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, face up to pagan rulers, and outline what it intended to be a Christian. Christians usually 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 acknowledged to be managed by way of lust and not able to rein of their carnal wishes. precise or no longer, those fees allowed Christians to offer themselves as assorted from and morally more advantageous to these round them. via cautious, leading 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 a protracted culture of rhetorical invective, a rhetoric that was once frequently hired to shield prestige and distinction. Christians borrowed, deployed, and reconfigured classical rhetorical thoughts, 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 staff as consultant of "true Christianity." Knust's e-book 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)

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The speeches of Isocrates, Demosthenes, and Aeschines were standard fare in later Greek and Roman rhetorical education. About Isocrates, Cicero commented, “Then behold! There arose Isocrates, the master of all rhetoricians, from whose school, as from the Horse of Troy, none but 24 SEXUAL SLANDER AND ANCIENT INVECTIVE leaders emerged” (De or. 94). Demosthenes and Aeschines were revered as experts at forensic oratory (De or. 94–95). Quintilian began his discussion of speeches of praise (laudem) and blame (vituperationem) with a discussion of Isocrates, remarking that Isocrates thought praise and blame had a place in every kind of oratory (Inst.

56). Additionally, successful persuasion requires that the audience approve of the character, principles, and lifestyle of both the orator and, in the case of forensic oratory, the person whom the orator is defending. Cicero offered advice on how to appear trustworthy and virtuous while describing the upright, modest character of one’s client, if at all possible (De or. 182–87). Quintilian went further, arguing that the positive formation of moral character is the most important accomplishment of a proper rhetorical education (Inst.

1260a33). Therefore, slaves, laborers, and women cannot be citizens in the ideal polis since they lack the requisite capacity for virtue (1277b33–1278a40. Compare Plato Leg. 264e). 59 The fact that such supposed anomalies could 28 SEXUAL SLANDER AND ANCIENT INVECTIVE occur demonstrates that these categories were not impermeable but were, in fact, always dangerously subject to renegotiation. The proposition that virtue has little or nothing to do with slaves was reiterated and enforced in legal sources.

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