What is the relation of the family to larger structures of community and of state? Do kinship bonds provide a model for those of community or must they be superseded in the interest of a more enlightened state? To what degree do contemporary aspirations for gender equality entail a radical renovation of our understanding of the family? We consider these questions through a close reading of ancient texts, from the Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions, which we read in conjunction with some contemporary thinkers on kinship and the state. Primary readings include: Aeschylus Oresteia , Homeric Hymn to Demeter , Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus and Antigone , Euripides Ion , Plato Republic , Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae , Longus Daphnis and Chloe , Genesis and Exodus, Paul Romans and Galatians , Martyrdom of Perpetua , Kushner Angels in America, Nelson The Argonauts; theoretical texts include: Freud Totem and Taboo and Moses and Monotheism , and selections from Engels, Lévi-Strauss, G. Rubin, P. Clastres, A. Rich, and J. Butler.