Sex Lives of Saints An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography

ISBN-10: 081222020X

ISBN-13: 9780812220209

Edition: 2004

Authors: Virginia Burrus

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Description:

Has a repressive morality been the primary contribution of Christianity to the history of sexuality? The ascetic concerns that pervade ancient Christian texts would seem to support such a common assumption. Focusing on hagiographical literature, Virginia Burrus pursues a fresh path of interpretation, arguing that the early accounts of the lives of saints are not antierotic but rather convey a sublimely transgressive "countereroticism" that resists the marital, procreative ethic of sexuality found in other strands of Christian tradition. Without reducing the erotics of ancient hagiography to a single formula,The Sex Lives of Saintsframes the broad historical, theological, and theoretical issues at stake in such a revisionist interpretation of ascetic eroticism, with particular reference to the work of Michel Foucault and Georges Bataille, David Halperin and Geoffrey Harpham, Leo Bersani and Jean Baudrillard. Burrus subsequently proceeds through close, performative readings of the earliest Lives of Saints, mostly dating to the late fourth and early fifth centuries--Jerome's Lives of Paul, Malchus, Hilarion, and Paula; Gregory of Nyssa's Life of Macrina; Augustine's portrait of Monica; Sulpicius Severus's Life of Martin; and the slightly later Lives of so-called harlot saints. Queer, s/m, and postcolonial theories are among the contemporary discourses that prove intriguingly resonant with an ancient art of "saintly" loving that remains, in Burrus's reading, promisingly mobile, diverse, and open-ended.
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Book details

List price: $22.50
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Publication date: 10/29/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.748

Introduction: Hagiography and the History of Sexuality
Fancying Hermits: Sublimation And The Arts Of Romance
The Queer Life of Paul the Hermit
The Queer Marriage of Malchus the Monk
Hilarion's Last Laugh
Prolongations: Fantasies of a Faun
Reading (as) Another, Woman
Dying For A Life: Martyrdom, Masochism, And Female (Auto)Biography
Praising Paula
Remembering Macrina
Confessing Monica
Testimony to (Woman's) Survival
Fragments of an Autobiography
Hybrid Desire: Empire, Sadism, And The Soldier Saint
Domination and Submission in the Life of Martin
Sulpicius's Passion
The Hagiographer, the Ethnographer, and the Native
Witnessing Ambivalence
Secrets Of Seduction: The Lives Of Holy Harlots
The Lamb, the Wolf, and the Fool: Mary, Niece of Abraham
Seduction of the Eye: Pelagia of Antioch
Sacrifice in the Desert: Mary of Egypt
The Joy of Harlotry
Postscript (Catching My Breath)
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments
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