Polyamory and Reading the Book of Ruth is based on a simple premise- what if the Book of Ruth isn’t a love story in the vein of modern rom coms, but a different sort of love story? Many people are conditioned to read romance stories as resolving into happily married, dyadic couplings, most often heterosexual. But what if that’s not how to read the Book of Ruth?
This book identifies a polyamorous hermeneutic and explores how it might be helpful in interpreting the Book of Ruth. Drawing on developments in both feminist and queer biblical studies, Deborah Kahn-Harris offers a close textual reading that focuses in on a triadic basis for examining the relationships in the Book of Ruth. The book closes with a contemporary ‘targumic’ reimagining of the Book of Ruth that defines more clearly this polyamorous reading.
Deborah Kahn-Harris is ordained rabbi and Principal, Leo Baeck College in London, United Kingdom, where she also lectures in Hebrew Bible.
Chapter One: The Setting
Chapter Two: Ruth 1: The Arrangement and Rearrangement of Families
Chapter Three: Who Is Naomi?
Chapter Four: Who Is Ruth?
Chapter Five: Ruth 2: Building Relationships
Chapter Six: חסד Hesed: An Excursus
Chapter Seven: Who Is Boaz?
Chapter Eight: Ruth 3: What is Romance Really?
Chapter Nine: Ruth 4: Dyadic or Triadic: What Does Happily Ever After Actually Look Like?
Chapter Ten: The Book of Ruth: A Targum with Annotations (2022): Another Way of Telling the Story
About the Author
Kahn-Harris goes boldly and forges a new path towards expanding inclusion and equity. This brave and original book explores the frontiers of polyamory - in the book of Ruth, in new Targumic reimagining, and in our challenging present, too, where now, as then, 'the course of true love never did run smooth'. For those receptive to letting the biblical text reveal its full range of possibilities, this book will open new horizons.
A fascinating rupture of the assumption of monogamous heteronormativity! Kahn-Harris paves the way for the possibility of polyamorous hermeneutics. Through her pacey and provocative analysis of polygamy, Kahn-Harris demonstrates how the biblical text provides ample insights on various configurations and possibilities lying outside of the heterosexual coupling dyad. Differentiating between patriarchal polygamy and polyamorous polygamy, the probing of the relationship between Ruth, Naomi and Boaz provides fresh readings of the Book of Ruth.