Barry Stocker’s reading continues – lecture 5 of Subjectivité et Vérité.
Foucault claims that the civilisation that can be designated Christian (the key term here surely), western, or European is unique in its attempt to codify sexuality rather than than use the kind of continuum of evaluations, which exist in Artemidorus and predominated before Christianity. The codification reaches its greatest intensity some time after Artemidorus, from the VIIth to XIIth centuries, and is tied to auricular confession (as in the spoken confession of sins to a priest in Catholic Christianity). The codification is all encompassing including religious commandments, civil law, acts, relations, thoughts, temptations, marriage, and which develops into medical norms.
Foucault criticises the idea of a gradual pagan move towards the kind of morality advocated by Christianity, and argues that Stoicism, and other philosophies, and all the ways of approaching ethics (conduct of living, relation of self with itself in Foucault) builds up another view within, or alongside, existing paganism…
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