Saving Shame: Martyrs, Saints, and Other Abject Subjects by Virginia Burrus

By Virginia Burrus

Virginia Burrus explores one of many most powerful and most annoying features of the Christian culture, its over the top preoccupation with disgrace. whereas Christianity has usually been implicated within the conversion of old Mediterranean cultures from disgrace- to guilt-based, and hence within the emergence of the fashionable West's emphasis on guilt, Burrus seeks to get better the significance of disgrace for Christian tradition. targeting overdue antiquity, she explores various interesting phenomena, from the fancy performances of martyrs to the imagined abjection of Christ, from the self-humiliating disciplines of ascetics to the intimate disclosures of Augustine.

Burrus argues that Christianity innovated much less through changing disgrace with guilt than through embracing disgrace. certainly, the traditional Christians sacrificed honor yet laid declare to their very own disgrace with nice strength, right away intensifying and remodeling it. Public spectacles of martyrdom turned the main seen ability during which vulnerability to disgrace used to be switched over right into a defiant witness of identification; this was once additionally the place the sacrificial dying of the self exemplified by way of Christ's crucifixion was once such a lot explicitly appropriated by way of his fans. disgrace confirmed a extra deepest face to boot, as Burrus demonstrates. The ambivalent entice of fleshly corruptibility used to be explored within the theological imaginary of incarnational Christology. It used to be extra embodied within the transgressive disciplines of saints who plumbed the depths of humiliation. finally, with the arrival of literary and monastic confessional practices, the disgrace of sin's inexhaustibility made itself heard within the revelations of testimonial discourse.

In dialog with an eclectic constellation of theorists, Burrus interweaves her old argument with theological, mental, and moral reflections. She proposes, ultimately, that early Christian texts could have a lot to coach us concerning the secrets and techniques of disgrace that lie on the center of our capability for humility, braveness, and transformative love.

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