You are not a man, none of you are men! Early Christian masculinity and Lucian’s the Passing of Peregrinus28 Feb 2020
Much recent work on the masculinities enacted by early Christians has focused upon Christian texts and claims about their heroes and practices among elite Christians. Lucian’s Passing of Peregrinus offers another avenue for thinking about early Christian masculinity. Lucian denies Peregrinus’ claim to masculinity on the basis of his over-concern for honour, especially from the masses, his inability to control his appetites regarding food and sex, his being a parricide, his enacting ‘strange’ ascetic practices and his lack of courage in the face of death. By tying Peregrinus to a Christian community in Judea, Lucian both demonstrates the lack of manliness in the Christian movement, which he suggests is populated mostly by gullible women and children, and further ‘unmans’ Peregrinus by linking him to a community of easily duped people whose praise is not worthy of a philosopher. By presenting this Christian community as a group that not only accepts Peregrinus as a member but also quickly establishes him as their leader, almost at par with Jesus himself, according to Lucian’s account, these early Christians show their lack of self-control by being deceived by a charlatan. Early Christian writers who claimed that their heroes were manly, even more manly than the Greek or Roman heroes, were writing in part to rebut the types of claims made by writers like Lucian.