Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Several of the earliest Christian texts about celibacy and virginity introduce a kind of instability with respect to their social application. If marriage, sexual relations, and reproduction are renounced, even by some, unclear consequences emerge for the insistently patriarchal social norms of antiquity and for social relations within communities of believers in Jesus. Exhortations to renunciation also raise questions about sexual practice itself: what is it about sex that makes some abjure it? They also provoke new ways of envisioning and theologizing the body, gender, and sexual difference. In the earliest Christian texts, as in an array of ancient Greco-Roman texts that help contextualize and refine analysis of the Christian writings, “virgin” and “celibate” may be at once or alternately designations of embodied states, terms for social roles and choices, or evocative figures of speech bearing surplus associations.

Keywords: celibacy, virginity, Virgin Mary, porneia, Paul, Jesus, Thecla, parable of the ten virgins

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.