Carnal Knowledge

Wendy Doniger
October 1999
Photo of a rose in an oval frame circumscribed by a rectangular frame.

Wendy Doniger explores how the concepts of carnal knowledge and carnal ignorance—the result of sexual betrayal, infidelity, and lies about sexual identity—are expressed in the Hebrew Bible, ancient Sanskrit literature, Shakespeare, and contemporary Hollywood film. In particular, she investigates the tension between carnal knowledge and carnal ignorance as it is expressed in the mythology of the bedtrick (that is, sex with someone who pretends to be someone else).