…if indeed anatomical equipment was not absolutely determinative of one’s place on the gender spectrum, then it stands to reason that masculinity itself was a tenuous state of existence that required more than possession of a penis. According to Maud Gleason’s assessment, ‘‘manhood was not a state to be definitively and irrefutably achieved, but something always under construction and constantly open to scrutiny.’’ While there is little indication that men actually became (or thought they could become) women, numerous sources do betray an awareness of the possibility of gender slippage, the very real danger of sliding into the much-maligned mediating category of effeminate male, of being infected with, in the words of Philo of Alexandria, the ‘‘disease of effemination’’ (noson the¯leian).

Jason von Ehrenkrook, “Effeminacy in the Shadow of Empire: The Politics of Transgressive Gender in Josephus’s Bellum Judaicum,”  The Jewish Quarterly Review 101:2 (Spring 2011), 148-149.

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