Contesting the Ascetic Language of Eros

Kim Haines-Eitzen

in The Gendered Palimpsest

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780195171297
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918140 | DOI:
Contesting the Ascetic Language of Eros

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The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles use a particularly charged erotic language in the service of an ascetic message. Scholars have long found commonalities between these early Christian “novels” and their Greco-Roman counterparts, but central to all the early Christian “romances” is asceticism and celibacy. What is striking—and the subject of this chapter—is that at the very moment when erotic language comes to the fore of the Apocryphal Acts, scribes appear to have modified these texts to remove or modify the erotic language. One important motif is that of “women becoming men”; this chapter suggests that this motif likewise came to be contested in the process of copying.

Keywords: Acts of Andrew; Acts of Thomas; asceticism; eros; eroticism; transvestite saints

Chapter.  5611 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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