Reading Renunciation: Asceticism and Scripture in Early Christianity

Overview

A study of how asceticism was promoted through Biblical interpretation, Reading Renunciation uses contemporary literary theory to unravel the writing strategies of the early Christian authors. Not a general discussion of early Christian teachings on celibacy and marriage, the book is a close examination, in the author's words, of how "the Fathers' axiology of abstinence informed their interpretation of Scriptural texts and incited the production of ascetic meaning."

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Overview

A study of how asceticism was promoted through Biblical interpretation, Reading Renunciation uses contemporary literary theory to unravel the writing strategies of the early Christian authors. Not a general discussion of early Christian teachings on celibacy and marriage, the book is a close examination, in the author's words, of how "the Fathers' axiology of abstinence informed their interpretation of Scriptural texts and incited the production of ascetic meaning."

Elizabeth Clark begins with a survey of scholarship concerning early Christian asceticism that is designed to orient the nonspecialist. Section Two is organized around potentially troubling issues posed by Old Testament texts that demanded skillful handling by ascetically inclined Christian exegetes. The third section, "Reading Paul," focuses on the hermeneutical problems raised by I Corinthians 7, and the Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles.

Elizabeth Clark's remarkable work will be of interest to scholars of late antiquity, religion, literary theory, and history.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Religion - Richard Valantasis
This is a magisterial work. . . . Reading Renunciation will stand the test of scholarly time and remain an essential work in the long tradition of patristic exegesis.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History - Philip Rousseau
[A] scholarly, conscientious and provoking study
From the Publisher

"This is a magisterial work. . . . Reading Renunciation will stand the test of scholarly time and remain an essential work in the long tradition of patristic exegesis."--Richard Valantasis, Journal of Religion

"[A] scholarly, conscientious and provoking study"--Philip Rousseau, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Journal of Religion
This is a magisterial work. . . . Reading Renunciation will stand the test of scholarly time and remain an essential work in the long tradition of patristic exegesis.
— Richard Valantasis
Journal of Ecclesiastical History
[A] scholarly, conscientious and provoking study
— Philip Rousseau
Journal of Religion
This is a magisterial work. . . . Reading Renunciation will stand the test of scholarly time and remain an essential work in the long tradition of patristic exegesis.
— Richard Valantasis
Journal of Religion

This is a magisterial work. . . . Reading Renunciation will stand the test of scholarly time and remain an essential work in the long tradition of patristic exegesis.
— Richard Valantasis
Journal of Ecclesiastical History

[A] scholarly, conscientious and provoking study
— Philip Rousseau
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691005126
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/19/1999
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments xi
Abbreviation List xv
CHAPTER ONE Introduction 3
CHAPTER TWO Asceticism in Late Ancient Christianity 14
Reading for Asceticism
CHAPTER THREE Reading in the Early Christian World 45
CHAPTER FOUR The Profits and Perils of Figurative Exegesis 70
CHAPTER FIVE Exegetical and Rhetorical Strategies for Ascetic Reading 104
CHAPTER SIX Three Models of Reading Renunciation 153
Rejection and Recuperation: The Old Dispensation and the New
CHAPTER SEVEN From Reproduction to Defamilialization 177
CHAPTER EIGHT From Ritual to Askesis 204
CHAPTER NINE The Exegesis of Divorce 233
Reading Paul
CHAPTER TEN I Corinthians 7 in Early Christian Exegesis 259
CHAPTER ELEVEN From Paul to the Pastorals 330
Afterword 371
Bibliograpky 375
Select Index of Biblical Passages 401
Select General Index 409
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