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Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity by Jennifer Wright Knust

By Jennifer Wright Knust

Early Christians used fees of adultery, incest, and lascivious habit to demonize their rivals, police insiders, face up to pagan rulers, and outline what it intended to be a Christian. Christians often claimed that they, they usually on my own have been sexually virtuous, evaluating themselves to these marked as outsiders, particularly non-believers and "heretics," who have been stated to be managed by way of lust and not able to rein of their carnal wishes. actual or now not, those fees allowed Christians to offer themselves as varied from and morally enhanced to these round them.

Through cautious, cutting edge readings, Jennifer Knust explores the writings of Paul, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, and different early Christian authors who argued that Christ by myself made self-mastery attainable. Rejection of Christ ended in either immoral sexual habit and, eventually, alienation and punishment from God. Knust considers how Christian writers participated in an extended culture of rhetorical invective, a rhetoric that used to be frequently hired to protect prestige and distinction. Christians borrowed, deployed, and reconfigured classical rhetorical recommendations, turning them opposed to their rulers to undercut their ethical and political authority. Knust additionally examines using accusations of licentiousness in conflicts among rival teams of Christians. Portraying rival sects as wicked allowed accusers to assert their very own workforce as consultant of "true Christianity."

Knust's e-book additionally unearths the ways that sexual slurs and their use in early Christian writings mirrored cultural and gendered assumptions approximately what constituted purity, morality, and fact. In doing so, Abandoned to Lust highlights the advanced interrelationships among intercourse, gender, and sexuality in the classical, biblical, and early-Christian traditions.

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