Corporal Knowledge: Early Christian Bodies

Hardcover | April 19, 2010

byJennifer Glancy

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At the heart of the Christian proclamation is the problematic body of Jesus: problematic because His crucified form conveyed shame rather than glory, problematic because Christian communities argued about whether Jesus' body shared in the corruptible and tactile qualities of other humanbodies. Jesus' message-bearing body is not the only storytelling body we encounter in early Christian writings. Paul, for example, invited recipients of his letters to read the gospel story in his scarred body. In the second and early third centuries, Christians argued about the perpetual virginityof the body of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and those on both sides of the question saw Mary's body as a meaningful, expressive matrix. Jennifer Glancy argues that ordinary Christians, like others in the Roman Empire, saw all human bodies as expressing such things as social status and gender, honorand abjection. All human bodies were matrices of communication. Glancy draws on a variety of theoretical approaches, particularly the practice-oriented theory of Pierre Bourdieu and the corporal phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, to explore what early Christians understood bodies tocommunicate. Among the specific examples she considers are those of Jesus, Mary, and Paul, those of the entire class of people held in slavery, and those subjected to torture.

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At the heart of the Christian proclamation is the problematic body of Jesus: problematic because His crucified form conveyed shame rather than glory, problematic because Christian communities argued about whether Jesus' body shared in the corruptible and tactile qualities of other humanbodies. Jesus' message-bearing body is not the onl...

Jennifer Glancy is Professor of Religious Studies at Le Moyne College.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:April 19, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195328159

ISBN - 13:9780195328158

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations1. What She Knew In Her Body: An Introduction2. Boasting of Beatings (2 Corinthians 11:23-25)3. Embodying Slavery from Paul to Augustine 1014. Mary in ChildbirthEpilogueBibliographyIndex of Ancient SourcesGeneral Index