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 on my own have been sexually virtuous, evaluating themselves to these marked as outsiders, in particular non-believers and "heretics," who have been acknowledged to be managed via lust and not able to rein of their carnal wishes. real or no longer, those fees allowed Christians to provide 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 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 an extended culture of rhetorical invective, a rhetoric that was once usually hired to guard prestige and distinction. Christians borrowed, deployed, and reconfigured classical rhetorical suggestions, 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 team as consultant of "true Christianity." Knust's publication 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 complicated 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)

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In the late 1970s, Kenneth Dover set out to describe the phenomena of homosexuality in ancient Greece. His “relentlessly empirical approach”68 succeeded in countering the skepticism of several generations of classical scholars regarding the nature of “Greek love,” and, in the process, he put forward a series of persuasive hypotheses regarding the attitudes of ancient Greeks toward homosexual behavior. Some of his main arguments include: (1) There was no moral censure against an adult male taking an adolescent boy as a lover.

We know who is a citizen because he is not a slave. We know who is a slave because he is not a citizen. These knowledges reinforced and implied one another. The theory that slaves are different from their masters “by nature” was infamously stated by Aristotle in the Politics. Aristotle argued that slaves have no faculty of deliberation but require their masters, those who have the capacity for moral goodness, to rule over them (Pol. 1260a4–1260b8). Freeborn women were said to be similarly incapacitated by the peculiarity of their gender—they do possess the faculty of deliberation but in them it lacks authority (Pol.

Bad men, then, were of servile or foreign origin, incapable of controlling themselves, and cowardly SEXUAL SLANDER AND ANCIENT INVECTIVE 27 in battle. Legal and literary sources further promoted this view, suggesting that to be a slave or a foreigner necessarily implies that one is ignoble, incapable of true wisdom, and immoral, or simply exempt from morality altogether. The social-discursive production of “citizen” versus everyone else, especially “slave,” served to constrain and constitute the definition of each.

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