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 often claimed that they, and so they on my own have been sexually virtuous, evaluating themselves to these marked as outsiders, specially 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 give themselves as varied from and morally improved 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, finally, alienation and punishment from God. Knust considers how Christian writers participated in an extended culture of rhetorical invective, a rhetoric that used to be frequently hired to guard 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 assert their very own team as consultant of "true Christianity." Knust's publication 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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His origins were humble and his circumstances unfortunate. He deserted his duty and hated his friends. These rhetorical commonplaces could be generalized to include entire groups, as Isocrates’ speech to the Athenians demonstrates. Cities and their citizens could be described as brave, noble, just, and temperate or, alternatively, as servile, extravagant, disloyal, and cowardly. Good men, and the cities they ruled, displayed virtue. Bad men failed at ruling both themselves and their subjects. In other words, assertions regarding the control of self and others served to define and justify elite privilege.

88 The Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus stated it this way: “Gluttony, drunkenness, and other related vices, which are vices of excess and bring disgrace on those who cherish them, show that moderation is necessary for every person, male or female, for the only way to escape SEXUAL SLANDER AND ANCIENT INVECTIVE 33 licentiousness is moderation; there is no other” (Muson. 89 According to these moralists, extravagance frequently included overindulgence in sexual pleasure, especially with prostitutes or courtesans.

Actual status (free, resident SEXUAL SLANDER AND ANCIENT INVECTIVE 29 foreigner, freed, slave) was fundamental to whether or not a sexual act would be considered criminal in a legal sense. , entirely conventional) hierarchy along the lines of active partner or passive partner, dominant or submissive. The elite male was imagined as the actor and the dominator, at least in theory. Often, accusations of sexual misbehavior implied the violation of a prescribed role in this sexual drama, a drama imagined as the interplay between an active, citizen male partner and his various subordinates.

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