Pleasure in Early Christian and Jewish Literature


Pleasure is a frequent topic in ancient sources across philosophical and religious boundaries. Often ancient authors view pleasure as a threat to the virtuous life, many echoing the maxim that it is the source of all evil. At the same time, depictions of the human/divine encounter are peppered with rich language of delight and enjoyment. Furthermore, many ancient authors acknowledge that religious discourse and spiritual formation require a pleasurable component in order to hold the audience’s attention and ensure its continued participation. The ambiguous role of pleasure is reflected in attempts to differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable forms and sources of enjoyment.


Siiri Toiviainen

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