Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity by Jennifer Wright Knust

By Jennifer Wright Knust

Early Christians used fees of adultery, incest, and lascivious habit to demonize their competitors, police insiders, withstand pagan rulers, and outline what it intended to be a Christian. Christians often claimed that they, they usually on my own have been sexually virtuous, evaluating themselves to these marked as outsiders, specifically non-believers and "heretics," who have been stated to be managed by means of lust and not able to rein of their carnal wants. precise or no longer, those fees allowed Christians to provide themselves as varied 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 on my own made self-mastery attainable. Rejection of Christ ended in either immoral sexual habit and, eventually, alienation and punishment from God. Knust considers how Christian writers participated in an extended culture of rhetorical invective, a rhetoric that was once usually hired to protect prestige and distinction. Christians borrowed, deployed, and reconfigured classical rhetorical options, 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 say their very own crew 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 advanced interrelationships among intercourse, gender, and sexuality in the classical, biblical, and early-Christian traditions.

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Additional resources for Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (Gender, Theory and Religion)

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He involves himself in suspect religious rituals involving exotic apparel and associations with old women (260). Demosthenes, on the other hand, was well educated and avoided turning to disreputable occupations to support himself (257). 44 Timarchus was accused of prostituting himself in his youth and squandering his inheritance. A person who prostitutes himself (acting as either a pornhv or a eJtai'ro~), Aeschines argued, cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of the city: “One who had been a vendor of his own body for others to treat as they pleased would have no hesitation in selling the interests of the community as a whole” (In Tim.

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.

Moderation 3. courage SEXUAL SLANDER AND ANCIENT INVECTIVE 21 4. justice 5. piety 6. nobility 7. liberality B. Actions following from the virtues 1. those following from their aims a. altruistic b. good c. acts in the public interest d. braves dangers 2. the circumstances of the virtuous actions a. timely b. original c. performed alone d. surpassed others e. received little help from others f. acted with wisdom beyond his years g. persevered against all odds h. at great personal cost i. 31 Note how closely this list follows the recommended outline for a speech of praise, with each of the outlined sections assigned an opposite disadvantage or vice: noble birth or slave origin, association with a noble 22 SEXUAL SLANDER AND ANCIENT INVECTIVE (Greek) city or non-Greek origin, education and wealth or having to work in a degrading occupation, self-control or reprehensible sexual behavior, beauty and health or improper appearance and dress, courage or military desertion, vitality or gloominess.

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