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 usually claimed that they, and so they on my own have been sexually virtuous, evaluating themselves to these marked as outsiders, particularly non-believers and "heretics," who have been acknowledged to be managed by means of lust and not able to rein of their carnal wishes. real or now not, those fees allowed Christians to give themselves as various from and morally enhanced 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, eventually, alienation and punishment from God. Knust considers how Christian writers participated in a protracted culture of rhetorical invective, a rhetoric that used to be frequently hired to safeguard prestige and distinction. Christians borrowed, deployed, and reconfigured classical rhetorical innovations, 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 staff as consultant of "true Christianity." Knust's booklet 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 info for Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (Gender, Theory and Religion)
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. In his handbook, Ap(h)thonius recommended that the following topics be addressed: family, nation, ancestors, livelihood, customs, prudence, beauty, manliness, and bodily strength, among other features (Prog. 24 In his De inventione rhetorica, Cicero offered an almost identical list. e. teacher of rhetoric recommended that cities, emperors, and governors alike be praised, when possible, for their temperance (sophrosyne), justice (dikaiosyne), and wisdom (phronesis; Men.
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.
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. 8). 43 His father was a slave. His mother engaged in indiscriminate sexual intercourse in a public latrine. He was brought up to excel in minor parts on the stage (129). His servile origin and lack of means led him to accept menial and degrading occupations (258).
Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (Gender, Theory and Religion) by Jennifer Wright Knust