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Signs of VirginityTesting Virgins and Making Men in Late Antiquity$
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Michael Rosenberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190845896

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190845896.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 July 2021

(De)Mythologizing the Hymen

(De)Mythologizing the Hymen

Augustine, the Bavli, and the Rejection of Force

(p.182) 8 (De)Mythologizing the Hymen
Signs of Virginity

Michael Rosenberg

Oxford University Press

Augustine of Hippo, it is argued, shares more in common, on the topic of virginity testing, with the Rabbis of Babylonia than he does with other Church Fathers such as Cyprian and Ambrose. The latter are typical of late antique Christian authors, speaking in the mixed registers of faith and anatomy as found in works such as the Mishnah and the Protevangelium. Augustine, by contrast, utterly rejects gynecology as a means of establishing virginity. Although his move is quite different from that of the Babylonian Talmud, it seems that he and the Rabbinic work’s authorship share a set of concerns: an interest in subverting dominant norms of masculinity and rejecting the lust for dominance.

Keywords:   Cyprian, Ambrose, Augustine, rape, virginity, midwife

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