Women and Modesty in Late Antiquity
Cambridge University Press, 30.03.2015
This book offers a fresh approach to some of the most studied documents relating to Christian female asceticism in the Roman era. Focusing on the letters of advice to the women of the noble Anicia family, Kate Wilkinson argues that conventional descriptions of feminine modesty can reveal spaces of agency and self-formation in early Christian women's lives. She uses comparative data from contemporary ethnographic studies of Muslim, Hindu, and indigenous Pakistani women to draw out the possibilities inherent in codes of modesty. Her analysis also draws on performance studies for close readings of Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome and Pelagius. The book begins by locating itself within the complex terrain of feminist historiography, and then addresses three main modes of modest behavior - dress, domesticity and silence. Finally, it addresses the theme of false modesty and explores women's agency in light of Augustinian and Pelagian conceptions of choice.
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activities adornment advice Ambrose analysis ancient Christian Anician women Anicii anthropologist ascetic ascetic women asceticism audience Augustine Augustine’s behavior chapter chaste chastity choice church clothes contemporary CSEL 44 CSEL 56 cultural Demetr display domestic dress E. A. Clark early Christian early fifth century enim ethnographic etiam Eustochium example Favorinus female feminist history Flueckiger freedom funerary garments gender God’s holy household ideal identity illa interior Jerome Jerome’s Judith Butler Juliana Kalasha Kate Wilkinson late ancient late antique late Roman letter to Demetrias living Maggi male matron moral Muslim one’s Pelagian Pelagius performance of modesty piety pious prayer Proba pudicitia pudor purdah quae quam quod religious reputation rhetorical Saba Mahmood satire scriptural self selfrepresentation sexual Shobhag silence social space speech spiritual status Tertullian texts theological Towson University treatise veil verecundia Virg virtuous voice wear woman woman’s women’s agency women’s history words writing