Added: July 1, 2017 – Last updated: July 1, 2017


Author: Mieke Bal

Title: Lethal Love

Subtitle: Feminist Literary Readings of Biblical Love Stories

Place: Bloomington, IN

Publisher: Indiana University Press

Year: 1987

Pages: vii + 141pp.

Series: Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature

ISBN-10: 0253333237 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-10: 0253204348 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Cases: Offenders / David; Cases: Victims / Bathsheba; Representations: Biblical Texts / Books of Samuel


Link: EBSCOhost (Restricted Access)


Author: M.G. (Maria) Bal, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, Universiteit van Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam) – Author's Personal Website, Wikipedia


  Preface (p. vii)
  Introduction (p. 1)
    1. The Emergence of the Lethal Woman, or the Use of Hermeneutic Models (p. 10)
    Pregnancy and the Limits of Power (p. 10)
    The Use of Interpretation (p. 11)
    The Use of Form (p. 15)
    The Use of Frame-Theory (p. 17)
    The Use of Narratology (p. 20)
    The Use of the Text (p. 21)
    The Use of Symmetry (p. 23)
    The Use of Frames (p. 26)
    The Use of the Subject (p. 28)
    The Use of Competition (p. 35)
  2. Delilah Decomposed: Samson’s Talking Cure and the Thetoric of Subjectivity (p. 37)
    Reading Heroes (p. 37)
    Questions Asked and Problems Revealed (p. 38)
    The Emergence of the Hero (p. 41)
    Samson and Delilah (p. 49)
    Samson’s Death (p. 58)
    Who Is Samson? (p. 63)
    Samson, Patriarchy, and Social Reality (p. 65)
  3. Heroism and Proper Names, or the Fruits of Analogy (p. 68)
    Balancing the Tension (p. 68)
    Starting from a Detail (p. 69)
    Narrativization of the Proper Name (p. 73)
    In Search of the Subject (p. 77)
    In Search of Foundations, or the Subjects versus the Law (p. 79)
    The Unconscious Performing Speech Acts: Symptoms (p. 82)
    Reflecting Reflection (p. 87)
  4.One Woman, Many Men, and the Dialectic of Chronology (p. 89)
    The Limits of Higher Criticism (p. 89)
    On the Margins of Anachrony: Paralepsis, or the Deviation from the Straight Path (p. 91)
    Tamar from Father to Son, or On Subversion (p. 95)
    Juxtaposition, or Similarity behind Displacement (p. 96)
    Onan’s Offspring, or How to Conceive Safely (p. 99)
    Tamar’s Matchmaking: The Mirror Stage (p. 100)
  5. Sexuality, Sin, and Sorrow: The Emergence of the Female Character (p. 104)
    Characterizing Character (p. 104)
    The Emergence of a Myth: Collocation (p. 109)
    The Emergence of the Human Body: Unaccomplishment (p. 112)
    The Emergence of the Female Body: Sexual Difference (p. 114)
    The Emergence of Activity: Sin? (p. 119)
    The Emergence of Character: Sorrow (p. 125)
    The Effect of Naming (p. 129)
  Afterword (p. 131)
  References (p. 133)
  Index (p. 137)

Description: »Bal reads five familiar love stories from the Bible, including David and Bathsheba and Samson and Delilah, differently. In the past, readings of these stories have represented woman’s love as lethal, women as victimizers to be avoided lest one be killed by their love. Bal questions these interpretations and reveals a dominant patriarchal ideology of interpretation.« (Source: Indiana University Press)

Original: Bal, Mieke. Femmes imaginaires: L'Ancien Testament au risque d'une narratologie critique. Utrecht 1986. – Bibliographic Entry: Info


Bird, Laura J. Style 26(1) (Spring 1992): 146-149. – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Chow, Rey. »Sextual strategies.« Semiotica: Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique 75(3-4) (1989): 335-344. – Full Text: De Gruyter Online (Restricted Access)

Greenstein, Edward L. The Journal of Religion 69(3) (July 1989): 395-396. – Full Text: University of Chicago Press (Restricted Access)

Rashkow, Ilona N. Hebrew Studies 30 (1989): 100-106. – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: Bible: Old Testament / Books of Samuel | Crime and punishment in the Bible: Rape in the Hebrew Bible / Bathsheba, David