By Jennifer Wright Knust
Early Christians used fees of adultery, incest, and lascivious habit to demonize their rivals, police insiders, face up to pagan rulers, and outline what it intended to be a Christian. Christians often claimed that they, and so they by myself have been sexually virtuous, evaluating themselves to these marked as outsiders, in particular non-believers and "heretics," who have been acknowledged to be managed by way of lust and not able to rein of their carnal wishes. actual or no longer, those fees allowed Christians to give themselves as diversified from and morally more desirable to these round them. via cautious, cutting edge readings, Jennifer Knust explores the writings of Paul, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, and different early Christian authors who argued that Christ on my own made self-mastery attainable. Rejection of Christ ended in either immoral sexual habit and, finally, alienation and punishment from God. Knust considers how Christian writers participated in an extended culture of rhetorical invective, a rhetoric that was once frequently hired to guard prestige and distinction. Christians borrowed, deployed, and reconfigured classical rhetorical ideas, turning them opposed to their rulers to undercut their ethical and political authority. Knust additionally examines using accusations of licentiousness in conflicts among rival teams of Christians. Portraying rival sects as wicked allowed accusers to assert their very own team as consultant of "true Christianity." Knust's e-book additionally finds the ways that sexual slurs and their use in early Christian writings mirrored cultural and gendered assumptions approximately what constituted purity, morality, and fact. In doing so, deserted to Lust highlights the advanced interrelationships among intercourse, gender, and sexuality in the classical, biblical, and early-Christian traditions.
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Additional info for Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (Gender, Theory and Religion)
8),102 he treated freeborn, Roman matrons as if they were prostitutes (Calig 36), and he opened a brothel in his palace, which he apportioned lavishly (Calig. , was described along similar lines. According to Suetonius, Nero’s defects first became apparent when, at an early age, he played pranks on unsuspecting old men and women under the cover of darkness (Suet. Ner. 105 He soon graduated to long revels that lasted nearly all day, accompanied by prostitutes and dancing girls. Like Caligula, he recruited noble women to act like prostitutes and squandered his riches.
This chapter illustrates the importance of claims regarding virtue and vice to the discourse of the imperial period. Sexual slander, ancient and contemporary, is tied to power relations and to knowledge production. Assigning meaning to words, in this case words signaling virtue or vice, is a power-laden process, a site of conflict and contention within which the dynamics of power relations are negotiated. This was no less true for Greeks and Romans than for Christians. 17 They were trained in similar rhetorical techniques, informed by popular philosophical arguments, at least to some degree, and exposed to the same coins, inscriptions, legal pronouncements, building projects, and statuary as their neighbors.
They are wise, having given philosophy to the world. They are temperate (sophrosyne), even when dealing with the people they have conquered. They are courageous and never shrink from battle. The barbarians, however, cannot be said to possess a noble origin. Whatever their origin, they display a servile nature (douloprevpeia). 41 They are cowardly, faithless, and so on. Many of the standard categories appear. 42 In his speech De corona, Demosthenes defended his private life and his public transactions in response to charges made by his accuser, Aeschines (De cor.
Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (Gender, Theory and Religion) by Jennifer Wright Knust