Body and Gender, Soul and Reason in Late Antiquity
What does it mean to say that a human being is body and soul, and how does each affect the other? Late antique philosophers, Christians included, asked these central questions. The papers collected here explore their answers, and use those answers to ask further questions, reading Iamblichus, Porphyry, Augustine and others in their social and intellectual context. Among the topics dealt with are the following. Humans are mortal rational beings, so how does the mortal body affect the rational soul? The body needs food: what foods are best for the soul, and is it right to eat animal foods if animals are less rational than humans? The body is gendered for reproduction: are reason and the soul also gendered? Ascetic lifestyles may free our bodies from the limitations of gender and desire, so that our souls are free to reconnect with the divine; but this need must be balanced with the claims of family and society. Philosophers asked whether life in the body is exile for the soul; Christians defended their claim that body as well as soul would live after death, and even the smallest fragment of a martyr's body is proof of resurrection.
'As Gillian Clark is a leading historian of late antiquity, this volume of eighteen papers is quite welcome. Scholars have been contending with the dispersal of these papers from 1993 to 2005 in journals and edited volumes. Thanks to this volume, appreciating the range of [Clark's] thought will be an easier task.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review 'These 18 chapters give an excellent portrayal of a scholar’s work on and love for the prominent philosophic figures of Late Antiquity and their works... the publication of these papers in one volume is a valuable asset in the libri of a researcher with a special interest in Late Antiquity.' Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae