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The Gendered PalimpsestWomen, Writing, and Representation in Early Christianity$
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Kim Haines-Eitzen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195171297

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195171297.001.0001

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Reading, Not Eating

Reading, Not Eating

Women Readers in Late Ancient Christian Asceticism

(p.39) 2 Reading, Not Eating
The Gendered Palimpsest

Kim Haines-Eitzen

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the emergence of the figure of the ideal female reader in early and late ancient Christian ascetic literature, which quite clearly glorifies women who have taken up the ascetic life and, at least metaphorically, have chosen to read rather than to eat. After surveying some evidence from texts as disparate as the Shepherd of Hermas, a Greek papyrus fragment, and Sidonius Apollinarious, the chapter turns especially to the lives of holy women and to patristic writers such as Jerome and Gregory of Nyssa and to Gerontius’s Life of Melania the Younger.

Keywords:   asceticism, Gregory of Nyssa, Jerome, Macrina, Melania, patristics, women readers

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