The Diminishing Importance of Fate and Divine Femininity During the High and Late Roman Empire

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Abstract

Weaving and femininity are historically intimately connected with the concept of Fate. In antiquity Fate was portrayed as a powerful female principle controlling the cosmic system humans inhabited. However, as the antique religious world gave way to a new era, the role of Fate subsided under Christian dominance. This article examines how this change played out, and how the worldview that won prominence as Christianity prevailed gradually lost touch with the presence of powerful female cosmic principles. It shows that the
disappearance of Fate from the prevailing world was seminal in the birth of a new ‘technology of the self’. In conclusion, the article places the disappearance of Fate in the context of a discussion of how the view of the self changed in the aftermath of Christianity, which had become dominant. This discussion is related to the scholarship of Peter Brown, among others, as well as a newly published posthumous work by Michel Foucault (2018).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-101
Number of pages21
JournalTemenos
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun 23

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History of Religions

Keywords

  • fate
  • technology of self
  • Michel Foucault
  • free will
  • femininity

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