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Thanks to Roland Boer, who introduces me to this term: Uchronia (think u-topia, but in terms of time, not place: Merry Arthurian England, The Early Church, Solomonic Enlightenment, Primitive Communism, post-Revolution but pre-Terror, etc, etc…). Apparently, according to one fairly reliable source, “It was coined by Charles Renouvier as the title of his 1876 novel Uchronie (L’Utopie dans l’histoire). Esquisse historique apocryphe du développement de la civilisation européenne tel qu’il n’a pas été, tel qu’il aurait pu être.

“Uchronia” has great applicability in the study of the Hebrew Bible, and Dr Boer makes use of it in “Of Fine Wine, Incense and Spices: The Unstable Masculine Hegemony of the Books of Chronicles,” Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality 4.1 (2010): 19-31 (that is, in Australian-based Joseph Gelfer’s spectacularly successful journal).

Phallic TempleAt the (spatial) centre of Chronicles’ uchronic vision stands “the priapic temple” itself:

“It is a massive phallic tower, a high-rise temple for Solomon, like some angular cock raised to the heavens with its balls on the ground. Commentators on Chronicles are keen to cut down this phallus: the unanimous agreement is that 2 Chronicles 3.4a is—of course!—corrupt. It could not possibly mean a massive tower of 120 cubits. However, I suggest that this text is a telltale sign of the text’s masculine economy, for it is the image par excellence of the overwhelming if desperate effort to assert a male-only world.”

But flaccidity accompanies this “stiff” male hegemony. Have a read. It’s historical criticism at its finest. And read Anne Sexton, who also understood the limits of cock-temple power:

The Fury Of Cocks

There they are
drooping over the breakfast plates,
angel-like,
folding in their sad wing,
animal sad,
and only the night before
there they were
playing the banjo.
Once more the day’s light comes
with its immense sun,
its mother trucks,
its engines of amputation.
Whereas last night
the cock knew its way home,
as stiff as a hammer,
battering in with all
its awful power.
That theater.
Today it is tender,
a small bird,
as soft as a baby’s hand.
She is the house.
He is the steeple.
When they fuck they are God.
When they break away they are God.
When they snore they are God.
In the morning they butter the toast.
They don’t say much.
They are still God.
All the cocks of the world are God,
blooming, blooming, blooming
into the sweet blood of woman.

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