Early Christian Dress

Early Christian Dress

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Early Christian Dress is the first full-length monograph on the subject of dress in early Christianity. It pays attention to the ways in which dress expressed and shaped Christian identity, the role dress played in Christiansa€™ rivalries with pagan neighbours, and especially to the ways in which notions of gender were culled and revised in the process. Although many scholars have argued that gender in late antiquity was a performed and embodied category, few have paid attention to the ways in which dress and physical appearances were implicated in the understanding of femininity and masculinity. This study addresses that gap, revealing the amount of sartorial work necessary to secure stable gender categories in the worlds of early Imperial pagans and late ancient Christians. This study analyzes several vigorous discussions and debates that arose over Christian womena€™s dress. It examines how Christians interpreted their dressa€”especially the dress of female asceticsa€”as evidence of Christianitya€™s advanced morality and piety, a morality and piety that was coded qmasculine.q Yet even Christian leaders who championed ascetic womena€™s ability to achieve a degree of virility in terms of their virtue and spiritual status were troubled when asceticsa€™ dress threatened to materially dissolve gender categories, difference, and hierarchies. In the end, the study enables us to gain a broader view of how gender was constructed, perceived, and contested in early Christianity.So toodoes the crossdresser whorecognizably parodies the opposite genderby drawing onformulaic male and female ... hand, the crossdressing saints are regularly ableto passsuccessfully asmen (ormore often aseunuchs) within the stories.

Title:Early Christian Dress
Author: Kristi Upson-Saia
Publisher:Routledge - 2012-02-16

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