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PhallaciesHistorical Intersections of Disability and Masculinity$
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Kathleen M. Brian and James W. Trent, Jr.

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190458997.001.0001

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Weeping and Bad Hair

Weeping and Bad Hair

The Bodily Suffering of Early Christian Hell as a Threat to Masculinity

(p.282) 13 Weeping and Bad Hair

Meghan Henning

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws upon the conceptions of gendered bodily suffering found in the ancient medical corpus (Hippocrates, Galen and inscriptions), martyrdom literature, and the Roman judicial rhetoric of punitive suffering to read apocalyptic depictions of bodily suffering as “effeminizing” punishments, which in turn utilized masculinity and bodily normativity to police behavior, and equated early Christian ethical norms with masculinity and bodily “health.” By highlighting the different types of bodies found in these texts, as well as the ways in which Christian norms interacted with Greek and Roman notions of the body, the chapter shows how masculinity and ancient notions of bodily normativity worked in concert to mark sin in early Christian hell, in turn creating an ancient Christian culture of bodily normativity. These early Christian texts expanded the existing frameworks of bodily suffering as a disciplinary performance and focused on the non-normative body as a punitive spectacle and pedagogical object.

Keywords:   ethics, masculinity, effeminizing, punishment, health, suffering, apocalyptic, Hippocrates, Galen, Christian, hell

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