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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter situates New Testament writings about women, men, and sex within the ancient conflict between philosophers and poets over erotic desire. While philosophers thought desire could be tamed by subordinating it to the system of household management (oikonomia), poets wrote of its unavoidably “limb-loosening” and “melting” effects. Reflecting the philosophers’ construction of gender, the ideal male according to Ephesians, the Pastoral Epistles, and 1 Peter is self-controlled, and women are thought to be by nature insatiable in dress, speech, and sex. Echoing poetry’s fear of and attraction to eros with its power to cast its victims into liminal spaces, the Paul of the genuine letters both challenges philosophy’s binary construction of gender and repeats it.

Keywords: gender, sexuality, desire, eros, self-control, Paul, oikonomia, insatiability

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