Behold the Man: Jesus and Greco-Roman Masculinity

Hardcover | May 9, 2008

byColleen Conway

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In this book, Colleen Conway looks at the construction of masculinity in New Testament depictions of Jesus. She argues that the New Testament writers necessarily engaged the predominant gender ideology of the Roman empire, whether consciously or unconsciously. Although the notion of whatconstituted ideal masculinity in Greek and Roman cultures certainly pre-dated the Roman Empire, the emergence of the Principate concentrated this gender ideology on the figure of the emperor. Indeed, critical to the success of the empire was the portrayal of the emperor as the ideal man and theRoman citizen as one who aspired to be the same. Any person or power that was held up alongside the emperor as another source of authority would be assessed in terms of the cultural values represented in this Roman image of the "manly man." Conway details how the New Testament writings reflectdifferent approaches to the issue of Jesus's gender identity, including resistance to, accommodation to, and imitation of, imperial masculinity. The themes that emerge from her study include the relationship between divinity and masculinity in the Roman world and in depictions of Jesus; the role ofthe body in relation to gender identity; and belief in Jesus as a means of achieving a more ideal form of masculinity. Conway's work will be of interest to the broad range of biblical scholars who are interested in gender critical issues and in the emergence of Christianity in the RomanEmpire.

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In this book, Colleen Conway looks at the construction of masculinity in New Testament depictions of Jesus. She argues that the New Testament writers necessarily engaged the predominant gender ideology of the Roman empire, whether consciously or unconsciously. Although the notion of whatconstituted ideal masculinity in Greek and Roman...

Colleen Conway is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Seton Hall University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:May 9, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019532532X

ISBN - 13:9780195325324

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Jesus and Gender2. How to Be a Man in the Greco-Roman World3. Constructing the Lives of Divine Men: Divus Augustus, Philo's Moses, and Philostratus's Apollonius4. The Unmanned Christ and the Manly Christian in the Pauline Tradition5. The Markan Jesus as Manly Martyr?6. The Matthean Jesus: Mainstream and Marginal Masculinities7. The Lukan Jesus and the Imperial Elite8. "He Must Increase:" the Divine Masculinity of the Johannine Jesus9. Ruling the Nations with a Rod of Iron: Masculinity and Violence in Revelation10. Conclusion: The Multiple Masculinities of JesusIndex of Primary TextsList of AbbreviationsBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"Given the abundance of work on ancient masculinities that has appeared in the neighboring field of classics in recent decades, it is surprising that scholars of early Christianity have had to wait so long for a book-length study of how Jesus' masculinity is constructed and performed in the New Testament. But it has been worth the wait. Colleen Conway's Behold the Man is erudite, original, provocative, and incisive. Not only should it be read by anyone interested in gender in/and the New Testament, it should also be read by anyone interested in New Testament Christology. Picking up an old feminist thread with new conceptual tools, Conway shows how the study of Christology is illuminated by the study of masculinity, occasionally to the point of incineration." --Stephen D. Moore, author of God's Gym: Divine Male Bodies of the Bible and co-editor of New Testament Masculinities "Colleen Conway shows how New Testament authors appropriated imperial gender rhetoric to outfit Jesus, stripped of claims to masculinity by his humiliating death, in the armor of Roman manhood. Essential reading on the gender dynamics of early Christianity." --Jennifer Glancy, author of Slavery in Early Christianity "In this theoretically sophisticated, historically sensitive, and engagingly written book, Colleen Conway highlights the complexities in early Christian presentations of the masculinity of Christ. Focusing on the writings of the Apostle Paul, the four canonical Gospels, and the book of Revelation, Conway shows how early Christian authors drew from common Greek and especially Roman notions of masculinity, sometimes by outright appropriation but also by means of ironic imitation or slyinversion. We see the 'imperial' Jesus of some gospel traditions and Paul, the 'ascetic' Jesus of Matthew and Paul, and the 'militant' Jesus of Revelation. The study is wide-ranging, well informed by recent scholarship, and eminently readable." --Dale B. Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University, and author of Sex and the Single Savior