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Androgyny and Early Christianity

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image of Religion and Theology

The fusion of two sexes into one body has often been interpreted as symbolising humankind's yearning for unity, harmony and equality. Studies of early Christianity have 'discovered' in the imagery of the androgynous being a possibility for resisting the prevailing phallocratic Graeco-Roman culture, thereby portraying the first steps toward an egalitarian community. This article contests this 'discovery' and it is argued that the imagery of androgyny represents not a harmonious utopian future, but rather a discordant, chaotic present. As a matter of fact, the imagery of the androgyny represents phallogocentric discourses, using the notion of the deformed male body as strategy for its maintenance and reproduction.

Affiliations: 1: Department of New Testament, University of South Africa, P.O. Box 392, 0003 UNISA, Republic of South Africa


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