Journal Article

Textual Male Intimacy and the Religious Imagination: Men Giving Testimony to Themselves

Björn Krondorfer

in Literature and Theology

Volume 22, issue 3, pages 265-279
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frn025
Textual Male Intimacy and the Religious Imagination: Men Giving Testimony to Themselves

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This essay contributes to the field of critical men's studies in religion. It investigates how men negotiate intimacies in confessional writings, and how the religious imaginary is called upon to do so. In written confessions, male confessants open their innermost selves to the public gaze. As public testimony, these confessional writings seduce the reader to believe in the truth of what is revealed. But are these writing as revealing as they claim? I will sketch three exemplary issues more broadly relevant to a gender analysis of male (religious) texts. These three issues emerge from a close reading of Augustine's Confessions and of the lesser-known deathbed confession of a Jewish ghetto policeman, who perished during the Holocaust; they concern the following questions: first, do men in particular avail themselves of the opportunities that written confessions offer? Second, do male confessants affirm their subjectivity while simultaneously eluding moral agency? Third, do male narrators displace the intimate (female) ‘other’ in their confessional texts?

Journal Article.  6605 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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