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By Vincent L. Wimbush, Richard Valantasis

From meditation and fasting to celibacy and anchoritism, the ascetic impulse has been an everlasting and complicated phenomenon all through historical past. delivering a sweeping view of this elusive and arguable element of spiritual lifestyles and tradition, Asceticism seems to be on the ascetic impulse from a special vantage aspect. Cross-cultural, cross-religious, and multidisciplinary in nature, those essays supply a huge old and comparative standpoint on asceticism--a topic not often studied outdoor the context of person spiritual traditions. The paintings represents the enter of greater than 40 preeminent students in a variety of fields and disciplines, and analyzes asceticism from antiquity to the current in eu, close to jap, African, Asian, and North American settings. Asceticism is prepared round 4 significant topics that lower throughout spiritual traditions: origins and meanings of asceticism, which explores the motivations and impulses at the back of ascetic behaviors; hermeneutics of asceticism, which seems at texts and rhetorics and their presuppositions; aesthetics of asceticism, which records responses evoked by means of ascetic impulses and practices, in addition to the humanities of ascetic practices themselves; and politics of asceticism, which analyzes the ability dynamics of asceticism, in particular as regards gender, cultural, and ethnic alterations. serious responses to the key papers make sure the concentration upon the subjects and unify the dialogue. common addresses on large philosophical and historical-interpretive concerns recommend the significance of the topic of asceticism for wide-ranging yet severe cultural-critical discussions. An Appendix, Ascetica Miscellanea, comprises six brief papers on provocative subject matters no longer regarding the 4 significant issues, and a panel dialogue at the practices and meanings of asceticism in modern non secular lifestyles and tradition. a particular bibliography and an index also are integrated. the single entire reference paintings on asceticism with a multicultural, multireligious, and multidisciplinary viewpoint, Asceticism deals a version not just for an knowing of a most vital measurement of spiritual lifestyles, but additionally for destiny interdisciplinary research quite often.

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2 (London/Boston, 1981), p. 93. 54. 15, ed. Jean Meyendorff, Spictlegmm Sacrum Lovaniense 30-31 (Louvain, 1959), pp. 367, 723. 55. Practicus 81, ed. Guillaumont, p. " 56. Cf. Owen Chadwick, John Cassian, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 1968), p. 102. 57. On Spiritual Knowledge and Discrimination 17, trans. , vol. 2, p. 258. 58. Ladder 27, trans. Luibheid and Russell, pp. 263, 269-270. 59. The Diary of a Russian Priest, pp. 177, 188 (translation altered). 15 2 The Howl of Oedipus, the Cry of Heloise: From Asceticism to Postmodern Ethics Edith Wyschogrod Asceticism is a complex of widely varying practices, beliefs and motives that have appeared in particular historical and cultural contexts.

Sacrament and Image: Essays in the Christian Understanding of Man, The Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius (London, 1967), p. 41. 45. The Lausiac History 2:17. 46. Apophthegmata, Poemen 184. 47. , trans. Amar, in Wimbush, Ascetic Behavior, pp. 70, 72. 48. Life of Antony 14 (PG 26. 864C-865A). On the significance of this passage, see Chitty, The Desert a City, p. 4. 49. Life of Antony 93 (PG 26. 973 AB). 50. See Kallistos Ware, "The Meaning of 'Pathos' in Abba Isaias and Theodoret of Cyrus," in Studia Patnstica 20 (Leuven, 1989), pp.

It is a form of natural asceticism to sleep on the ground, whereas it is unnatural to sleep on a bed of nails. It is a form of natural asceticism to live in a hut or a cave, instead of a well-appointed house, whereas it is unnatural to chain oneself to a rock or to stand permanently on top of a pillar. To refrain from marriage and sexual activity is natural asceticism; to castrate oneself is unnatural. 38 Incidentally, such actions surely display a curious disrespect to God as creator; for we are not to disfigure the gifts that God confers on us.

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