Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West
When we look at Michelangelo's David, we see a nakedness that expresses physical prowess, self-knowledge, and spiritual discipline. What do we see when we look at Hans Baldung's Eve, the Serpent, and Death or Master Francke's Martyrdom of Saint Barbara? Why should those naked female images symbolize wantonness and shame? How do ideas about nakedness formed at the dawn of Christianity continue to shape today's sexual values? What must women do to take their bodies back?
This revolutionary study by Margaret R. Miles, formerly Bussey Professor of Historical Theology at the Harvard Divinity School and author of the acclaimed Images as Insight, sifts through centuries of Christian writing and religious ritual and, above all, Western art to reveal the origins of our attitudes toward women's bodies and their encoded meanings.
Broad enough to encompass fourth-century descriptions of Christian baptism and contemporary theories of representation, Carnal Knowing is a brilliant, startling work of scholarship whose implications extend far beyond the academy to the way we live and see.
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Adam and Eve Adam’s Ambrose Apostolic Constitutions artists ascetic asceticism Augustine Augustine’s Baldung baptism baptized baths beauty becoming male carnal Christ Christian West church Cindy Sherman Clark clothing created creation culture Cyril of Jerusalem death deﬁned deﬁnition depictions Enkidu erotic Eve’s fasting female body female ﬁgures female nakedness female sexuality feminist ﬁgure ﬁnd ﬁrst ﬂesh gender Genesis genitals Gilgamesh gnostic God’s grotesque grotesque body hair Hans Baldung Grien Harpham Hildegard historical human Ibid identiﬁed images interpretation Jerome lbid literature lust Luther male body man’s martyrdom medieval men’s naked baptism naked body nude painting patriarchal Perpetua physical pleasure practices public sphere reﬂect religious meaning Renaissance representations of women represented roles secular Sermon serpent sexual intercourse Siduri signiﬁcance social societies soul speciﬁc spiritual story subjectivity Susanna symbol temptation Tertullian tion tism trans University Press viewer virginity visual witches woman woman’s women’s bodies York