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From bedroom to courtroom: The adultery type-scene and the acts of Andrew

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is helpful for understanding the construction of sexuality in early Christian literature, especially since the adultery motif provided one archetypal scenario that would have been instantly recognized by ancient audiences. It establishes the contours and flesh out the details of the adultery type-scene, beginning with one example from Homer’s Odyssey and then using that template to detect where, how and why that type-scene comes to be evoked in two Greek novels and in the Acts of Andrew. Finally, this particular type-scene not only titillated audiences with its quotient of sex and violence, but moreover it dramatized a set of power dynamics that were ideologically charged in the context of changing social mores in the Roman Empire. The contrast with the Greek novels will thus help to illuminate the socially provocative place of the adultery scene in the Acts of Andrew.

Keywords: Acts of Andrew; adultery type-scene; early Christian literature; Greek novels; Homer’s Odyssey; Roman empire



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