Discussions of gender variance abound in rabbinic literature, a corpus of canonical Jewish texts that originate in the first six centuries of the common era. This article reads the most central text on the androginos, a person who is described by the rabbis as having dual genitalia. Both English and Hebrew are languages that ostensibly require the assignment of male or female; I discuss the challenges of translating the androginos while not foreclosing the question of hir gender just as it is being raised by the rabbis. I argue that this ostensibly straightforward issue of translation actually raises broader issues about the intelligibility of the androginos within language and law. As the rabbis debate the status of the androginos within gendered rabbinic law, they lay out conflicting strategies for managing the androginos, including suggesting that gender variance is ultimately unassimilable under the law. In the process, they both establish the centrality of gender to rabbinic law and obliquely sketch out a category of the human in rabbinic law. Noting that this category of the human is accompanied by a discussion of violence to the androginos, I explore some of the costs of the category of the human and unintelligibility under the law for gender variant bodies.

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