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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The makings of an Average Joe : Joseph of Nazareth, gender and the everyday in early Christian discourse Glessner, Justin M.


This study explores the quotidian making(s) of men in three, early blocks of (narrative) discourse about Joseph of Nazareth—from the Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of Matthew, and the Protevangelium of James (PJ). Although Matthew’s ‘just man’ (δίκαιος, Mt. 1.19), Joseph was also, after all, ‘just a man’—the ‘average Joe’—especially when compared with other ‘superior’, if also perhaps more volatile, exemplars of early Christian masculine comportment, such as, say, the hero martyr, the ‘manly eunuch’, or the male woman. Without denying the importance of analysis and critique of gender/ing in such highly visible, spectacular performances, I offer here an aligned study revealing deep instabilities inherent even (or especially) in seemingly ordinary or ‘everyday’ citations of ‘normative’ masculine subjectivities in ancient religious narratives. I read not merely for gender in ‘the everyday’ but for the gendering of the everyday; in other words, how was ‘everydayness’ shaped into gendered experience and how was this related to early Christian group identity formation? More specifically, I explore here the proposal that the (re)fashioning of the earliest stories and characterizations of Joseph represent various literary attempts at crafting what the ‘everyday man’ —the ‘average Joe’—should be: paradigmatic, though also unstable and at times competing, models of/for quotidian, normative, ‘everyday’ masculine subjectivity.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada