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Grant number like: FA-50455-04

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Mary R. D'Angelo
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2004 – 6/30/2005

Roman Imperial Family Values and Early Christian and Jewish Sexual Politics

This proposal seeks funding for the preparation of book manuscript that aims to change accounts of the origin and development of ancient Christian and (to a lesser extent) ancient Jewish sexual and familial mores. It has long been the practice to assign aspects to early Christianity, especially troubling moral prescriptions, to either "Jewish background" or "Hellenistic influence." This strategy implies that Christianity ought to have left Jewish prescriptions behind, or that Jesus' originally egalitarian movement was corrupted by Jewish or Hellenistic social mores; it thus has the double effect of absolving the early Christian movement of features that are problematic for contemporary moral sensitivities and of eliding its Roman context. Particularly in feminist circles, this has frequently had the effect of "blaming patriarchy on the Jews." This project will produce an account of interactions with Roman moral ideology in early Jewish and Christian writing from the early second century BCE to the early second century CE, delineating a complex patterns of accommodation with and resistance to the self-presentation of Imperial Rome.