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Asceticism - Vincent L. Wimbush

Paperback

Published: 1st March 2002
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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.

"Forty-two beautifully printed essays....A well-nigh inexhaustible source for study and reflection, it belongs in every theological, and especially monastic, library."--Religious Studies Review "An important book...for libraries with holdings in religious studies and the history of religions."--Choice "...a wealth of information, insight, and intellectual provocation that will stimulate the thinking of many scholars, particularly those who study Christianity. It is required reading for any historian who studies asceticism, spirituality, or piety in Christianity--or, for that matter, in any religious tradition."--Church History "This monumental collection of essays adds new weight to the evidence for a surprisingly vigorous and growing interest in religious asceticism....Wimbush and Valantasis are to be commended for a remarkable accomplishment, both in staging a conference of such rich diversity and high quality and for making its results available in a handsomely edited book."--The Catholic Historical Review "Forty-two beautifully printed essays....A well-nigh inexhaustible source for study and reflection, it belongs in every theological, and especially monastic, library."--Religious Studies Review "An important book...for libraries with holdings in religious studies and the history of religions."--Choice "...a wealth of information, insight, and intellectual provocation that will stimulate the thinking of many scholars, particularly those who study Christianity. It is required reading for any historian who studies asceticism, spirituality, or piety in Christianity--or, for that matter, in any religious tradition."--Church History "This monumental collection of essays adds new weight to the evidence for a surprisingly vigorous and growing interest in religious asceticism....Wimbush and Valantasis are to be commended for a remarkable accomplishment, both in staging a conference of such rich diversity and high quality and for making its results available in a handsomely edited book."--The Catholic Historical Review

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Contributors
Introduction
The Way of the Ascetics: Negative or Affirmative?p. 3
The Howl of Oedipus, the Cry of Heloise: From Asceticism to Postmodern Ethicsp. 16
Women and Asceticism in Late Antiquity: The Refusal of Status and Genderp. 33
Christian Asceticism and the Emergence of the Monastic Traditionp. 49
Asceticism and Mysticism in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Agesp. 58
Practical, Theoretical, and Cultural Tracings in Late Ancient Asceticism: Response to the Three Preceding Papersp. 75
Rejecting the Body, Refining the Body: Some Remarks on the Development of Platonist Asceticismp. 80
Primitive Christianity as an Ascetic Movementp. 88
Tibetan Buddhist Perspectives on Asceticismp. 108
Trajectories of Ascetic Behavior: Response to the Three Preceding Papersp. 119
Asceticism and Anthropology: Enkrateia and "Double Creation" in Early Christianityp. 127
Ascetic Closure and the End of Antiquityp. 147
Pain, Power, and Personhood: Ascetic Behavior in the Ancient Mediterraneanp. 162
Asceticism - Audience and Resistance: Response to the Three Preceding Papersp. 178
Deconstruction of the Body in Indian Asceticismp. 188
Ascetic Moods in Greek and Latin Literaturep. 211
Asceticism in the Church of Syria: The Hermeneutics of Early Syrian Monasticismp. 220
Ascetic Moods, Hermeneutics, and Bodily Deconstruction: Response to the Three Preceding Papersp. 246
The Founding of the New Laurap. 267
Dreaming the Body: An Aesthetics of Asceticismp. 281
Mirabai as Wife and Yogip. 301
Understanding Asceticism - Testing a Typology: Response to the Three Preceding Papersp. 320
The Significance of Food in Hebraic-African Thought and the Role of Fasting in the Ethiopian Churchp. 329
Simeon the New Theologian: An Ascetical Theology for Middle-Byzantine Monksp. 343
Asceticism and the Compensations of Artp. 357
Sensuality and Mysticism - The Islamic Tradition: Response to the Three Preceding Papersp. 369
Asceticism and the Moral Good: A Tale of Two Pleasuresp. 375
Gender and Uses of the Ascetic in an Islamist Textp. 395
Maximus the Confessor on the Affections in Historical Perspectivep. 412
Toward a Politics of Asceticism: Response to the Three Preceding Papersp. 424
Renunciation and Gender Issues in the Sri Vaisnava Communityp. 443
Body Politic among the Brides of Christ: Paul and the Origins of Christian Sexual Renunciationp. 459
Athanasius of Alexandria and the Ascetic Movement of His Timep. 479
The Politics of Piety: Response to the Three Preceding Papersp. 493
The Ascetic Impulse in Religious Life: A General Responsep. 505
The Battle for the Body in Manichaean Asceticismp. 513
The Allegorization of Gender: Plato and Philo on Spiritual Childbearingp. 520
Shame and Sex in Late Antique Judaismp. 535
A Theory of the Social Function of Asceticismp. 544
Psychophysiological and Comparative Analysis of Ascetico-Meditational Discipline: Toward a New Theory of Asceticismp. 553
Flagellation and the French Counter-Reformation: Asceticism, Social Discipline, and the Evolution of a Penitential Culturep. 576
Practices and Meanings of Asceticism in Contemporary Religious Life and Culture: A Panel Discussionp. 588
Selected Bibliographyp. 607
Indexp. 623
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195151381
ISBN-10: 0195151380
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 672
Published: 1st March 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 19.2 x 23.5  x 3.4
Weight (kg): 0.52