By Richard Finn OP

Asceticism deploys abstention, strength of will, and self-denial, to reserve oneself or a group relating to the divine. either its practices and the cultural beliefs they expressed have been very important to pagans, Jews, Christians of alternative types, and Manichees. Richard Finn offers for the 1st time a mixed research of the key ascetic traditions, that have been formerly misunderstood through being studied individually. He examines how humans abstained from nutrition, drink, sexual kinfolk, sleep, and wealth; what they intended by way of their behaviour; and the way they encouraged others within the Graeco-Roman global. by contrast history, the publication charts the increase of monasticism in Egypt, Asia Minor, Syria, and North Africa, assessing the an important function performed via the third-century exegete, Origen, and asks why monasticism constructed so variously in several areas.

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D. Macleod, Luciani Opera,  vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, –), vol. ii, . –. Crates, no. , in G. ), Socraticorum reliquiae,  vols. (Rome: Ateneo, ), vol. i, ; Teles, A Comparison of Poverty and Wealth, ed. O. Hense, Teletis Reliquiae, nd edn (T¨ubingen, ), .  Crates, fr.  = no.  in Giannantoni, Socraticorum reliquiae, vol. i, . Ibid. -Anacharsis, Ep. , tr. A. McGuire, in Malherbe, Cynic Epistles, . For the dating, cf. Malherbe, Cynic Epistles, –. -Crates, Ep.

Epicureans likewise embraced a frugality which might surprise us.  He further held that self-sufficiency (autarkeia) was worth striving for, not because people were always to make do with what was simple and cheap, but so that they could manage on the basics when necessary.  a pythagorean tradition? Porphyry, as we have seen, appealed to the authority of the sixth-century sage Pythagoras and his followers rather than to Diogenes. To what extent, then, was there a Pythagorean ascetic tradition?

M. Winterbottom, M. ’ P. Brown, Authority and the Sacred: Aspects of the Christianization of the Roman World (Cambridge University Press, ), .  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.

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