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Corporal KnowledgeEarly Christian Bodies$
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Jennifer Glancy

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328158

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328158.001.0001

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Boasting of Beatings (2 Corinthians 11:23–25)

Boasting of Beatings (2 Corinthians 11:23–25)

(p.24) 2 Boasting of Beatings (2 Corinthians 11:23–25)
Corporal Knowledge

Jennifer A. Glancy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Focusing on a single passage of a single early Christian text, chapter 2 situates the body language of 2 Corinthians 11:23–25 in the wider context of the corporal habitus of the early Roman Empire. While a man might well boast of war wounds, a whipping was an event that emasculated a man. Humiliation rather than honor accompanied beatings of the kind Paul endured. The chapter argues that by pointing to his own storytelling body, Paul claims his dubious corporal knowledge as a source of improbable power. Because Paul perceives that his corporal knowledge of repeated violation unites him with Jesus, he is able to position his abject body as a token of his authority. Ultimately, however, the example of Paul’s storytelling body fails to disrupt the habituation of early Christian bodies by Roman norms.

Keywords:   body language, corporal knowledge, habitus, honor, humiliation, storytelling body, whipping

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