Asceticism (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Vincent L. Wimbush Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins Union Theological Seminary, Richard Valantasis Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins Iliff School of Theology
Oxford University Press, Apr 30, 2002 - Religion - 672 pages
1 Review
From meditation and fasting to celibacy and anchoritism, the ascetic impulse has been an enduring and complex phenomenon throughout history. Offering a sweeping view of this elusive and controversial aspect of religious life and culture, Asceticism looks at the ascetic impulse from a unique vantage point. Cross-cultural, cross-religious, and multidisciplinary in nature, these essays provide a broad historical and comparative perspective on asceticism--a subject rarely studied outside the context of individual religious traditions. The work represents the input of more than forty preeminent scholars in a wide range of fields and disciplines, and analyzes asceticism from antiquity to the present in European, Near Eastern, African, Asian, and North American settings. Asceticism is organized around four major themes that cut across religious traditions: origins and meanings of asceticism, which explores the motivations and impulses behind ascetic behaviors; hermeneutics of asceticism, which looks at texts and rhetorics and their presuppositions; aesthetics of asceticism, which documents responses evoked by ascetic impulses and practices, as well as the arts of ascetic practices themselves; and politics of asceticism, which analyzes the power dynamics of asceticism, especially as regards gender, cultural, and ethnic differences. Critical responses to the major papers ensure the focus upon the themes and unify the discussion. Two general addresses on broad philosophical and historical-interpretive issues suggest the importance of the subject of asceticism for wide-ranging but serious cultural-critical discussions. An Appendix, Ascetica Miscellanea, includes six short papers on provocative topics not related to the four major themes, and a panel discussion on the practices and meanings of asceticism in contemporary religious life and culture. A selected bibliography and an index are also included. The only comprehensive reference work on asceticism with a multicultural, multireligious, and multidisciplinary perspective, Asceticism offers a model not only for an understanding of a most important dimension of religious life, but also for future interdisciplinary study in general.
  

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Contents

The Way of the Ascetics Negative or Affirmative?
3
The Howl of Oedipus the Cry of Heloise From Asceticism to Postmodern Ethics
16
Women and Asceticism in Late Antiquity The Refusal of Status and Gender
33
Christian Asceticism and the Emergence of the Monastic Tradition
49
Asceticism and Mysticism in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
58
Practical Theoretical and Cultural Tracings in Late Ancient Asceticism Response to the Three Preceding Papers
75
Rejecting the Body Refining the Body Some Remarks on the Development of Platonist Asceticism
80
Primitive Christianity as an Ascetic Movement
88
Simeon the New Theologian An Ascetical Theology for MiddleByzantine Monks
343
Asceticism and the Compensations of Art
357
Sensuality and Mysticism The Islamic Tradition Response to the Three Preceding Papers
369
Asceticism and the Moral Good A Tale of Two Pleasures
375
Gender and Uses of the Ascetic in an Islamist Text
395
Maximus the Confessor on the Affections in Historical Perspective
412
Toward a Politics of Asceticism Response to the Three Preceding Papers
424
Renunciation and Gender Issues in the Sri Vaisnava Community
443

Tibetan Buddhist Perspectives on Asceticism
108
Trajectories of Ascetic Behavior Response to the Three Preceding Papers
119
Asceticism and Anthropology Enkrateia and Double Creation in Early Christianity
127
Ascetic Closure and the End of Antiquity
147
Pain Power and Personhood Ascetic Behavior in the Ancient Mediterranean
162
AsceticismAudience and Resistance Response to the Three Preceding Papers
178
Deconstruction of the Body in Indian Asceticism
188
Ascetic Moods in Greek and Latin Literature
211
Asceticism in the Church of Syria The Hermeneutics of Early Syrian Monasticism
220
Ascetic Moods Hermeneutics and Bodily Deconstruction Response to the Three Preceding Papers
246
The Founding of the New Laura
267
Dreaming the Body An Aesthetics of Asceticism
281
Mirabai as Wife and Yogi
301
Understanding AsceticismTesting a Typology Response to the Three Preceding Papers
320
The Significance of Food in HebraicAfrican Thought and the Role of Fasting in the Ethiopian Church
329
Body Politic among the Brides of Christ Paul and the Origins of Christian Sexual Renunciation
459
Athanasius of Alexandria and the Ascetic Movement of His Time
479
The Politics of Piety Response to the Three Preceding Papers
493
The Ascetic Impulse in Religious Life A General Response
505
The Battle for the Body in Manichaean Asceticism
513
The Allegorization of Gender Plato and Philo on Spiritual Childbearing
520
Shame and Sex in Late Antique Judaism
535
A Theory of the Social Function of Asceticism
544
Psychophysiological and Comparative Analysis of AsceticoMeditational Discipline Toward a New Theory of Asceticism
553
Flagellation and the French CounterReformation Asceticism Social Discipline and the Evolution of a Penitential Culture
576
Practices and Meanings of Asceticism in Contemporary Religious Life and Culture A Panel Discussion
588
Selected Bibliography
607
Index
623
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