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Cassian, Nocturnal Emissions, And The Sexuality Of Jesus

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Chapter Summary

How Christian communities regarded nocturnal emissions reveals not simply the prominence of purity issues in early medieval culture, but also the fissures of the belief system itself. Focusing primarily on Cassian's discussion of the issue, this chapter first considers Scripture's function in conditioning the discourse on nocturnal emissions. By examining how the discovery of the Bible's hidden meanings relates to a monastic self-scrutiny that renders transparent the secrets of monastic sexuality, the chapter argues that Cassian's problematization of wet dreams actually frames the monk's body as a text, with purity of mind and flesh emerging as the precondition of the hermeneutica spes. The discussion then turns to the related question of exegesis and the concatenation of the sins. Cassian utilizes his sin-scheme as an exegetical tool safeguarding orthodox Christology on the question of Jesus's sexuality - and whether the Savior himself experienced nightly sullying".

Keywords: Bible's hidden meanings; Cassian; Christian communities; early medieval culture; exegesis; Jesus's sexuality; nocturnal emissions; orthodox Christology; Scripture; sins

10.1163/ej.9789004157859.i-312.19
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