Walking Tall and Unashamed: An Ethical Examination of Women's Bodies as the Place of Sin, Shame, and Violence in Monotheistic Development
CroweTipton, Abigail Katelyn
The female body has historically been a site of struggle in western society. The dualism of the mind and the body, or flesh and spirit, has generally associated the female body with lesser nature or matter while associating the male body with the higher spirit and mind. These dualisms were not always present in society as will be explored through the example of the Ancient Near East. Rather, the categories of mind/body and sacred/profane were delineated over time. Examining the sociopolitical conditions of the Israelites in exile, the philosophical development of the Greeks, and the struggle of the church fathers to understand the nature of humanity according to monotheism shows the growth of a new world order. These movements imagined and interpreted the world in new ways so the material and spiritual realms were divided and associated with the masculine and feminine as well as the sacred and profane. The body became a troubled space and was heavily associated with uncleanliness, desire and sin, leaning into what we interoperate as the realm of the profane. This thesis is an exploration of how the development of western monotheism alongside the flesh/ spirit dichotomy came to perpetuate and solidify the intertwinement of women, the body, and sin.