Spectacular Modesty The Self-representation of Ascetic Noblewomenin the Context of the Pelagian Controversy Público

Wilkinson, Kate Rose (2009)

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


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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