By Richard Finn OP
Asceticism deploys abstention, self-discipline, and self-denial, to reserve oneself or a group with regards to the divine. either its practices and the cultural beliefs they expressed have been vital to pagans, Jews, Christians of alternative types, and Manichees. Richard Finn provides for the 1st time a mixed learn of the main ascetic traditions, which were formerly misunderstood by means of being studied individually. He examines how humans abstained from nutrients, drink, sexual family members, sleep, and wealth; what they intended through their behaviour; and the way they prompted others within the Graeco-Roman international. by contrast historical past, the booklet charts the increase of monasticism in Egypt, Asia Minor, Syria, and North Africa, assessing the an important position performed via the third-century exegete, Origen, and asks why monasticism constructed so variously in numerous areas.
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Extra info for Asceticism in the Graeco-Roman World (Key Themes in Ancient History)
Conclusions This chapter has sketched versions of asceticism practised and idealized by pagans in the Graeco-Roman world which are largely unfamiliar from the perspective of Judaeo-Christian tradition. Cynics won a limited if contested license to flout the conventions governing food, sexual activity, and deference to authority, thereby asserting the wisdom of a life lived in strict accordance with nature; they could fashion for themselves a characteristic identity by their counter-cultural practices.
Foucault, The Use of Pleasure, –. Dudley, History, . Crates, nos. –, in Giannantoni, Socraticorum reliquiae, vol. i, –. The Cynic poet Cercidas (fl. Asceticism reduced need to a minimum and made possible greater self-sufficiency (autarkeia). Propaganda recounted how Diogenes had encountered on the road the Olympic victor Cicermus whom he converted to the Cynic life. Diogenes exhorted the boxer to pursue what was really honourable and ‘to be steadfast (katerein) under blows, not of puny men, but of the spirit, not through leather straps or fists, but through poverty, disrepute, lowly birth, and exile.
Dudley, History, and . . -O. (), . Scholars dispute the existence of diatribe as a distinct literary genre. Cf. F. G. Downing, Cynics and Christian Origins (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, ), –. Asceticism in the Graeco-Roman world of studies in logic and physics provided measures against which others fell short, convicted of folly, luxury, and vain learning. Lucian’s The Runaways delights in turning this weapon against the Cynics themselves. How widely or consistently Cynic asceticism was adopted in the imperial period is therefore unclear.