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Mulieres viriliter vincentes: Masculine and Feminine Imagery in Augustine’s Sermons on Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

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image of Vigiliae Christianae

This paper argues that Augustine makes use of two principal images in his four extant sermons on Perpetua and Felicity: the masculine image of the combatant, who engages in spiritual warfare with the devil, and the feminine image of the mother, who tramples the diabolical serpent through childbirth. This paper makes the case that in styling the martyrs as combatants and mothers Augustine develops images that first appear in their third-century Passio. This thesis challenges the scholarly consensus which claims that Augustine departs from the content of their Passio in order to present these women behaving in conformity with the “patriarchal” norms of the late antique Church.

Affiliations: 1: Marquette University, Foreign Languages and Literaturesp.o. Box 1881, Milwaukee, wi


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