By Jennifer Wright Knust
Early Christians used fees of adultery, incest, and lascivious habit to demonize their competitors, police insiders, face up to pagan rulers, and outline what it intended to be a Christian. Christians often claimed that they, and so they on my own have been sexually virtuous, evaluating themselves to these marked as outsiders, in particular non-believers and "heretics," who have been stated to be managed via lust and not able to rein of their carnal wants. actual or now not, those fees allowed Christians to provide themselves as diversified from and morally enhanced 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 by myself made self-mastery attainable. Rejection of Christ resulted in either immoral sexual habit and, finally, alienation and punishment from God. Knust considers how Christian writers participated in a protracted culture of rhetorical invective, a rhetoric that was once usually hired to shield prestige and distinction. Christians borrowed, deployed, and reconfigured classical rhetorical concepts, 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 ebook additionally unearths 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 complicated interrelationships among intercourse, gender, and sexuality in the classical, biblical, and early-Christian traditions.
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Extra resources for Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (Gender, Theory and Religion)
22 Rhetorical appeals to character were remarkably constant, including the terms and behaviors offered as examples of exemplary or reprehensible conduct; indeed, a rather fixed repertoire of virtues and vices said to reveal the good or bad man emerged. Perhaps the repetitive nature of moral categories was the result, in part, of the type of education students of rhetoric received. 23 COMMONPLACE VIRTUE AND VICE Standard topics of praise (epainos, laudatio) or blame (psogos, vituperatio) were outlined in Greek rhetorical handbooks (progymnasmata) and in Latin oratorical treatises.
Shall we assume that Catiline was a degenerate, Antony a reprobate, and Cleopatra a conniving seductress? 7 Accusations of corrupt morals were intended to delegitimize these claims. The period between the assassination of Caesar and the battle of Actium was marked by relentless denunciations of Octavian by Antony and Antony by Octavian. Both were accused of adultery, bribery, and luxury. 8 Allegations of moral turpitude made by rival Roman nobles against one another can be read as part of a long rhetorical tradition.
Still, a man could be accused of “slavish” extravagance were he to overindulge in such delights. Such a man had no selfcontrol; he could not be trusted since he was insatiable and immoderate. 108 During the imperial period, authors who identified as “Greek” and authors who identified as “Roman” both attributed the vice of extravagance to one another and to others they sought to distinguish from themselves—the Romans characterizing luxury and indolence as “Greek,” the Greeks suggesting that it was Rome and the Romans who wallow in lasciviousness and luxury.
Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (Gender, Theory and Religion) by Jennifer Wright Knust
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