Next was the infamous Zayd Affair from sura 33, vv. 28-37. A subtext of all this was David Powers' books on Zayd, especially "Muhammad is Not The Father of Any of Your Men".
Firestone brought up two paradigms on prophets' families from the Hebrew Bible. There's no restriction there; even nazirites, who take a number of special sacred oaths, are allowed wives and children. Moses, Samuel, and Isaiah all married. Jeremiah was commanded not to marry, but this was a narrative point. Hosea married a prostitute but that, too, was a narrative point - to the degree one might ask if it even happened. Jesus didn't marry (some mirth was had at Karen King
's expense). The Qur'an sides with the Jews here.
Reynolds brought up a textual dispute over v. 33, from the Tafsir of Suyuti. In our text it says waqarna fî buyûtikuma, stay in your houses. But maybe it's qarina. So then it's, be dignified in your houses. (I think.)
Another question is whether sura 33's commands about women are applicable to all Muslimat, or just to those in the Prophet's immediate household. The Shi'a use these rules to "prove" that Aisha was not a pure woman.
Someone brought up the Paret translation: don't be OVERLY QUIET with strange men, who may take it as coquettish. But if this is applied just to the Prophet's women, then that command would be a note that these women, as given special responsibilities, should be ordering the Muslims to the point of jihad. (I could see how Aisha's followers would approve of that reading. I mean, up to the point 'Ali's army proved their exegesis wrong by thrashing them.)
And who are the ahl al-bayt? To Paret (and Reynolds), the bayt is the Ka'ba so the ahl al-bayt are all the Muslims. Badawi - who'd been quiet up to now - introduced himself as "a member of the audience sitting up here" and wondered if the ahl al-bayt is out of place here.
Lowin (who should
have been sitting up there) noted that vv. 28-37 slides around topics, isn't a coherent whole, so she challenged the panel why did you carve this out as a pericope. Mehdi Azaiez confessed to this choice.
Someone else noted that v. 37, as a mention of a historical figure, "historicises" the sura as a product of the seventh century [CE].