A Mother in Roaring Flames: A Phenomenological Reading of a Late Ancient Monastic Story
Monday 21 March, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm CET.
Held by Kim Haines-Eitzen.
Kim Haines-Eitzen is the Hendrix Memorial Professor of Early Christianity and Early Judaism in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University. Her publications include Guardians of Letters: Literacy, Power, and the Transmitters of Early Christian Literature (Oxford, 2000), The Gendered Palimpsest: Women, Writing, and Representation in Early Christianity (Oxford, 2012), and the forthcoming Sonorous Desert: What Deep Listening Taught Early Christian Monks and What It Can Teach Us (Princeton, 2022).
This presentation examines a curious story found in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers about how an "aged virgin" came to choose a life of celibacy. The story’s sensational elements evoke the ephemerality of sound and weather, the lasting residues of logismoi and visions, and lessons of bodies aflame. By animating the senses, the narrative breaks beyond the page, forces its way into our world: sounds reverberate and mingle with our own soundscapes, scenes emerge and weave themselves into our imagination. Drawing from phenomenology, I will be asking how an embodied and experiential reading of the story might shape our understanding of the past and experience of the present.