Brent D. Shaw, in his very important and influential article “Body/Power/Identity: Passions of the Martyrs,” published in 1996, argues that a new means of self-identification emerges in the late antique period, often denoted by the Greek abstract noun hypomonē (ὑπoμovή, the “endurance of suffering”). The first-century pseudepigraphic text Testament of Job offers evidence for this revaluation of suffering, but Shaw goes on to discover “feminized rhetoric” in this work: a phrase that is too dismissive of the Testament's profeminine content. Feminine rhetoric, despite Shaw's slighting of the idea, is a remarkably precocious feature of the Testament of Job; moreover, the events surrounding the inheritance of Job's three daughters at the end of this text, taken together, probably represent the most explicit example in biblical or apocryphal texts of engagement with what can only be described as feminine language. Not coincidentally, this text also directly fuses ideas of patience with feminine language, so that the Testament of Job and the early passios that feature female protagonists demonstrate the generation of an important tradition (and the generation of a literary genre best called patience literature) in Western culture, where women become famous for patience and endurance just as men can gain honor through exhibiting the traditional manly virtues.

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