Chapter

“Mother-City of All Evils”

Naomi Koltun-Fromm

in Hermeneutics of Holiness

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736485
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866427 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736485.003.0004
“Mother-City of All Evils”

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This chapter focuses on the earliest of Syriac Christian writings, the Acts of Judah Thomas, that make a link between holiness and sexual renunciation, and which advocate total sexual renunciation as the surest means to both becoming (achieving) holy and protecting one’s holiness once gained. Yet, this text is a composite text, which suggests a more complex development of this theology and its biblical interpretive roots. For in certain sections of the Acts, “living in holiness” can mean living a married life with one lifetime partner rather than total sexual renunciation. The one derives from biblical notions of achieved holiness, while the other descends from a different paradigm entirely, which in its origins was unrelated to holiness. The two constructs remain in uneasy tension in the later redactions of the Acts, even as the second one rises to the forefront.

Keywords: Acts of Judah Thomas; Syriac Christian writings; holiness; sexual renunciation; marriage

Chapter.  13210 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies ; Religious Studies

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