Thanks so much. Great questions. Just a few quick replies-
- The woman, like the man, is good — from Genesis 1 on. A ritual impurity in Jewish law isn’t evil. It’s being energetically dirty in proximity to the Temple. Everything gets dirty. There are cleaning procedures. David is absent from dinner in 1 Samuel 20:26, presumed to owe to a ritual impurity. It’s not bad, just needing a procedure to clean up. The problem with bodily fluids is probably death being present in menstrual blood and semen, as also with corpses. God, who is pure life, can’t be near death.
- I do understand the Shekinah to be the feminine of God. The regular biblical phrase “power and glory” is a reference to the divine as a male/female pair.
- The Bible, like most ancient religion, is a Tantric system, in that a sacred marriage (hieros gamos) of God-human, read as male-female, is being enacted. There’s a lot of surprising entries to this discussion even before getting to Kabbalah, cf. A Great Mystery: The Secret of the Jerusalem Temple.
- I’m understanding that for regular Judaism, the sacred androgyny stuff was misunderstood and disliked. Jacob Neuser has a book sort of about that, Androgynous Judaism: Masculine and Feminine in the Dual Torah. The key figures (Jacob, Moses, Ehud, Yael, etc.) were all feminine men and masculine women, but there was an effort not to see this. When Jesus comes along, there is deep Jewish dislike of him, in part because he’s shrugging off the traditional sex/gender system. He’s not a family man, not a man even in any cultural sense.
- Paul is horribly misread by Christian tradition. Laughably, grossly misread, and with evil intention. He goes around saying there’s no male or female, often casts himself as female, says love is everything, etc. His sense of the spiritual world is not understood by Christian tradition and begins to be illuminated only with the texts of the Qumran community (the Dead Sea Scrolls). These are people who believe that spirits underlie all human life, and they had a specialized vocabulary for interacting with that subtle realm. It’s beyond obvious, for example, that ‘adultery’ has no reference to sex, but is spirit-intercourse in some illicit way with unauthorized beings. The believing community is understood to be married to God.