Abstract

This article analyzes old age in the thought of John Chrysostom, specifically asking: what role does the discourse of old age play in the formation of masculinity in Chrysostom, and what was its place and function in Christian society? And how can the body of the old man transcend its symbolic links with weakness, femininity, and sin, and even serve as a symbol of new Christian masculinity? In order to address these issues, the article proposes the theoretical framework of gerotranscendence for approaching old age in late ancient Christianity. Senescence is initially examined as a problem of masculinity, with special emphasis on its relation to physical frailty, femininity, and sin. Thereafter, the study proposes that Chrysostom views the gerotranscendent male body—that is, the man who has mastered his bodily passions and transcended the challenges of old age—as the new standard for ideal masculinity, especially for the youth.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3184
Print ISSN
1067-6341
Pages
pp. 491-521
Launched on MUSE
2016-11-30
Open Access
No
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