Jun 19, 2024  
College Catalog 2015-2016 
College Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

WGSS 325 - Conquering the Flesh: Renunciation of Food and Sex in the Christian Tradition

Cross-Listed as RELI 325  
This course explores how bodily practices of fasting and sexual abstinence have shaped Christian identities from the first century, C.E. to today. From Paul of Tarsus’ instructions about sexual discipline to the True Love Waits® campaign, from the desert fathers’ rigorous bodily regimens to the contemporary Christian diet movement, Christians have often understood the practice of renunciation as a necessary feature of spiritual perfection. In this course we will consider several ascetic movements in Christian history, including the development of ascetic practice in late antiquity, the rise of fasting practices among women in medieval Europe, and the culture of Christian dieting and chastity in the U.S. We will pay special attention to how Christian practices of piety both draw upon and contribute to cultural understandings of gender and the body. Every other year. (4 Credits)