Ascetic Behavior in Greco-Roman Antiquity / Edition 1

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Overview

“At once profoundly counter-cultural and related to secular society, ascetic movements left rich, fascinating, and often difficult to interpret literary documents. The twenty-eight texts translated in Ascetic Behavior in Greco-Roman Antiquity are an invaluable resource for reconstructing the ascetic movements of the ancient world in all their diversity, volatility, and contemporary excitement. These texts reveal not only the assumptions, values, and teachings of ascetic authors but also the practices by which ascetic women and men wove these commitments into their bodies and life-styles. As a sourcebook, this volume contributes generously—across religious and philosophical persuasions—to our knowledge of asceticism in antiquity.” —Margaret R. Miles, Harvard Divinity School

“The number and variety of writings included in this volume give the reader a fine first-hand sense of the various phenomena that go under the rubric of asceticism.”—Ronald F. hock, University of Southern California

“Ascetic Behavior in Greco-Roman Antiquity brings together a collection of fascinating texts dealing with a subject of both historical and contemporary interest. A number of these texts have never before been available in English translation, which makes the collection doubly welcome. Ancient traditions, Christian and other, of asceticism are still deeply interwoven into modern Western attitudes about the body and sexuality. Too often we discuss (or dismiss) asceticism in broad terms, with the presupposition that we know exactly what it is and means. These texts reveal something of its actual diversity, both in practice and in theory. They offer the attentive reader new insight into antiquity and perhaps new ways of asking questions about modern issues as well.” —L. William Countryman, The Church Divinity School of the Pacific

“In presenting a selection of twenty-eight texts in translation with introductory essays, Vincent L. Wimbush and his co-authors have produced the first book on asceticism that does full justice to the varieties of ascetic behavior in the Greco-Roman world. The texts, representative of different religious cults, philosophical schools, and geographical locations, are organized by literary genre into five parts that give a fascinating insight into the interplay of different ascetic practices and motives. Texts and accompanying introductions help the reader to outline the questions and problems linked with the study of such a variegated phenomenon, instead of giving simple statements and solution. This highly useful approach emphasizes the differences as well as the similarities of the various types of ascetic piety in practice and theory and is therefore a most valuable contribution to the study of the Greco-Roman world in general. This book is an indispensable tool for ancient historians, patristic scholars, theologians, and social scientists, and will certainly be a widely used textbook in various disciplines.” —han J. W. Drijvers, University of Groningen

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Product Details

Meet the Author


Vincent L. Wimbush is Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of Paul the Worldly Ascetic; editor of Ascetic Behavior in Greco-Roman Antiquity: A Sourcebook; Discursive Formations, Ascetic Piety, and The Interpretation of Early Christian Literature; and co-editor of Asceticism.
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