The Asceticism of Fasting

Eliezer Diamond

in Holy Men and Hunger Artists

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780195137507
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849772 | DOI:
The Asceticism of Fasting

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This chapter surveys the role of fasting in biblical, Second Temple, and nonrabbinic post-Destruction Judaism, before discussing the rabbinic fasting itself. There is little evidence for ascetic fasting in the biblical period. It is significant to remember that the rabbinic movement took shape in the decades following the Great War with Rome, the sacking of Jerusalem, and the destruction of its Temple when considering the sages and their adoption of fasting as an ascetic practice. Fasting as mourning, fasting as sacrifice, and fasting as naziritism are the three distinct stimuli to fasting among Palestinian Jews generally, and rabbinic Jews specifically. The fasting that is associated specifically with individual rabbis or rabbinic circles is described.

Keywords: rabbinic fasting; asceticism; Second Temple; post-Destruction Judaism

Chapter.  14430 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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