The Grotesque Body in Early Christian Discourse: Hell, Scatology and Metamorphosis
Sheffield: Equinox, 2012 pp. viii + 232. $95.00
Description: Early Christian apocryphal and conical documents present us with grotesque images of the human body, often combining the playful and humorous with the repulsive, and fearful. 1st to 3rd Century Christian literature was shaped by the discourse around and imagery of the human body. This study analyses how the iconography of bodily cruelty and visceral morality was produced and refined from the very start of Christian history.
Different aspects of the grotesque body are examined in each chapter with careful consideration given to both historical sources and literary representations. The sources range across Greek comedy, Roman and Jewish demonology, and metamorphosis traditions. The study reveals how these images originated, were adopted, and were shaped to the service of a doctrinally and psychologically persuasive Christian message.
Subjects: Bible, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, New Testament Apocrypha, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Early Church Origins
Review by Jesse Rainbow
Citation: Jesse Rainbow, review of IstvŠn Czachesz, The Grotesque Body in Early Christian Discourse: Hell, Scatology and Metamorphosis, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2014).
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