Bride of Hades to Bride of Christ: The Virgin and the Otherwordly Bridegroom in Ancient Greece and Early Christian Rome

1st Edition

Abbe Lind Walker

March 12, 2020 Forthcoming
Reference - 224 Pages - 3 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781138481626 - CAT# K348894
Series: Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies


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This volume argues that ancient Greek girls and early Christian virgins and their families made use of rhetorically similar traditions of marriage to an otherworldly bridegroom in order to handle the problem of a girl’s denied or disrupted transition into adulthood.

In both ancient Greece and early Christian Rome, the standard female transition into adulthood was marked by marriage, sex, and childbirth. When problems arose just before or during this transition, the transitional girl’s status within society became insecure. Walker presents a case for how and why the dead Greek virgin girl, depicted in Archaic through Hellenistic sources, in both texts and inscriptions, as a bride of Hades, and the life-long female Christian virgin or celibate ascetic, dubbed the bride of Christ around the 3rd c. CE, provide a fruitful point of comparison as particular examples of strategies used to neutralize the tension of disrupted female transition into adulthood.

Brides of Hades to Brides of Christ offers a fascinating comparative study that will be of interest to anyone working on virginity and womanhood in the ancient world.

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