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Dying to Be Men Gender and Language in Early Christian Martyr Texts

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ISBN-10: 0231144989

ISBN-13: 9780231144988

Edition: 2008

Authors: L. Stephanie Cobb

List price: $65.00
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At once brave and athletic, virtuous and modest, female martyrs in the second and third centuries were depicted as self-possessed gladiators and athletes who the same time exhibited the quintessentially "womanly" qualities of modesty, fertility, and beauty. L. Stephanie Cobb explores the double embodiment of "male" and "female" gender ideals in these figures, connecting them to Greco-Roman virtues and the construction of Christian group identities. Martyrologies strategically place martyrs-male and female alike-as virile combatants in the masculine environment of the amphitheater. They also illustrate masculinity through the language of justice, resistance to persuasion, and-more subtly but most effectively-the juxtaposition of "unmanly" individuals (usually slaves, the old, or the young) with those at the height of male maturity and accomplishment (such as the governor or the proconsul). Imbuing female martyrs with the same strengths as their male counterparts served a vital function in Christian communities. Faced with the possibility of persecution, Christians sought to inspire worshippers to be manly, yet within the community itself, traditional gender roles were maintained. Christian women needed to be braver than pagan and Jewish men, yet they were also expected to be womanly in relation to the men of their own communities. Cobb's investigation reveals how gendered language in early Christian martyrologies was used to lay claim to social power.
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Book details

List price: $65.00
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 9/4/2008
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Introduction: Constructing Identity Through Cultural Appropriation
Scholarship and Early Christian Martyrologies
Martyrdom and Identity Formation
Christianity and the Roman World: Appropriation or Subversion?
What Is a Christian? Constructing a Christian Identity
Constructing Social Identity
Social Identity Theory Applied
Sex and Gender in Antiquity
Noble Athletes: Gladiatorial, Athletic, and Martial Imagery in the Martyr Acts
Martyrdom and the Amphitheater
The Gladiator in Antiquity
The Athlete and the Soldier in Antiquity
Be a Man: Narrative Tools of Masculinization in Early Christian Martyr Acts
Masculinity and Virtue
Constructing Masculinity by Comparison
Putting Women in Their Place: Masculinizing and Feminizing the Female Martyr
Conclusion: Gender and Language in Early Christian Martyr Texts