By Jennifer Wright Knust

Early Christians used fees of adultery, incest, and lascivious habit to demonize their rivals, police insiders, withstand pagan rulers, and outline what it intended to be a Christian. Christians usually claimed that they, they usually by myself have been sexually virtuous, evaluating themselves to these marked as outsiders, specially non-believers and "heretics," who have been acknowledged to be managed by way of lust and not able to rein of their carnal wants. real or now not, those fees allowed Christians to give themselves as diversified 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, 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 strategies, 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 workforce 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 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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She asserts: “The fundamental dichotomy between different types of sexual behavior, in antiquity, was not between heterosexuality and homosexuality, but between active and passive behavior. ”73 This active/passive paradigm was further supported by the complex of charges present in ancient invective. ” Like slaves, they had no control of their passions. Their “slavishness” called into question their sexual habits, for slaves were expected to be the passive partner in sexual acts with their masters, not the other way around.

6a–d). Rhetorical education has its SEXUAL SLANDER AND ANCIENT INVECTIVE 19 place but must be given with caution. This advice echoes the earlier concerns of Plato, who persistently argued that the tools of rhetoric are dangerous when placed in the wrong hands (Plato Prt. 318E–319B; Grg. 451D. , esp. 21 Even this brief survey of the “art of rhetoric” as presented by Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian reveals that a comprehensive understanding of virtue, morality, character, and the emotions was viewed as essential to the success of the orator.

By contrast, proper sexual behavior could demonstrate the praiseworthiness of a person or a city or even a king, at least according to ancient rhetorical theory. 34 As we shall see, the speeches of Attic Greek orators such as Isocrates and Demosthenes contained many of the standard topics;35 these speeches, in turn, became models for later orators who emulated many of the same themes. In this way, set commonplaces continued to inform moralizing discourse across several centuries. 38 According to Isocrates, the Athenians enjoyed a noble lineage, having sprung from the very soil they currently possess.

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