The Persistence of Late Antiquity: Christ as Man and Woman in an Eighth-Century Miniature

The Persistence of Late Antiquity: Christ as Man and Woman in an Eighth-Century Miniature

Lifshitz, Felice

Medieval Feminist Forum, 38, no. 1 (2004)


This brief essay. originally delivered as part of an SMFS panel at Kalamazoo, forms part ofa larger project to reconstruct the intellectual culture of the eighth-century Main Valley, with a particular focus on ideas about gender. I The evidentiary basefor the project consists entirely of manuscripts produced and/or utilized in the region at the time, above all those connected with female or double monastic houses.’ The investigation sofar has shown that the small, heterosocial, aristocratic Christian communities who virtually monopolized written culture at the time adjusted and interpreted the Christian traditions which they inherited so as to support their own relatively gender egalitarian values.This effort involved the preservation (or perhaps the revival) of certain aspects of late antique Mediterranean Christian culture which were particularly conducive to gender-egalitarian values: the ideas associated with Priscillian of Avila, the ideas embodied in the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, and the artistic conceptualization of Christ as androgynous.

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