Save

“If I Be Shaven, Then My Strength Will Go from Me”


A Queer Reading of the Samson Narrative


In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Marco Derks1
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

€29.95$34.95

Samson is well known for his long hair and exceptional strength. Most commentators, however, have overlooked the fact that it is Samson himself who constructs a connection between his hair and his strength. He had considered his hairstyle a sign of his hypermasculine identity instead of a demarcation of his Naziriteship. Reading the Samson narrative from a queer perspective, this article shows how Samson’s “heterosexuality” is produced, appears, and dissolves back into queerness. Samson’s hypermasculinity is a covering for his queer identity and results in his construction of several interrelated dualisms (Israel/Philistines, male/female, strong/weak, etc.) and in his excessive use of violence (physical, sexual, rhetorical, symbolic) against both women and men. When he meets a woman (Delilah) who doesn’t fit in his phallogocentric ideology, he reveals his secret through a non-genital erotic play (BDSM) with her and loses his strength when she symbolically castrates him by cutting his hair.


Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 365 115 5
Full Text Views 269 16 1
PDF Views & Downloads 137 52 2