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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMaintaining the pax deorum through worshipping the gods was essential for the survival and continuation of the Roman state. While many aspects of public, political, and social life were performed by elite men, religion offered the opportunity for all men and women, regardless of class and status to interact and contribute the welfare of their community. This thesis explores gender dynamics in three cults: the cult of Bacchus, the cult of the Magna Mater, and Paul's concept of Christianity in Corinth. While each cult is vastly different, they provide insight into the ways in which men and women could worship the gods together and the tensions and anxieties that arise in mix-gendered groups. In the case of the cult of Bacchus, gender was at the fulcrum of its suppression in 186 BCE, during which the Senate attempted to curb male participation in cultic worship but reaffirmed the authority of female participants. Moreover, the reaction to the presence of the galli, the eunuch priests of the Magna Mater, highlights Roman hostility towards non-gendered individuals, for whom there was not place in the binary gendered world of Rome. Finally, in Paul's in first letter to the Corinthians, the signifiers of gender, sexuality, and morality are at the forefront of his treatment of marriage, virginity, and veiling. In each case study, the issue of gender is the utmost importance and can even highlight the distribution of authority in cultic worship.
Degree ProgramGraduate College