The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Women In Scholarship

One annoying feature of the SBL conferees is the prevalence of Women In Scholarship, as opposed to women doing scholarship.

It's boring to have to say this again, but I am not being "misogynist" or even getting political here. We all know women who do fine scholarship (Patricia Crone comes to mind); and here, women like Karen Bauer delivered on that promise. Even the women who identified as Jewish feminists who fear The Trump, like Shari Lowin, played their hand well.

But in addition to that, in our discussions we had participation from the audience, and it's the peanut-gallery which contributed the idiocy. One woman in hijab at the sura 4 panel "P20-130a" (November 20, 9:00 AM–11:30 AM) observed a "power dynamic" in the fact of a panel / audience division, and declared that an instance of "violence". Worse was the nasty woman at the Qur'an Seminar who brought up, in sura 83, the trope "tatfîf jinsi". I learn that she's written a whole paper on this. She seems to be citing Fatima Mernissi. Anyway this one repeatedly made asides to how the panel was all male (there actually was supposed to be a woman on it, but the woman didn't attend) and insinuated that the IQSA panel was being niggardly - just like God condemns in sura 83! - and, since against women, sexist.

Maybe tatfîf jinsi is a thing. I can find reference to this only in this one paper. Google is not yielding تطفیف جنسی, تطفیف جنس, تطفیف الجنس. I'm having even less luck with الجنص.

My complaint on her particular argument is this: sura 83 is not about feminism. It is about weights and measures, as seen in sura 17 and, before that, in Deuteronomy and Leviticus - as was noted by others in the audience. The Qur'an Seminar set out straightaway in its ground rules that its aim was exegesis, toward which they were to exclude even classical Muslim tafasir. Let alone twentieth or (more likely) twenty-first century eisegesis, applying modern standards to suras that had no inkling of them. Her comment broke the rules. So did her insults.

People like this bring nothing to the table; they only want to take from it. The whole notion of "tatfîf jinsi" is just one of many recently concocted sins, of which "sexism" itself is one, to justify one's taking one's "due" from others who did the actual work, on pain of being labeled as a criminal against this (again, newly-invented) statute. It is all nothing more or less than the crimes of "hoarding" which the Soviets leveled against the kulaks.

These "women in scholarship" are, fortunately, quite distinguishable from such women as do relevant work. It is time all people of all sexes doing scholarship point out where such parasitical ventures are taking place, and to resist against them.

posted by Zimri on 10:10 | link | 0 comments

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