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FT-61610-14

L. Stephanie Cobb
University of Richmond (Richmond, VA 23173-0001)

Discourses of Pain and Painlessness in Texts by Early Christian Martyrs

"Divine Analgesia: Discourses of Pain and Painlessness in Early Christian Martyr Texts" argues that although early Christian martyr texts graphically describe the torture of Christian bodies, they simultaneously claim that faithful Christians experience analgesia during persecution. This monograph demonstrates the texts' claims to Christian impassibility by analyzing specific narrative techniques that work to shield the Christian body from the experience of pain and by demonstrating the ways these texts engage the reader's empathy to reinscribe alternative meanings onto the body of the martyr. The martyr texts' claims to impassibility have repercussions for early Christian communities' understandings of power structures undergirding judicial violence, as well as for intra-Christian concerns about Christology, ecclesiology, and eschatology. "Divine Analgesia" departs significantly from current scholarly evaluations of these texts, which tend to focus on Christian valorization of pain.

Project fields:
Ancient History; Ancient Literature; Religion, Other

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2014 – 6/30/2014