Dressing Judeans and Christians in Antiquity (Hardback) book cover

Dressing Judeans and Christians in Antiquity

Edited by Kristi Upson-Saia, Carly Daniel-Hughes, Alicia J. Batten

© 2014 – Routledge

328 pages

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pub: 2014-08-20
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About the Book

The past two decades have witnessed a proliferation of scholarship on dress in the ancient world. These recent studies have established the extent to which Greece and Rome were vestimentary cultures, and they have demonstrated the critical role dress played in communicating individuals’ identities, status, and authority. Despite this emerging interest in ancient dress, little work has been done to understand religious aspects and uses of dress. This volume aims to fill this gap by examining a diverse range of religious sources, including literature, art, performance, coinage, economic markets, and memories. Employing theoretical frames from a range of disciplines, contributors to the volume demonstrate how dress developed as a topos within Judean and Christian rhetoric, symbolism, and performance from the first century BCE to the fifth century CE. Specifically, they demonstrate how religious meanings were entangled with other social logics, revealing the many layers of meaning attached to ancient dress, as well as the extent to which dress was implicated in numerous domains of ancient religious life.


’… there is something here for anyone who studies these two ancient traditions and their embeddedness in social and material reality. … Recommended.’ Choice ’This timely and important contribution to the burgeoning field of early Christian dress studies and the study of ancient clothing asks new and exciting questions of the evidence. These innovative essays on everything from monastic dress, cross-dressing men, clothing and social memory, and the appearance of the apostle Paul, to the cultural discourse of female dress, the hairiness of the hermit, clothing and soteriology, and the symbolism of the pearl demonstrate how fundamental the visual was to the ways in which the early Christians constructed social and religious meaning. This volume provides us with fresh interpretations of appearance, religion, and ancient society, and will be invaluable for scholars of early Christian and Classical literature, as well as those interested in social and religious history and the history of appearance.’ Kelly Olson, University of Western Ontario, Canada ’Dress codes are often more implicit than explicit and are hard to identify and nuance in past societies. This volume explores the language of dress inherent in a range of literary and rhetorical writings among Mediterranean Judean and Christian communities of late antiquity and highlights relationships between the clothed body and the social body, ideas of masculinity and femininity and the worlds of earth and heaven. It offers a new and fascinating dimension to the field of late antique Judaism and Christianity, and to the history of dress.’ Mary Harlow, University of Leicester, UK 'The book as a whole presents an interesting and kaleidoscopic view on a number of aspects of the language of the human body and its adornments in ancient Judean and Christian culture.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review 'Individual chapters may well appeal to particular interest groups but the strength of the volume is in its colle

About the Editors

Kristi Upson-Saia is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Occidental College in Los Angeles, USA; Carly Daniel-Hughes is Associate Professor of Religion at Concordia University, Canada; Alicia J. Batten is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theology at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
HISTORY / Social History