Throughout history, biblical texts and their receptions have been used in
the service of sexual politics. The aim of this article is to investigate how
such politics are manifest in two cases of popular reception of the book of
Ruth, children’s bibles and romances. How are the ambiguities of the biblical
text resolved? In what interests do relationships of power find new expression?
Four novels and 21 children’s bibles from the end of the nineteenth
century to the present are studied, with a focus on the threshing floor scene,
on characterization and on the narrator. To sort the material, the notion of
the ‘nomadic text’ is used as a heuristic tool. The uniformity of the receptions
constitute the most significant finding. Ruth and Boaz are to a large
extent transformed into examples of faith and virtue. Whereas children’s
bibles censor sexual activity, the romances privilege marital, heterosexual,
reproductive sex with a dominant man and a submissive woman. The flocks
have indeed not wandered very far.
Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014. Vol. 3, 175-219 p.