Journal of Near Eastern Studies
The writer examines the apparently ubiquitous sexual references in the first surviving letters of Shenoute. Shenoute's references to sexuality constitute one aspect of his self-representation as his community's prophet. His textual performance as a prophet in these texts indicates that his sexual rhetoric served not only to condemn sexual activity among ascetics but also to help construct a relationship between God and the monastic community that is based on the relationship between God and the people in the Christian Old Testament. The sins of the monastery, as understood by Shenoute, like those of Israel or the nations in the prophetic books of the Bible, are represented by the sin of fornication. Through the use of passages, themes, and symbols from these biblical books, he presents his late antique monastery as a feminine entity with important theological, ideological, and social repercussions.
Schroeder, C. T.
Prophecy and Porneia in Shenoute's Letters: The Rhetoric of Sexuality in a Late Antique Egyptian Monastery.
Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 65(2), 81–97.