When I created Transfigurations, the movie, I envisioned groups using it as an aid to Bible study. In fact, with the help of S.R. Davis and Christine Bakke, we created a study guide. I’m thrilled to see how one church in the UK is showing the film a little at a time as part of a Lent discussion.
St. Bride’s: Open Table Lent course “Transfigurations – Transgressing Gender in the Bible” On Mondays during Lent (2nd March to 6th April 7:30 pm), we’ll watch and discuss the extraordinary work of Peterson Toscano who describes himself as a “Quirky Queer Quaker”. Over six weeks, we’ll reflect on Peterson’s dramatic retelling of biblical stories and reflect and share our own stories. There are no experts in the group, we’ll all be exploring together.
Peterson Toscano has shaken up Bible academics and received high praise for his ground-breaking, genre-bending, gender blending Bible scholarship. By unearthing the stories of gender-variant people in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, Toscano’s film deepens well-known (and lesser-known) Bible stories and presents an array of Bible characters with an array of genders.
Now Available on DVD and Streaming
This performance is now available on high-quality DVD. The DVD contains two versions–a performance lecture and a full theatrical version.
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Transfigurations accomplishes several fairly extraordinary things. It speaks into the fraught intersection of religion and LGBTQ issues, and, without pretending neutrality, welcomes audience members with widely divergent perspectives. It is accessible to people who have never cracked open a Bible, while offering meaningful insights to biblical scholars and other experts. It is intellectually rigorous but grounded in emotion, spirit, and body.
It is an absolute must-see for all… I haven’t had my brain opened up and refilled so gracefully in a long, long time. My heart loved it too.
As a Jewish Studies scholar, educator, and activist for TBLG inclusion in Jewish communities, it was a thrill to see confident transgender characters from the Hebrew scriptures given flesh via the performance activism of Peterson Toscano –and, more importantly, to recognize through his performance that those characters fulfilled social roles in Jewish communities as gender variant folk. Bring Transfigurations to your shul and create an opportunity to dialogue about present-day transgender people in Jewish communities.
Peterson Toscano's work combines astute readings of the Bible with great story-telling and comedy. He offers interpretations of the texts and insights that even experienced biblical scholars haven't seen before. When portrayed by Toscano, Bible stories and characters come to life with wit, sympathy, and humor.
Images from the filming of Transfigurations
Toscano brings a deep reverence for the Biblical text with him into his exploration of gender transgression. This play is mesmerizing and compels the viewer to see well known Bible stories in a brave new light.
As a biblical scholar I'm always a bit skeptical about dramatic interpretations of biblical texts, whether they will truly capture the complexity of the originals; however, Peterson's performances bring to light dimensions of the texts that many, even those of us who spend hours with the text on the page, fail to see. By bringing the stories and characters to life we're able to see the human-ness of the biblical narratives in all its gore and glory.
Peterson’s new DVD, “Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible” is perfect for a church or meeting wanting to have a bible study around different ways of reading the Bible, and I cannot recommend it enough.