Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 16788
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Viscuso , Patrick.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Theodore Balsamon's Canonical Images of Women
  • Source: Byzantine Studies Conference. Abstracts of Papers 28, ( 2002): Pages 28
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Balsamon, Theodore, Greek Patriarch of Antioch and Canonist Byzantium Canon Law
  • Geographic Area: Eastern Mediterranean
  • Century: 12
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  • Abstract: Canon law often contains legal stipulations limiting the actions of women in order to prevent defilement and impurity. In particular, provisions concerning sexual morality contain detailed descriptions of female anatomy and faculties. This brief study will examine the descriptions of women contained in the writings of the Byzantine canonist, Theodore Balsamon (ca. 1130/1140 - death after 1195) resident at Constantinople during the reign of Manuel I Komnenos. Balsamon, a chartophylax of the ecumenical patriarchate and patriarch of Antioch, was noted for his commentaries on the received corpus of Byzantine canon law as well as the "Nomonkanon in Fourteen Titles." He is also the author of legal treatises and canonical responses dealing with a variety of subjects, including marital issues, abortion, and childbirth. The canonist’s works were extremely influential and emerged as a standard source for Orthodox canonists and theologians. Based on the examination of selected texts, a systematic presentation will be made of Balsamon’s scientific and theological thought on women’s bodies, cognitive faculties, and spirituality. An analysis will be made regarding the effect of these views on women in canonical legislation. An attempt will be made to determine the limits of the canonist’s direct experience of his subject material and the use of literary sources. Among the questions considered will be intended audience and possible criticism of contemporary sexual mores. More general conclusions will be derived on the construction of women in Byzantine social ordering and class relationships affected by gender. [Reproduced by permission of the author.]
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  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 01473387
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