Spectacular Modesty The Self-representation of Ascetic Noblewomen in the Context of the Pelagian Controversy Open Access

Wilkinson, Kate Rose (2009)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/cn69m426m?locale=en
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Abstract


An abstract of
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Emory University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Graduate Division of Religion
Historical Studies
2009
Abstract
Spectacular Modesty
The Self-representation of Ascetic Noblewomen in the Context of the Pelagian
Controversy
By
Kate Wilkinson
This dissertation is a feminist historical exercise that argues that modesy among
ascetic noblewomen of the late fourth and early fifth centuries AD provided opportunities
for the exercise of women's agency. Using primary material addressed to the women of
the Anicii family by the Christian ascetic thinkers Augustine, Jerome, and Pelagius, this
study explores modesty as a series of performances. Comparative material from
contemporary ethnographies of women in South Asia functions to reveal the potentially
rich forms of being implied by `conventional' advice on modesty. After exploring
external modest performance in dress, domesticity, and speech, the study turns to the
interior of modesty and looks at questions of hypocrisy and of congruence between
disposition and performance. Lastly the dissertation puts feminist concerns about
women's `agency' into conversation with the conflicting theologies of human and divine
agency of the Pelagian controversy.

Table of Contents




Table of Contents



Introduction








1

Note on Sources, Translations, and Abbreviations




6

Chapter One
Proba, Juliana, and Demetrias Act Modestly:
Material and Methodology of the Dissertation




7

Chapter Two
Apparel, Identity, and Agency:
Demetrias Dresses Herself






36

Chapter Three
Publicity and Domesticity







75








Chapter Four
The Modest Mouth







112

Chapter Five
Performance Anxiety:
Hypocrisy and Sincerity in the Performance of Modesy



150

Chapter Six
Modest Agencies








179

Conclusion








206

Bibliography








209











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