1st Edition

Asceticism and the New Testament

Edited By Leif E. Vaage, Vincent L. Wimbush Copyright 1999
    460 Pages
    by Routledge

    336 Pages
    by Routledge

    As a complex historical phenomenon, asceticism raises the question about ordinary impulses, the orientation and practices, the power dynamics and politics with transcendental religions. The question of the role of asceticism has often been overlooked in examining the New Testament. This book is both comprehensive and comparative in its representation of how the question of asceticism might reorder the way in which we interpret the New Testament. Looking at the New Testament from an ascetic perspective asks questions about issues including the milieu of Jesus and Paul, and the social practices of self-denial, and considers the Scriptural texts in light of a desire to separate oneself from the world. In interpreting all the books in the New Testament, this collection is the first effort to take seriously the crucial role played by asceticism--and its detractors--in the formation of the New Testament.

    Leif E. Vaage and Vincent L. Wimbush--Introduction PART ONE: (ALL ABOUT) JESUS Anthony J. Saldarini--Asceticism and the Gospel of Matthew Mary Ann Tolbert--Asceticism and Mark's Gospel Stephen J. Patterson--Askesis and the Early Jewish Tradition Susan R. Garrett--Beloved Physician of the Soul?: Luke as Advocate for Ascetic Practice Abraham Smith--Full of Spirit and Wisdom: Luke's Portrait of Stephen (Acts 6:1-8:1a) as a Man of Self-Mastery Turid Karlsen Seim--Children of the Resurrection: Perspectives on Angelic Asceticism in Luke-Acts David Rensberger--Asceticism and the Gospel of John John S. Kloppenborg--Making Sense of Difference: Asceticism, Gospel Literature and the Jesus Tradition PART TWO: PAUL (THE REAL THING) Ronald F. Hock--God's Will at Thessalonica and Greco-Roman Asceticism Elizabeth A. Castelli--Disciples of Difference: Asceticism and History in Paul Robin Scroggs--Paul the Prisoner: Political Asceticism in the Letter to the Philippians Robin Scroggs--The Letter to Philemon and Asceticism Richard Valantasis--Competing Ascetic Subjectivities in the Letter Neil Elliott--Asceticism Among the Weak and Strong in Romans 14-15 PART THREE: IMITATIO PAULI Jennifer Wright Knust-- 2 Thessalonians and the Discipline of Work Margaret Y. MacDonald--Citizens of Heaven and Earth: Asceticism and Social Integration in Colossians and Ephesians Gail Corrington Streete--Askesis and Resistance in the Pastoral Letters Will Love--Where Is This World Headed?: Irony, World Renunciation and the Pauline Corpus PART FOUR: UN-PAUL Pamela Eisenbaum--The Virtue of Suffering, the Necessity of Discipline, and the Pursuit of Perfection in Hebrews Alicia Batten--An Asceticism of Resistance in James L. Wm. Countryman--Asceticism or Household Morality?: 1 and 2 Peter and Jude L. Wm. Countryman--Asceticism in the Johannine Letters? William Klassen--The Ascetic Way: Reflections on Peace, Justice and Vengeance in the Apocalypse of John Alison Keith and Leif E. Vaage--Imperial Asceticism: Discipline of Domination Leif E. Vaage and Vincent L. Wimbush--Epilogue: The New Testament and Asceticism


    Leif E. Vaage is Associate Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis of Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology of the University of Toronto. He is the author of Galilean Upstarts (1994). Vincent L. Wimbush is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Union Theological Seminary. He has edited several books and is the author of Paul the Worldly Ascetic (1987).

    "...Asceticism in the New Testament enriches our understanding both of the biblical text and of the meaning of ascetic practice. The discussions put us into the Jewish and Greco-Roman world and draw out the implications of Christianity's fundamental objectives as generally countercultural with a strong call to virtue. This is an important contribution to the fields of scripture, theology, and spirituality. The style is erudite but not esoteric, and is agreeable to professional and layperson alike. I recommend this book with great enthusiasm." -- Joseph F. Wimmer, New Theology Review
    "A remarkable and essential collection." -- Fred Burnett, Religious Studies Review
    "... the volume contains several essays that open the reader to new exegetical possiblities. It also paves the way for a reassessment of the role of asceticism throughout the entire Christian tradition." -- Kenneth D. Snyder, University of St. Thomas
    "...it offers a fresh and truthful way of reading the New Testament." -- Christianity Today