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Williams Hyman, E. (2012). Hedging Against Heritage: Jewish Identity Reconsidered: Commentary on Bahar's “Coming Out as Queen”. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(3):179-184.

(2012). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(3):179-184

Hedging Against Heritage: Jewish Identity Reconsidered: Commentary on Bahar's “Coming Out as Queen”

Erin Williams Hyman, Ph.D.

Responding to Shirly Bahar's reading of the Book of Esther in “Coming Out as Queen: Jewish Identity, Queer Theory, and the Book of Esther” (this issue), this article counters that Esther's transformation is not one from hidden or closeted to “out” but one in which there is no preexisting Jewishness; her declaration is less a coming-out than a coming-to-be. Like the biblical Ruth, Esther provides a model of peoplehood that is voluntarily assumed rather than ancestral—a hedge against heritage as construed through the maternal line. The author then turns to more contemporary sources, including a reading of a short story by Nathan Englander, in order to question both an essentialist and a performative view of Jewish identity.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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