The Gendered Palimpsest: Women, Writing, and Representation in Early Christianity

ISBN : 9780195171297

Kim Haines-Eitzen
214 Pages
163 x 237 mm
Pub date
Dec 2011
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Books and bodies, women and books lie thematically at the center of The Gendered Palimpsest, which explores the roles that women played in the production, reproduction, and dissemination of early Christian books, and how the representation of female characters is contested through the medium of writing and copying. The book is organized in two sections, the first of which treats historical questions: To what extent were women authors, scribes, book-lenders, and patrons of early Christian literature? How should we understand the representation of women readers in ascetic literature? The second section of the book turns to text-critical questions: How and why were stories of women modified in the process of copying? And how did debates about asceticism - and, more specifically, the human body - find their way into the textual transmission of canonical and apocryphal literature? Throughout, Haines-Eitzen uses the notion of a palimpsest in its broadest sense to highlight the problems of representation, layering, erasure, and reinscription. In doing so, she provides a new dimension to the gendered history of early Christianity.


Part One: Women Writing and Reading in Early Christianity and Late Antiquity
1. Women Writing, Writing for Women: Authors, Scribes, Book-Lenders, and Patrons
2. Reading, not Eating: Women Readers in Late Ancient Christian Asceticism
3. Women's Literature? The Case of the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles
Part Two: Sexual/Textual Politics and Late Ancient Asceticism
4. Sinners and Saints, Silent and Submissive? The Textual/Sexual Transformation of Female Characters
5. "First Among All Women": The Story of Thecla in Textual Transmission and Iconographic Remains
6. Contesting the Ascetic Language of Eros: Textual Fluidity in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles

About the author: 

H. Stanley Krusen Professor of World Religions and Professor of Early Christianity; Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies and Director of the Religious Studies Program at Cornell University

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