Has a repressive morality been the first contribution of Christianity to the background of sexuality? The ascetic issues that pervade historical Christian texts would appear to aid this kind of universal assumption. concentrating on hagiographical literature, Virginia Burrus pursues a clean course of interpretation, arguing that the early money owed of the lives of saints aren't antierotic yet really express a sublimely transgressive "countereroticism" that resists the marital, procreative ethic of sexuality present in different strands of Christian tradition.
Without decreasing the erotics of old hagiography to a unmarried formulation, The intercourse Lives of Saints frames the extensive historic, theological, and theoretical matters at stake in any such revisionist interpretation of ascetic eroticism, with specific connection with the paintings of Michel Foucault and Georges Bataille, David Halperin and Geoffrey Harpham, Leo Bersani and Jean Baudrillard. Burrus for this reason proceeds via shut, performative readings of the earliest Lives of Saints, in general relationship to the overdue fourth and early 5th centuries—Jerome's Lives of Paul, Malchus, Hilarion, and Paula; Gregory of Nyssa's lifetime of Macrina; Augustine's portrait of Monica; Sulpicius Severus's lifetime of Martin; and the marginally later Lives of so-called harlot saints. Queer, s/m, and postcolonial theories are one of the modern discourses that turn out intriguingly resonant with an historical artwork of "saintly" loving that is still, in Burrus's examining, promisingly cellular, diversified, and open-ended.