Exegeting the Passio of St Agatha: patriarch Methodios (†847) on sexual differentiation and the perfect ‘man’
Author: Krausmüller, Dirk
Source: Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Volume 33, Number 1, March 2009 , pp. 1-16(16)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:This article challenges the widespread belief that Byzantine authors of the Dark Ages showed no interest in anthropological speculation. It focuses on patriarch Methodios of Constantinople († 847) who developed a highly original exegesis of Late Antique hagiographical texts, which he presented in the form of authorial comments in his paraphrases of these texts. His Encomium of St Agatha, which is based on the Passio of the saint, reveals a keen interest in the significance of gender and gender-related roles within the Christian belief system. Analysis of select passages shows that Methodios no longer subscribed to the widely held Late Antique belief that human perfection necessitated the dissociation from gender and gender-related roles, and that he therefore radically redefined such dissociation as an intermediary stage leading towards the sanctification of such urges through a redirection towards Christ.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2009-03-01