The Suffering Self: Pain and Narrative Representation in the Early Christian Era
The Suffering Self is a ground-breaking, interdisciplinary study of the spread of Christianity across the Roman empire. Judith Perkins shows how Christian narrative representation in the early empire worked to create a new kind of human self-understanding - the perception of the self as sufferer. Drawing on feminist and social theory, she addresses the question of why forms of suffering like martyrdom and self-mutilation were so important to early Christians.
This study crosses the boundaries between ancient history and the study of early Christianity, seeing Christian representation in the context of the Greco-Roman world. She draws parallels with suffering heroines in Greek novels and in martyr acts and examines representations in medical and philosophical texts.
Judith Perkins' controversial study is important reading for all those interested in ancient society, or in the history `f Christianity.
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Achilles Tatius actions Acts of Peter Aelius Aristides ancient Anthia Aristides Asclepius Blandina bodily Callirhoe Chaereas Chariton chastity Christ Christian community Christian discourse Christianity’s civic Clitophon constructed contemporary context Contra Celsum couple’s cultural death Democritus demonstrated depicted described Dinocrates displayed divine doctors dream early empire elite emperor emphasis endurance Epictetus Eudemus example explained explicitly father focus focused Foucault function Galen genre god’s Greek romances Habrocomes hagiography healing Hermocrates human ideological Ignatius individual Justin knowledge Konstan Leucippe Leucippe and Clitophon Lives Lucian MacMullen Marcellus Marcus Aurelius marriage martyr Acts martyrdom medicine Melite nature novel offered pagan pain particular Peregrinus period Perpetua persecution person philosopher physical pirates plot Prognosis prohairesis readers recognized rejected representation represented resurrection role Roman empire saints second century sick Simon slave social society society’s soul Stoic suffering body suggested traditional understanding wellborn woman Xenophon