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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55708
Doc. No:TL25662
Call number:‭3190331‬
Main Entry:Barbara Diane Wudel
Title & Author:Seductions of self -control: Narrative transformation in Hermas, Thecla, and AsenethBarbara Diane Wudel
College:The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Date:2005
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2005
Page No:209
Abstract:The problem of the passions, called the principal concern of Greco-Roman moral philosophy, is also a chief preoccupation of ancient Jewish and Christian homiletic and paraenetic texts. Whereas such texts often treat desire and self-restraint, passion and renunciation, as opposed categories, other ancient novelistic texts complicate their relations. Three such stories--- The Shepherd of Hermas, The Acts of Paul and Thecla, and Joseph and Aseneth---invite close narrative analysis of how their protagonists are divinely transformed through the complex interplay of ascetic restraint and erotic desire. In The Shepherd of Hermas, a male Christian householder, Hernias, narrates his own long, diffuse, and erratic movement through receiving revelation, engaging in self-scrutiny, and being urged toward enhanced manliness. Hermas is called the Self-Restrained , yet his transformation is initiated by an erotically-charged encounter with his former mistress emerging from her bath in the Tiber, and culminates in a night-long dalliance with beautiful personifications of virtue. The Acts of Paul and Thecla is a fast-paced tale paying minimal attention to the interiority of the protagonist, yet depicting both desire for restraint and the restraints of desire. Thecla is transformed from being a cloistered, pagan virgin poised to marry the leading man of her city to being an ascetic, itinerant Christian missionary and teacher. Her social and religious change is driven both by apparent infatuation with the apostle Paul and by her need actively to resist male sexual aggression. The third story, Joseph and Aseneth, tells in often extravagant figurative language how the beautiful but arrogant virgin, Aseneth, living in cloistered hatred of men and extreme devotion to countless Egyptian gods, came to be the God-venerating, virtuous, radiant wife of the Hebrew patriarch Joseph. Her impassioned desire for Joseph is inextricably interwoven with her turn toward the most high God. In each of the tales, the protagonist's transformation is depicted in part through categories of gender---in particular, virginity and masculinity. Close narrative analysis shows that these three ancient stories offer intriguing, distinctive developments of the thematic of desire, restraint, and transformation.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Language, literature and linguistics; Aseneth; Desire; Hermas; Narrative transformation; Self-control; Thecla; Religion; Classical studies; 0294:Classical studies; 0318:Religion
Added Entry:B. D. Ehrman
Added Entry:The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill