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Le sacrifice antique

Véronique Mehl
Pierre Brulé

Quatrième partie. Stratégies sacrificielles

Sacrifice and Ascesis : the Taboo of Meat and the Holy Child*

Chiara Cremonesi

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Demons, the sick and the obsessed : these are the deuteragonists in the drama staged in the Ancient Life of Symeon the Younger, their cries resounding in a multitude of voices, their physicalness defining the urgent need for answers in a space that is condendus : evil here is never an abstract presence, it is broken into the many ills defeated by the stylite in his daily exercise of power, amidst a throng of figures anticipating the most imaginative t riptychs by Hieronymus Bosch.

The Ancient Life of Symeon the Younger we here refer to, is the oldest remaining biography of this Christian ascetic who lived in the Antioch region between 521 and 592 AD :1 stylitism, as an ascetic bios entailing stasis on the top of a pillar or on several pillars of increasing height–from which the ascetic does not descend, if not under exceptional conditions–,2 was by then an established practice not only in Syria but also in the heart of the empire, in the Byzantium banlieue,3 where none other than an ...

© Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2008

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