Chapter

Redeeming Scents

Susan Ashbrook Harvey

in Scenting Salvation

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780520241473
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931015 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520241473.003.0005
Redeeming Scents

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  • Religion in the Ancient World

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Christian olfactory piety emerged and was displayed at a particular moment in Christian history. Its appearance marked a crucial turning point in the religion's social and political location. Christians' pride in the Roman Empire brought with it an intensified significance for all things physical. Christianity inherited an ancient discourse familiar throughout the Mediterranean world, in which the senses were deplored as sources of moral danger. Christian thinkers made use of this tradition of moral psychology from their earliest writings; in late antiquity, they increased its tenor. Explorations of the prevalence and diversity of ascetic rhetoric and practice in the late antique period have focused on deliberation of asceticism in relation to the formation of the self. Negative discourse about the senses became shriller at the very moment that the deliberate engagement of sensory experience became prominent in Christian worship, devotional piety, and domestic, civic, and monastic practices.

Keywords: psychology; late antiquity; asceticism

Chapter.  20755 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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