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The Golden Legend - Essay Example

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One of the most disturbing aspects of the Leyenda Aurea (The Golden Legend) is the way in which saints reject sex in order to welcome death with open arms. The result is
that in many instances, death itself becomes a type of paradoxical amalgam of the sacrificial and the erotic…
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The Golden Legend
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Download file to see previous pages One of the most disturbing aspects of the Leyenda Aurea (The Golden Legend) is the way in which saints reject sex in order to welcome death with open arms. The result is
that in many instances, (notably with martyrs) death itself becomes a type of paradoxical amalgam of the sacrificial and the erotic. To what extent do you think that this is true? I do not think that this essay’s opening statement-question is true. The martyrs died in defense of their faith. The male martyrs were not challenged sexually. The female martyrs rejected sexual advances but they also spoke and performed deeds which might have brought reactions that hastened their deaths.The Church is the bride. Christ is the bridegroom. Consequently, the religious male and female virgins who consecrate themselves to God are spouses of the Church or Christ. When a religious Christian dies, s/he is reunited with the spouse. The relationship with the spouse has always been a nonsexual one before death. After death, the marriage is consummated only in the spiritual sense when the soul is reunited with the spouse. Saint Lucy of Syracuse (283-304) was killed as a saintly martyr in 304 when she refused to worship the contemporary Emperor because it was idolatry. As a result of her defiance, the presiding magistrate Paschasius sentenced her to be sexually assaulted in a brothel. The pagans knew how much the pious Christians valued their virginity so they wielded it as a weapon and punishment. ...
Jesus Christ."' (Wikipedia).

Lucy has made it known that she is not threatened by her aggressors and she turns

everything they wield against her into her advantage. Lucy said; 'I have prayed to Jesu

Christ that this fire have no domination in me to the end that the Christian men that

believe in God make of thee their derision. And I have prayed for respite of my

martyrdom for to take away from the Christian men the fear and dread to die for the faith

of Jesu Christ,' (Voragine). Lucy knew she was to die in the hands of Paschasius so she

started to prophesize. By an ironic twist of events, Lucy was spared the consummation of

sexual intercourse. She did not directly choose death but by a series of events, she was

killed before she could be dragged away to a brothel.

Is Lucy's death a sacrifice or did she willed herself to disobey Paschasius to beget a

death sentence Lucy wanted to die a virgin martyr. Her death is her own selfish act to be

united with Christ as his virgin bride. It is not an erotic act in the physical sense because

there is no presence of sexual elements.

Women in the Medieval Era were written as stereotypes belonging to the categories of

the demure maiden or scheming shrew. The virgin chooses martyrdom to escape her

oppressive situation. Many stories of the virgin martyr saints are similar. 'The repetition

of more or less the same plot in the legends of hundreds of different women is a clear

sign that most are ahistorical.' (Winstead 2). They were written by male historians whose

views of females are reflected in the writings. The virgin martyr legends wish to convey

the message that a good woman must be chaste even at the cost ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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