Divine Shadows Essay

2912 words - 12 pages

There are two institutions which helped to define the Orthodox Christianity in the Middle Period of the Byzantine Empire (from the 7th to the 11th century AD). Monasticism was one of them. The development of ecclesiastical eunuchs is another. The place of religious eunuchs in this period is one of great interest. There is an increase in both the establishment of eunuchs in the overall ecclesiastical structure of the Byzantine Church and in the hagiographical stories (known as vitas, or lives) of this time period.
This is quite a marked difference to the strong disdain that was being applied to eunuchs in the Early Byzantine Period (4th to the 7th century AD) . During this earlier period, eunuchs were damned for their lack of genitalia. Just a few centuries later, they are being glorified for that same absence. One of the questions from this time period in Byzantine history is whether castration came to be seen as a type of ascetic discipline. After all, a monastic in the Byzantine Empire were given to all types of self-mortification (scourging and extreme fasting immediately spring to mind). These practices were viewed as a means to strip the world away to get to the true part of self from the person. Castration may have been viewed in a similar light.
One of the first things that should be clarified in any study of eunuchs is to examine what is meant by the term eunuch itself. Since language helps to shape our reality, it is important to develop a perspective of the term itself. In our modern world the word eunuch has solely related to a medical condition or procedure. However, in the ancient world the term was multifaceted. Its usage could convey a multitude of meanings, from that of the castrated male to that of the celibate male. It could describe a slave as well as a bishop. While we may be tempted to overlay our own interpretations and biases on the word and its function, it is important to realize that we cannot assume other societies have the same categories that we do, no matter if they appear obvious to us.

The word eunuch in its original Greek is eunouchos, which literally means “keeper of the bed” .While the word much later became synonymous with the medical procedure of castration; originally the term was more multifaceted. The term eunuch (and its variants) in the ancient world was used for not only those men who had underwent the process of castration (involuntarily), but also to male children to whom nature or God had 'castrated' (through underdeveloped sexual organs or no sexual desire), as well as those men who had underwent voluntary castration (sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally).
Such practices meant that it was possible to put several types of men under a type of 'eunuch umbrella'. The term eunuch, rather than being a monolithic term referring to one type of physical modification (that of the removal of all of the sexual/reproductive organs) referred to several...

Find Another Essay On Divine Shadows

Emily Dickinson's There's a Certain Slant of Light

744 words - 3 pages Tunes” and “Sent us of the Air” are the prime examples. It shows that this new realization may have been from a divine being therefore the reader is confused on it’s significance because it perhaps a type of gift. “Landscapes Listen Shadows—hold their breathe” is the personification used in the poem. This personification in the work shows that a divine being has arranged for this revelation to occur therefore, all of nature will halt to the being

response of the republic Essay

3033 words - 12 pages all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent. You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners. Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave? True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if

Sainte Chapelle

1490 words - 6 pages . Romanesque is known for features such as; large towers, forms in decoration, sturdy piers, thick walls, and overall massive qualities (Fig 1). This feeling of airiness is achieved through many innovations that lead to a more open design within Gothic cathedrals (Fig 2). Sacred space within the cathedrals had a lot of angles, planes, and a strong contrast between light and shadows. The sanctuary of Sainte Chapelle is a sacred place because it

Vision

521 words - 2 pages prevents the truth from reaching the eye.In what state does humanity find itself today? How much vision do we possess, and how -much blindness is diminishing it? late suggested that we are as figures in a cave, into which divine light flows, staring at our shadows on the inner wail. Those vague flickerings are what we perceive to be reality, when the truth is actually behind us. We will never gain spiritual, philosophical, or physical

Laylat al-Qadr is a holy night. All nights of Ramadan are holy nights but Laylat al-Qadr is the holiest night of this holy month.This essay is influenced by Islamic beliefs.

524 words - 2 pages . Allah Almighty says it is much more valuable than one thousand months of worshipping. That means Allah Almighty granted such huge power to that night."It is just such a mighty night which is highly respected and given such a high value by the Lord Almighty. It is so mighty that it is said that it is the mightiest night, that Night of Power. Allah Almighty puts in it power for His servants to come closer to His Divine Presence. This day can help

Plato - "The Republic" - Explain and Evaluate Plato's theory of knowledge.

