How were early Christians influenced by contemporary assumptions about ethnic and colour differences?
Why were early Christian writers so attracted to the subject of Blacks, Egyptians, and Ethiopians?
Looking at the neglected issue of race brings valuable new perspectives to the study of the ancient world; now Gay Byron's exciting work is the first to survey and theorise Blacks, Egyptians and Ethiopians in Christian antiquity.
By combining innovative theory and methodology with a detailed survey of early Christian writings, Byron shows how perceptions about ethnic and color differences influenced the discursive strategies of ancient Christian authors. She demonstrates convincingly that, in spite of the contention that Christianity was to extend to all peoples, certain groups of Christians were marginalized and rendered invisible and silent.
Original and pioneering, this book will inspire discussion at every level, encouraging a broader and more sophisticated understanding of early Christianity for scholars and students alike.
Acknowledgements List of Abbreviations Introduction Part I: Developing a Taxonomy of Ethno-Political Rhetorics 1. Interpreting Ethnic and Color Differences in Early Christian Writings 2. Egyptians, Ethiopians, Blacks and Blackness in Greco-Roman Literature Part II: Reading Ethno-Political Rhetorics in Early Christian Literature 3. 'We Were Ethiopians in our Vices and Sins': Etho-Political Rhetorics Defining Vices and Sins 4. 'Stirring up the Passions': Ethno-Political Rhetorics Defining Sexual Threats 5. 'Beyond the Rivers of Ethiopia': Ethno-Political Rhetorics Defining Insiders and Outsiders Conclusion Notes Bibliography Indexes