Monday, October 20, 2003

Kass Slammed

Leon Kass's book on Genesis got slammed yesterday in the NYTimes. That in itself is not a surprise. But it is curious that the author of the review cites Kass's interpretation of circumcision as evidence of Kass's defense of patriarchy. Is is because Kass's interpretation assumes that more has to be done to make men fathers than to make women mothers -- that child rearing comes more naturally to women? What would the author of the review make of the fact that the vast majority of "single-parent" households are composed of women and children?

There is also this curious sentence in the review: "Bringing a bias for patriarchy to what is itself a patriarchal book, Kass finds there what he already believes." Is the reviewer admitting here that Kass has grasped the teaching of the book? And if the reviewer agrees that Kass has interpreted correctly but that patriarchy is unjust, why does she persist in saying that she will continue to read the Bible or that there are other, more preferable, interpretations. Presumably, those other interpretations, however palatable, cannot be correct, based on her original opinion of Kass's understanding.


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