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Unformatted text preview: WOMEN, SEXUALITY AND RELIGION FROM THE ANCIENT WORLD TO CHRISTIANITY CHRISTIANITY
Key terms: Key Hetaera Hetaera Vestal Virgins Mary Magdalene Deaconess Saint Augustine Saint Neo-platonism Neo-platonism The Confessions Original sin QUESTIONS ON WOMEN, SEXUALITY AND RELIGION AND 1. What role did women play in Greek and Roman 1. society and religion? How did Greeks and Roman view sexuality? view 3. What was the place of women in the early 3. Christian church and how did it evolve over time? 4. How did Saint Augustine’s work contribute to 4. changing ideas about sexuality in Christianity? changing I. Women and the Family in Ancient Athens Ancient Social roles of men and women dominated by needs Social of polis of Women under control of fathers and husbands Respectable women are restricted to the home and to Respectable family life; female sexuality controlled to prevent illegitimate children illegitimate Prostitutes and “hetaera” provide sex outside of Prostitutes marriage marriage Greek women Hetaera II. Women and the Family in Ancient Rome Ancient Patriarchal society conveys legal authority on Patriarchal “paterfamilias” “paterfamilias” Unlike Greece: - women not secluded, greater Unlike role in society role Like Greece: - women under control of men, Like limited to family life, prostitutes for sex outside marriage outside Roman husband and wife Roman mother Roman woman and child Women in Greek and Roman Religion Religion Pantheon of gods and goddesses, Pantheon Most Greek gods served by male priests and goddesses by Most priestesses, chosen for wealth and status priestesses, Religion not as a marginal role for Greek women or “escape” Religion from family but part of everyday life of polis; role in religion gives women more mobility, visibility and participation in Greek society Greek Roman Vestal Virgins: highly revered, celibate, serve for Roman approx. 30 years Athena Aphrodite Priestess of Demeter and assistants Coin with Vesta, minted byCaesar, during his 3rd term as consul, 46 BCE Vestals banqueting Funeral procession with priestesses on right, 2nd half of 1st c. BCE III. Sexuality in the Ancient World World Some taboos, but not sinful or wrong Celebration of sexuality in some religious Celebration rituals (Dionysus) rituals Acceptance of homosexual relations among Acceptance men, esp. between a younger and an older man men, Danger is excess, like other sensual pleasures Danger must be moderate and self-controlled must Courtship among men Male Prostitution Male intimacy Women in the early Christian church church Important role of women as followers and Important supporters of Jesus supporters Female benefactors open homes to worship, Female leave money to church leave Female “deaconesses” (ie Phoebe mentioned Female by Paul) by 4th c. Church councils exclude women from Church (although deaconesses continue, esp. in East where they are found until 7th c.) in IV. Saint Augustine (354-430) and Christian sexuality and Influenced by neo-Platonism, to search for Influenced God through turning inward God After fall, humans obsessed with physical After world and desire, instead of God world Redemption possible through grace of God The Confessions recounts his own struggles with desire with Holds up celibacy as ideal; even sex within Holds marriage should be duty rather than pleasure marriage Conclusion Conclusion Women subjugated to male authority from Women classical times through rise of Christianity classical Early openness to women in Christian Church Early closed by 4th century closed Classical acceptance of sexuality replaced by Classical Christian notion of sin and need for redemption redemption Christian emphasis on restraint of sexuality Christian within marriage and celebration of celibacy within ...
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- Spring '08