Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Beyond SurgeryInjury, Healing, and Religion at an Ethiopian Hospital$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Anita Hannig

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226457154

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226457321.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 May 2020

The Pure and the Pious: Flow, Containment, and Transgression

The Pure and the Pious: Flow, Containment, and Transgression

Chapter:
(p.64) Two The Pure and the Pious: Flow, Containment, and Transgression
Source:
Beyond Surgery
Author(s):

Anita Hannig

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226457321.003.0004

This chapter details the ways women with fistula manage their affliction on a physical level and in their capacity as pious subjects belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It explores the techniques and strategies they deploy to negotiate their continued participation in the secular and religious life of their communities. Specifically, it asks how women with fistula try to address some of the religious challenges wrought by their injured bodies. Among Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, unchecked bodily flows are strongly associated with notions of profanity, and bodily orifices are subject to strict forms of self-judgment when it comes to one’s ability to approach the sacred. Since the uncontrollable flow of their excretions makes such self-mastery impossible for women suffering from fistula, most of them refrain from entering a church while they are leaking. Yet, this chapter contends that there exist multiple other avenues of devotion in Ethiopian Orthodoxy that allow fistula sufferers—just like other lay members of society—to navigate times of compromised purity. Pointing to the gradated nature of the sacred in Orthodox Christianity, the chapter shows, in fact, that recognition of the body’s imperfection is built into the very system of Orthodox belief and practice.

Keywords:   Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, embodied piety, obstetric fistula, purity, containment, profanity, the sacred, transgression, fasting, holy water

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.