Corinne E. Blackmer. No Name Woman: Noah’s Wife and Heterosexual Incestuous Relations in Genesis 9:18–29

No Name Woman: Noah’s Wife and Heterosexual Incestuous Relations in Genesis 9:18–29

By Corinne E. Blackmer

(Southern Connecticut State University)

Source: Judaica Ukrainica 1 (2012): 29–46

Publication date: December 1, 2012

Publication type: article

Language: English

Full text: 



The terse story of Noah and Ham has puzzled scholars since antiquity. While most critics have argued that castration, homosexual paternal incest, or voyeurism explain why Noah pronounces the severe curse of permanent servitude on Ham’s son, Canaan, this article shows that the preponderance of evidence makes clear that Ham’s offense is heterosexual maternal incest. Ham has sex with his mother, Noah’s wife, after Noah loses consciousness from wine. Ham brags about what he has done to his brothers, because he has displaced his father, become the patriarch, and, ironically, fulfilled the injunction to “be fruitful and multiply”. Canaan is cursed because he is the product of this illicit union. Noah’s wife, who should have an individual name and identity that comports with her stature as the second mother of creation, is buried under indirect language of “the nakedness of the father” that at once disguises and draws attention to her unspeakable importance in this story.

Keywords: Noah, Incestuous Relations in Bible, Genesis, homosexuality in Bible, Biblical Studies, Hebrew Studies



Cassuto, Umberto. From Noah to Abraham, part 2 of A Commentary on the Book Genesis. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1974.

Cohen, Hirsch H. The Drunkenness of Noah. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1984.

Gowan, Donald E. From Eden to Babel: A Commentary on the Book of Genesis 1–11. Michigan: Eerdmans, 1988.

JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh: the traditional Hebrew text and the new JPS translation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1999.

Kass, Leon R. The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis. New York: Free Press, 2003.

Kitawada, Isaak M., and Quinn, Arthur. Before Abraham Was: The Unity of Genesis 1–11. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985.

Phillips, Anthon. “Uncovering the Father’s Skirt.” Vetus Testamentum 30 (1980): 38-43.

Rashkow, Ilona N. “Daddy Dearest and the ‘Invisible Spirit of Wine.’ ” In Genesis: The Feminist Companion to the Bible, edited by Athalya Brenner, 82–107. Sheffield Academic Press, 1998.

Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1981.

Westermann, Claus. Genesis 1–11: A Commentary. Translated by John J. S. Scullion. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1974.