He will be speaking on "The Grammar of Sanctity: Reading Gender in the Greek, Latin, and Syriac Versions of the Life of Euphrosyne who was called Smaragdus."
Tea at 4 p.m. in the Quita Woodward Room, Old Library.
In the Life of Euphrosyne, Euphrosyne escapes from an unwanted marriage proposal by disguising herself as a eunuch named Smaragdus and then living in a male monastery for thirty-eight years. Moments before death, however, the protagonist reveals herself as Euphrosyne to her father, who had unknowingly visited the saint for spiritual guidance. In this paper, Kuper discusses the literary strategies used by the author of the Greek original to complicate and draw attention to the saint’s gender identity. Most notably, when Euphrosyne adopts the name Smaragdus, the gender pronouns shift from feminine to masculine in all layers of the narrative. Euphrosyne, it seems, is no more; he is Smaragdus. Kuper then shows how the Greek manuscript tradition and its Latin and Syriac counterparts can help reconstruct a lively conversation about the identity of the saint, and he sets this conversation within its late antique context through comparanda from ancient grammars, theological commentaries, Roman law, and other monastic texts.