The Manly Eunuch

Masculinity, Gender Ambiguity, and Christian Ideology in Late Antiquity

Mathew Kuefler

The Manly Eunuch
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Mathew Kuefler

408 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2001
Cloth $65.00 ISBN: 9780226457390 Published July 2001
The question of masculinity formed a key part of the intellectual life of late antiquity and was crucial to the development of Christian society. This idea is at the heart of Mathew Kuefler's new book, which revisits the Roman Empire during the third and fifth centuries of the common era. Kuefler argues that the collapse of the Roman army, an increasingly autocratic government, and growing restrictions on the traditional rights of men within marriage and sexuality all led to an endemic crisis in masculinity: men of Roman aristocracy, who had always felt themselves to be soldiers, statesmen, and the heads of households, became, by their own definition, unmanly.

The cultural and demographic success of Christianity during this epoch lay in the ability of its leaders to recognize and respond to this crisis. Drawing on the tradition of gender ambiguity in early Christian teachings, which included Jesus's exhortation that his followers "make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven," Christian writers and thinkers crafted a new masculine ideal, one that took advantage of the changing social realities in Rome, inverted the Roman model of manliness, and helped solidify Christian ideology by reinstating the masculinity of its adherents.
Contents
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INTRODUCTION

Part One—Changing Realities
1 "MASCULINE SPLENDOR"
2 "MEN RECEIVED A WOUND, AND SUBMIT TO A DEFEAT"
3 "A PURITY HE DOES NOT SHOW HIMSELF"

Part Two—Changing Ideals
4 "I AM A SOLDIER OF CHRIST"
5 "WE PRIESTS HAVE OUR OWN NOBILITY"
6 "MY SEED IS A HUNDRED TIMES MORE FERTILE"
7 "THE MANILESS OF FAITH"
8 "EUNUCHS FOR THE SAKE OF THE
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"

CONCLUSION
A NOTE ABOUT THE NOTES
ABBREVIATIONS USED
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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