Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The rhetoric of "magic" in early christian discourse: Gender, power and the construction of "Heresy"

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

This chapter seeks to answer the question is why certain early Christian writers do not enlist the stereotype of the dangerous female sorceress evident elsewhere, especially given the widespread rhetorical war on “heretical” movements, groups that supposedly favored women’s participation and leadership. Instead early Christian writings depict women consistently as victims of men’s magic rather than as magicians themselves. In an effort to understand this peculiarity of early Christian rhetoric, the chapter first provides a context for it by surveying depictions of magic from a variety of ancient non-Christian sources. Next, it examines depictions of magic from diverse early Christian sources, drawing attention to the pattern of male magician and female victim that emerges throughout. Finally, the chapter considers the ideological function of “magic” in early Christian rhetoric and explores possible reasons why Christian writers gendered magic the way they did.

Keywords: early Christian writings; female sorceress; gender; magic



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Mapping Gender in Ancient Religious Discourses — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation