: 'Abraham and Sarah were [each of them a] tumtum, as it is said: ``Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were digged'' (Isaiah 51:1) and it is written: ``Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you'' (Isaiah 51:2). Rabbi Nahman said in the name of Rabbah bar Abuha: Sarah our mother was an 'aylonith, as it is said: ``Now Sarai was barren; she had no child'' (Genesis 11:30) -- she did not even have a womb.' The terms ``tumtum'' and ``'aylonith'' are intersex categories. A ``tumtum'' is one physical sex is indeterminable because there are apparently no genitalia, although determinate natal sex can sometimes (but only sometimes) be revealed by means of the surgical removal of an occlusion. An ``'aylonith'' is a woman without a womb -- clearly someone who might suffer from complete androgen insensitivity syndrome.
I wish for once that Theologians would Theologe more thoroughly, and actually read the scriptures they use to oppress others... not just the Child's Condensed Version, but the one with all the footnotes and commentaries. Including the Hebrew, Aramaic and Koin(Greek) versions, not just the translations.


Zimbel said...

I've met a rabbi who appears to be able to theologically argue his way out of a paper bag. Mind you, he tends to lie to children when he's doing a service, but he still tries to broaden the understandings of the text and the main theological arguments about the text.

No ministers, pastors, or reverends, though.

I wonder if Christianity is too dependent on certain unusual beliefs about their texts. I can tell you that personally, my studying the bible was a major factor contributing to my changing to Atheism.

Sarah Wilson said...


You never cease to amaze me. Thanks for the post. Now I have another good reason to appreciate my chosen name. Sometimes things really are inspired in one way or another.


wreckage said...

Probably the example is use of overstatement for emphasis, but it IS interesting.

I have yet to have anyone quote to me a scripture that forbids being born intersexed, nor one where God promises not to inflict similar inconvenient genetic and developmental issues on humans as occur in animals, due to it making morality difficult and requiring people to think.

Mind you, he tends to lie to children when he's doing a service Well, everything I learnt in high school Science was a lie, depending on how you choose to differ between simplifications and deceptions. Usually by preference rather than a consistent rule, in my experience.

Battybattybats said...

How to get the message out to the religious communities though?

We need to know how information best propagates through religious media then use that to get this information out to as many as possible in the most effective way we can.