New release! A transformative spiritual companion and deep dive into disability politics that reimagines disability in the Bible and contemporary culture.
“What’s wrong with you?”
Scholar, activist, and rabbi Julia Watts Belser is all too familiar with this question. What’s wrong isn’t her wheelchair, though—it’s exclusion, objectification, pity, and disdain.
Our attitudes about disability have such deep cultural roots that we almost forget their sources. But open the Bible and disability is everywhere. Moses believes his stutter renders him unable to answer God’s call. Jacob’s encounter with an angel leaves him changed not just spiritually but physically: he gains a limp. For centuries, these stories have been told and retold in ways that treat disability as a metaphor for spiritual incapacity or as a challenge to be overcome.
Through fresh and unexpected readings of the Bible, Loving Our Own Bones instead paints a luminous portrait of what it means to be disabled and one of God’s beloved. Belser delves deep into sacred literature, braiding the insights of disabled, feminist, Black, and queer thinkers with her own experiences as a queer disabled Jewish feminist. She talks back to biblical commentators who traffic in disability stigma and shame. What unfolds is a profound gift of disability wisdom, a radical act of spiritual imagination that can guide us all toward a powerful reckoning with each other and with our bodies.
Loving Our Own Bones invites readers to claim the power and promise of spiritual dissent, and to nourish their own souls through the revolutionary art of radical self-love.
By Julia Watts Belser. Hardcover. 288 pages. Published by Beacon Press, 2023.