The Sex Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography (Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion)

The Sex Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography (Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion)

Virginia Burrus


Has a repressive morality been the first contribution of Christianity to the background of sexuality? The ascetic matters that pervade historical Christian texts would appear to aid any such universal assumption. concentrating on hagiographical literature, Virginia Burrus pursues a clean course of interpretation, arguing that the early bills of the lives of saints aren't antierotic yet quite express a sublimely transgressive "countereroticism" that resists the marital, procreative ethic of sexuality present in different strands of Christian tradition.

Without lowering the erotics of historical hagiography to a unmarried formulation, The intercourse Lives of Saints frames the extensive old, theological, and theoretical concerns at stake in this type of revisionist interpretation of ascetic eroticism, with specific connection with the paintings of Michel Foucault and Georges Bataille, David Halperin and Geoffrey Harpham, Leo Bersani and Jean Baudrillard. Burrus to that end proceeds via shut, performative readings of the earliest Lives of Saints, quite often relationship to the overdue fourth and early 5th centuries—Jerome's Lives of Paul, Malchus, Hilarion, and Paula; Gregory of Nyssa's lifetime of Macrina; Augustine's portrait of Monica; Sulpicius Severus's lifetime of Martin; and the marginally later Lives of so-called harlot saints. Queer, s/m, and postcolonial theories are one of the modern discourses that end up intriguingly resonant with an historic paintings of "saintly" loving that continues to be, in Burrus's examining, promisingly cellular, assorted, and open-ended.

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