1. bookVolume 13 (2021): Issue 3 (December 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2359-8107
First Published
15 Mar 2013
Publication timeframe
3 times per year
Languages
English, German
access type Open Access

Intersecting Inequalities: The Representation of Religious, Gender, and Sexual Identities in the Life of Pelagia

Published Online: 23 Feb 2022
Volume & Issue: Volume 13 (2021) - Issue 3 (December 2021)
Page range: 419 - 436
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2359-8107
First Published
15 Mar 2013
Publication timeframe
3 times per year
Languages
English, German
Abstract

Repentant harlots who became trans saints presented Byzantine hagiographers with a challenge. Thought to exhibit a lack of self-control and the excessive sexuality, associated with women, and sex workers in particular, – a subject of great concern for monastic authors – how could members of this stigmatized group achieve the standards of Christian piety, let alone saintly behavior? In portraying its fictional protagonist as an exemplum of masculine virtues in the context of nascent Palestinian monasticism, the anonymous Life of Pelagia highlights the non-binariness of social identities in early Byzantium, unsettling fixed gender categorization. Conceiving of a trans figure of an ascetic subverting conventional binaries, the Life creates a model for incorporating non-conforming masculinities of Byzantine society within the normative hagiographic genre.

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