Un-Straightening Boaz in Ruth Scholarship

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Brett Krutzsch1
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Scholarly interpretations of Boaz’s sexuality in the book of Ruth largely assume that Boaz experiences sexual desires for Ruth specifically and for women generally. This essay will highlight the heterosexual bias that has commonly framed scholarly interpretations of Boaz and that imposes heterosexual attraction into the text. This essay illustrates that Boaz’s sexuality, far from an obvious aspect of the text, is largely produced through interpretive imagination. Although some scholars have questioned Ruth’s sexuality and her relationship with Naomi, Boaz’s sexuality has largely remained under-analyzed, leaving in place the assumption that the text is clear about his desires for women.

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