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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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Embodying Slavery from Paul to Augustine

Embodying Slavery from Paul to Augustine

(p.48) 3 Embodying Slavery from Paul to Augustine
Corporal Knowledge

Jennifer A. Glancy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Social location is known in the body. Such deeply held bodily knowledge is rarely subjected to conscious moral scrutiny. Chapter 3 argues that from the days of Paul to the days of Augustine, the dominant Roman slaveholding habitus deformed Christian moral imagination. Special attention is accorded to habituated distinctions between the bodies of slave women—who were routinely subject to sexual violation—and the bodies of free women—whose pudor, or chastity, was treated as sacrosanct. A woman’s virtue was strongly identified with her pudor. As a result, Christians who theoretically claimed that God did not distinguish between slave and free in practice distinguished between the virtue of freeborn women and the virtue of enslaved women. Chapter 3 closes with attention to several instances in late antiquity when evidence implies that isolated groups of Christians acted in ways that suggest moral discomfort with slaveholding habitus

Keywords:   habitus, moral imagination, pudor, sexual violation, slaveholding, virtue

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