The Bone Gatherers: The Lost Worlds of Early Christian Women




Author: Nicola Denzey
Type: eBook
Date Released: 2007
Format: pdf
Language: English
Page Count: 313
Isbn10 Code: 0807013080
Isbn13 Code: 9780807013083


From Publishers Weekly In late antiquity, pious Christian women buried the remains of saints and martyrs, sometimes on land the women themselves owned. The legends of these bone gatherers launch Denzey's investigation into the experiences of third- and fourth-century Roman women based on the complex visual and archeological evidence they left behind in the city's catacombs. Denzey, a lecturer at Harvard University, uses a technique akin to feminist midrash to decipher what these women's lives were really like as the feminine ideal shifted from pagan Rome's devoted wives to Catholic Christianity's virgin martyrs. Sometimes delving into the macabre, the author probes into the meanings revealed by underground burial spaces and wall paintings that reflect women's presence. The study concludes with an analysis of Pope Damasus's impact in the fourth century: a stunning masculinization of Rome's sacred space the privatization of women's roles, and the end of the female tradition of bone gathering. Although the book's black-and-white photographs are sparse and hard to decipher, Denzey's prose paints vivid pictures of the sites she visits. Some readers may find her imaginative interpretations of the visual evidence too speculative, but her densely layered inquiry is insightful and haunting. (Aug.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Review “. . . her densely layered inquiry is insightful and haunting.” Publishers Weekly“Unique in its restricted time/place focus, the study probes in-depth with a 21st Century feminist eye. . ." Library Journal

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