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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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Contesting the Ascetic Language of Eros

Contesting the Ascetic Language of Eros

Textual Fluidity in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles

(p.113) 6 Contesting the Ascetic Language of Eros
The Gendered Palimpsest

Kim Haines-Eitzen

Oxford University Press

The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles use a particularly charged erotic language in the service of an ascetic message. Scholars have long found commonalities between these early Christian “novels” and their Greco-Roman counterparts, but central to all the early Christian “romances” is asceticism and celibacy. What is striking—and the subject of this chapter—is that at the very moment when erotic language comes to the fore of the Apocryphal Acts, scribes appear to have modified these texts to remove or modify the erotic language. One important motif is that of “women becoming men”; this chapter suggests that this motif likewise came to be contested in the process of copying.

Keywords:   Acts of Andrew, Acts of Thomas, asceticism, eros, eroticism, transvestite saints

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