Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Nicole Kelley - “Don’t Touch That Wafer (Or That Hymen)! Lameness as Divine Punishment in Christian Apocryphal Texts”

This essay will explore the ways in which both the healing and infliction of lameness were used by Christian authors to assert ecclesiastical control over both individual and corporate Christian bodies.  It focuses in particular on the Acts of Thomas, where a man’s hands miraculously wither as he tries to eat Eucharistic bread in a sinful state; the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, where Salome’s hand is withered because she doubts the virginal conception and birth of Jesus; and the Acts of Peter, which describes the lameness of Peter’s daughter as a gift from a protective God.  All three stories employ lame bodies in order to make a narrative argument for the centrality of purity and chastity in the Christian life.  

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