Non-Fiction Books:

'Virgins of God'

The Making of Asceticism in Late Antiquity

Format

Paperback / softback

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'Virgins of God' by Susanna Elm
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Description

Situated in a period that witnessed the genesis of institutions that have lasted to this day, this path-breaking study looks at how ancient Christian women, particularly in Asia Minor and Egypt, initiated ascetic ways of living, and how these practices were then institutionalized. Susanna Elm demonstrates that-in direct contrast to later conceptions-asceticism began primarly as an urban movement, in which women were significant protagonists. In the process, they completely transformed and expanded their roles as wife, mother, or widow: as Christian ascetics, they became 'virgin wives', 'virgin mothers', and 'virgin widows' - with all the legal and economic implications of such a dramatic shift. As importantly, though, Christian men and women ascetics lived together. As 'virgins of God' they created new families 'in Christ'. No longer determined by their human bonds or human sexuality, they were 'neither male nor female'. Finally, the book demonstrates how ascetic bishops - today known as saints - eventually 'reformed' these early models of communal, ascetic life by dividing the 'virgins of God' into monks and nuns and thus laid the foundation for the monasticism we know today.

Author Biography

Susanna Elm is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley.
Release date Australia
January 25th, 1996
Author
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Imprint
Clarendon Press
Pages
462
Dimensions
139x217x26
ISBN-13
9780198150442
Product ID
2808394

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