queer, adj. Origin uncertain; perhaps < (or perhaps even cognate with) German quer transverse, oblique. . . .
—Oxford English Dictionary
A Glass Queerly is a blog about queer biblical hermeneutics. “Queer” has always been a funny word, beginning with a meaning of something like slantwise, shifting to a description of anything weird or strange, and ending up today describing those with a sex, sexuality, or gender that differs from what society claims as its norm. In keeping with this etymology, queer hermeneutics aims to be a way of interpreting scripture both that explores differences from the norm and that itself differs from the norm.
The word “queer” has in the past century been a word used to hurt lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, as well as others who deviate from a society’s strict expectations. In recent decades, however, the word has been reclaimed and resignified as a neutral or positive term of both self-identification and of active struggle against oppressive norms. The academic use of “queer”—which I employ here the most—is one of resistance and purposeful difference.
Queer hermeneutics—or interpretation, commentary, or criticism—uses insights from the larger discourses of biblical studies and queer theory to arrive at new and creative interpretations that challenge heteronormativity and any kind of gender or sexual stability. In my view, to queer a text is not to make it queer but to find it always already so. The text has never been other than queer, and interpretation can reveal its interesting instabilities.
This is a blog mainly about interpretation. I aim to comment on books I’m reading that deal with biblical interpretation and to discuss lectionary passages for particular days. Occasionally, I may not be able to resist commenting on church or (inter)national politics, so expect some of that too. Please join me in a queer journey.
The name of this blog refers, of course, to 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV): “For now we see through a glass, darkly.” Needless to say, the name indicates that I am using a queer lens to read the Bible. I credit my friend Eric Mayle with the idea.
Follow me on Twitter at @aglassqueerly for updates in between posts.