1148 words - 5 pages reflections of the real world, the world of Forms. The world of Forms is aspatial and atemporal, it exists in a metaphysical realm of ideas. To exemplify, looking at the screwdriver sitting upon my desk, I am seeing a shadow, a particular instance of the form of screwdriver, in an imperfect state. The form of screwdriver exists metaphysically, it is divine and perfect, eternal and absolute. This method of reasoning about the world around us applies to

A Comparison of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter and the Garden of Eden

932 words - 4 pages and Dimmesdale. Hester's story parallels Eve, the original mother of mankind, a woman exiled from the New Garden of Eden due to an unforgivable sin. She is doomed forever to walk outside the garden, no longer able to partake of the fruits of paradise, barred from reentry by seeming "divine intervention." Hester is the temptress of Dimmesdale, offering him the fruit of good and evil which, heretofore, removes all naivete and forces him to walk

All about the Religion "Wicca"

1427 words - 6 pages 3). Some witches are solo witches, others belong to covens. Covens are stable groups of witches who get together to worship the Gods and do magic. The average number of witches in a coven are thirteen. "Each coven has teachings derived from the accumulated generations who have worked in that particular coven. This is recorded in a book of rites and spells, the Book of Shadows" (Crowley 8)The main symbol of Wicca is that of a five-pointed star

The Republic by Plato

1481 words - 6 pages . “Consider if there had been any honors, praises, or prizes among them for the one who was sharpest at identifying the shadows as they passed by and who remembered which usually came earlier, which later, and which simultaneously and who could thus best divine the future” , they prefer the comfort and superiority held in the cave. Once they are exposed to the light they may be tempted to return to the cave where they are the brightest and things

The Last night

993 words - 4 pages The Last Night Alain sat at the very edge of the chimney-like opening in the side of the mountain. He placed the arch of his left foot at the bottom of the teardrop loop of his long escape rope. He looked up at the almost motionless shadows of those who had come to help him, or just to say good bye. In the darkness there were only eyes, sad eyes, painful and resolute. Alain had tired and envious eyes, but never regretful of his

Jonathon Edwards "Sinners in the hands of an Angry God"

839 words - 3 pages awake sleeping souls. This is what made him so highly recognized in American literature. Many literary scholars believe that "Images or Shadows of Divine Things" is an innovative application. They also concluded that it foreshadowed Transcendentalism by including nature as a source of revelation. The preaching of Edwards has attributed to the conversions of thousands of people on behalf of the church of England. His striking words made him comparable

Similar Essays

Little Robot, Big Implications Essay

1719 words - 7 pages . WALL-E is in love. She goes into space, WALL-E sneaking along with her. The two robots, in their journey to unite with each other, send the Starliner back to Earth. Afterwards, mankind begins rebuilding the planet. The robots in this fairy tale share many traits with the projected shadows in Plato's allegory to the cave. The shadows symbolize the world, a "meaningless illusion" (Plato, 198). To go beyond them is to see reality. Worth noting is

Plato's Worldview And How Humans Exist Within It

886 words - 4 pages illusionary on this principle. He thought that the world (his "world of shadows") was merely a corruption of the reality of forms that exists for us before and after. All the worrying about the matters that concern us in our earthly lives only distracts the pursuit of happiness and wisdom that Plato saw as the purpose of life. He took this further when he went on to describe the relationship between the body and the soul. In Christian

Plato's Theory Of Knowledge Essay

1276 words - 5 pages . Chained also by their necks, the prisoners can only look forward and see only shadows, These shadows are produced by men, with shapes of objects or men, walking in front of a fire behind the prisoners. Plato states that for the prisoners, reality is only the mere shadows thrown onto the wall. Another vision is releasing a prisoner from his chains, how his movements are difficult, his eye adjustment painful and suggestions of the effects of

Comparison Of King Richard Iii And Looking For Richard

1603 words - 6 pages character is portrayed only by his actions to take the throne, and the audience of that time would’ve seen this as an abhorrent transgression against the divine order. Richards soliloquies are central to Shakespeares portrayal of him in the play, as Richard tended too ‘moralise two meanings in one word’, and display Richards tenacity to do anything for power. The evocative beastial imagery in describing Richard as a ‘rooting hog’ and ‘poisonous