Indice del numero 1, 2020, gennaio-giugno
«Eunuchi per il regno dei cieli»
The decision to abstain from sexual relations on the part of a married couple who decide to follow a life of Christian asceticism raises the need to consider whether the statement «eunuchs for the heavenly kingdom» should be understood as the evangelical basis for Christian chastity, in the same way as a prelate interprets it in his/her theological-spiritual presentation when taking religious vows, or instead as a radicalisation of Jesus’ teaching about the value of marriage in the light of the idea of being “one fleshµ, which in the narration of the creation enriches sexual union, as opposed to reducing it to mere remedium concupiscentiae. An examination of the New Testament tradition seems to affirm multiple anthropological and spiritual interpretations in this respect.
L’elogio della castità e l’obbedienza della sposa al marito: riflessioni intorno alla continenza coniugale tra IV e V secolo
According to this tenet, the role of women in the early church was circumscribed by specific limitations and in a subordinate position within the marriage. As is known, marriage was for a long time an institution exclusive to aristocratic families alone, granted to those who had a legacy to be passed on. One of the various aspects concerning the phenomenon of ascetic practices, was conjugal continence, which played an important role particularly in the fourth and fifth centuries. Considering that a wife was subordinate to her husband in a hierarchical relationship in late antiquity, the article discusses the ways in which Pelagius, Jerome, Augustine and Gregory of Nazianzus reported the experiences of a continent marriage in which it was the woman (respectively Celantia, Artemia, Ecdicia and Gorgonia) who decided to refrain from physical relations with her husband.
Le famiglie monastiche “doppieµ nel monachesimo tardoantico e bizantino
This paper analyses some forms of mixed gender cohabitation in late antiquity and Byzantine monasticism. While not explicitly defined, these typologies demonstrate how, by use of a metaphorical language, family ties were preserved within the monastic “family,µ being traceable in both the monastic lexicon and in the organization and functioning of monasteries. The text highlights some cases of cohabitation and, in particular, how the relations between men and women were managed in the first Egyptian monasteries and in the monasteries founded by Basil of Caesarea. The paper presents the main stages in which the prohibition of cohabitation between men and women was established in the Byzantine world, as well as the way in which, despite the canonical and civil ban, double monasteries continued to exist even after the fall of the Byzantine Empire.
«Quod coniugatis carnali copulae indifferenter servire non conveniat» La moralizzazione della sessualità coniugale nell’“Institutio laicalisµ di Giona di Orléans (anni Venti del IX secolo)
Jonas of Orléans’ Institutio laicalis, a moral treaty for the lay noblemen in the Carolingian empire, deals extensively with marriage and conjugal life. In his view of marriage, Jonas seems to accord little room to sexuality. Nevertheless, the chapters consecrated to it are a key to his configuration of the proper relationships between husband and wife. His discourse on conjugal sexuality is examined here in the light of the political and cultural context for which it was contemplated. In regulating sexuality, Jonas made his contribution to the Carolingians’ efforts to seize control over the physical and social reproduction of aristocratic groups.
Consapevolezza misterica e spiritualità matrimoniale nel ministero coniugato del clero ambrosiano in età altomedioevale
From approximately 1088, the introduction, also to Milan, of celibacy for the clergy (fostered by the ecclesiastical reform) marked the end for the Ambrosian Church of a centuries-old lifestyle, disciplined by the canons (as in the East) and rooted in the ancient rule of worship, common to the whole Christian people. The disappearance of the legitimately married ministry meant the loss of what had previously been, in the ecclesial community, the living paradigm of the conjugal status (characterized by the exclusivity of the spouses’ reciprocal belonging, demonstrated by absolute chastity before the nuptials and rigorous monogamy, even in the case of widowhood, by respect for the female figure in the person of the presbytera and by the use of marriage in harmony with worship and its celebrations). This change was not devoid of consequences also in regard to the cultural and theological perceptions of marriage.
Complementarità contabilizzabile La devozione dei coniugi nelle Fiandre: Arnolfo IV di Oudenaarde e Alicia di Rozoy (1175-1275)
Arnold IV of Oudenaarde and his wife Alice of Rozoy, members of the baronial nobility, should largely be given credit for opening the world of the personal devotion of the transalpine medieval nobility to the historian, permitting us to quantify (in a certain measure) their religious activities, which demonstrate an intense and vast collaboration between the spouses and their complementary roles, along with their spirituality hidden behind the numbers of donations, foundations and “vocationsµ in the family, and were mainly centred on liturgical prayer and charity, thus trying to integrate religion into their cities better.
Il matrimonio “sine opere coniugali” tra diritto e teologia (XII-XIII secolo)
A marriage sine opere coniugali was legitimized by canon lawyers and theologians, but it was generally believed that there was no marriage without consent to carnal intercourse. This belief called into question the perfection of Mary and Joseph’s union. Therefore, the canonist Gratian posited that marriage was begun with consent but ratified only by sexual intercourse. Hence, lawyers and theologians began to dispute the perfection of an unconsummated marriage and to discuss nuptial consent. In this discussion, the juridical concept of potestas corporis played a central role.