Deborah Niederer Saxon's research while affiliated with Butler University and other places

Publications (6)

Chapter
This chapter discusses Foucault’s argument regarding the importance of the care of the self for understanding ancient history as well as key points in the work of his conversation partner, Pierre Hadot, relating this to martyrdom, a topic that crops up repeatedly in the writings of early Christ movements. It also explores the compelling, theoretica...
Chapter
This chapter highlights the way that two ancient texts of early Christ groups represent women in terms of the care of the self. The Gospel of Mary portrays its main character as an unwavering figure who functions as a strong leader. She engages in parrhēsia, or frank speech, a practice related to self-care. Mary also describes an “ascent of the sou...
Chapter
This chapter juxtaposes the discourse of martyrdom in the texts discussed in Chap. 3 with an examination of this same topic in newly discovered works from Nag Hammadi and other places in Egypt. Irenaeus and others derisively dismissed the “Gnostics” as lacking in the courage of martyrs such as Ignatius. However, until recently, scholars have not be...
Chapter
This chapter utilizes the insights of Elizabeth Castelli in thinking about the process of martyrdom—not just the final act of dying itself but of all that leads up to it—as a way of going about the care of the self, particularly in terms of what Foucault calls the “technology of self-writing. It explores the way that not only the Letters of Ignatiu...
Chapter
This chapter unpacks Foucault’s last two hours of lectures at the Collège de France in 1984 shortly before his death. He traces the way that the meaning of parrhēsia, one specific practice that is a part of the care of the self, changes over time, splitting into two different directions. Foucault calls them the “poles” of parrhēsia. In the Christia...
Article
This book presents the first three Christian centuries through the lens of what Foucault called “the care of the self.” This lens reveals a rich variation among early Christ movements by illuminating their practices instead of focusing on what we anachronistically assume to have been their beliefs. A deep analysis of the discourse of martyrdom demo...