Abstract

This article examines the interrelation of animality and gender in Chrysostom’s Homilies on Genesis via the elusive figure of the serpent. I argue that in seeking to shore up the serpent’s status as an irrational animal, Chrysostom renders it alternately masculinized and feminized. This ambiguous gendering of the (already ambiguously bestial) creature plays a central role as Chrysostom recasts post-lapsarian femininity in terms of slave-like subjugation. The serpent serves as the narrative device that allows him to align radical subjection, animality, and femininity—and thus as the transfer point for refiguring Eve’s own position after the fall in these terms.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3184
Print ISSN
1067-6341
Pages
pp. 71-95
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-09
Open Access
No
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