AbstractThe Bible presents an ambiguous view of fat and fatness. Following normative gendered constructions of corpulence in the ancient world, fat symbolises excess, moral weakness, lack of self-restraint and lavish living, but it also represents divine abundance and is symbolic of life and wellbeing. Indeed, fat criticism in the Bible is reliant upon positive associations of fatness and this encourages us to read both constructions of fatness alongside one another. While negative constructions of fatness in biblical texts lend support to the gendered violence of fat shaming evidencing the ongoing influence of ancient attitudes on contemporary anti-fat attitudes, embracing the ambiguity of biblical texts troubles the contemporary political tendency to polarise fat as either ‘bad’ or ‘good’ and allows for the productive dimensions of fat shame.
CitationBacon, H. (2024 - forthcoming). The Bible and the violence of fat shaming. In C. Greenough, M. D. Kebaneilwe, J. Jodamus & J. Stiebert (Eds.), The Bible and violence. T&T Clark.
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