Place and Identity in the Lives of Antony, Paul, and Mary of Egypt: Desert as Borderland (Religion and Spatial Studies) (Hardcover)
This book considers conceptions of space in late-ancient Christian hagiographies and how those concepts relate to constructions of subjectivity. It does this by reading three pivotal ancient hagiographies in conjunction with Gloria Anzald a's ideas about the US/Mexican borderlands/la frontera.
By looking closely at three important and intertextual hagiographies in the history of Christianity-- the Life of Antony, the Life of Paul the Hermit, and the Life of Mary of Egypt --Peter Anthony Mena demonstrates that hagiographical descriptions of the desert are replete with spaces and inhabitants that render the desert a borderland or frontier space in Anzald an terms. As a borderland space, the desert functions as a device for the creation of an emerging identity in late antiquity--the desert ascetic. Simultaneously, the space of the desert is created through the image of the saint. Literary critical and historical methodologies converge in this work in order to illuminate a gap in previous scholarship on interpreting the desert in late antiquity and its importance for the development of desert asceticism. Anzald a's theories help guide a reading especially attuned to the important relationship between space and subjectivity.
About the Author
Peter Anthony Mena is Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego, USA