Church Fathers, Independent Virgins // Review

By Salisbury, Joyce E. | Resources for Feminist Research, Spring/Summer 1994 | Go to article overview

Church Fathers, Independent Virgins // Review


Salisbury, Joyce E., Resources for Feminist Research


Sex is always a hot topic, no more so than today with debates raging in most ecclesiastical circles around clerical celibacy, lesbians and gays in church and in the clergy, women priests, married priests and the ever-growing concern around sexual abuse and the clergy. Too often these discussions are historical, or at best addressed with the ever popular "we've always done it this way" attitude. When historical issues are raised, especially in feminist circles, it is usually a condemnation of the misogyny and sexophobia of the early Christian writers and leaders. Joyce Salisbury has entered the discussion at an important time and her contribution to the debate is helpful. By addressing the early Christian attitude toward sexuality and gender roles, Salisbury raises questions regarding the traditional interpretations and suggests her own reading of the issues and how they might affect our discussions today.

Salisbury has chosen to focus on the debates surrounding virginity and celibacy in the first through fourth centuries, delineating three approaches: that of the early church fathers, whom she sees as dualistic in their approach; Augustine, who rejects this dualism and is more favourable toward sex than the early fathers but still upholds traditional gender roles; and the women ascetics of the period, who embrace virginity not as a rejection of sex but as a way to individual freedom from societal and gender roles, particularly those associated with marriage. Her arguments are based on her reading of the primary documents and include a detailed review of seven of women saints found in a tenth century manuscript from the Spanish Escorial monastic library.

Her thesis is an interesting one which fits well into the ongoing debate among religious feminists as to whether Christianity is or was liberating for women. However, curiously Salisbury does not seem aware of the current issues in the debate. She seems to assume that Christianity was liberating for women in the Roman Empire and that the patriarchal and repressive aspects of early Christianity for women are the result of secular hierarchical baggage associated with the empire, a view with which many feminist church historians would take issue. When she focuses on her main topic, that of the relation between asceticism, sexuality and women, she is in the midst of yet another ongoing debate. The question of whether asceticism was liberating for women has been around since the 1970s, the most relevant work having been done by Rosemary Radford Ruether in an essay in her book, Religion and Sexism, on Virginal Feminism. While Salisbury cites this book in her bibliography she never refers directly to it or to Ruether's analysis and conclusions, which at the least offer an additional view with which to work. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Church Fathers, Independent Virgins // Review
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.