Document Type





Early Christianity, Judaism, hagiography


Biblical Studies | Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


This essay explores representations of fleshly excess in Christian and Jewish texts of the late fourth and fifth centuries, from the cosmically-scaled figures of Adam and the resurrected Christ in Genesis Rabbah and Augustine's City of God, on the one hand, to the hagiographical portraits of fat rabbis and monks in the tractate Baba Metsia of the Babylonian Talmud and the Lausiac History of Palladius, on the other. The Platonic figure of the khora is initially invoked to frame two main arguments: first, that these late ancient texts discover transcendence within, rather than outside of, the boundlessness of materiality; and, second, that this incarnational tendency has intriguing implications for practices and theories of representation and imagination.

Additional Information

Copyright © The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Journal of Early Christian Studies, Volume 17, Issue 2, Summer 2009, pp. 247-265.