Chapter

Saint or Sinner? Rabbinic Attitudes toward Fasting and Asceticism in Palestine and Babylonia in Late Antiquity

Eliezer Diamond

in Holy Men and Hunger Artists

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780195137507
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849772 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137507.003.0006
Saint or Sinner? Rabbinic Attitudes toward Fasting and Asceticism in Palestine and Babylonia in Late Antiquity

Show Summary Details

Preview

This chapter turns to an endeavor that is both attainable and useful: a comparison of Babylonian and Palestinian rabbinic attitudes toward fasting and asceticism. An examination of the evidence suggests a significant difference between Palestine and Babylonia in relation to asceticism. The chapter also examines the evidence concerning fasting and then considers sexual asceticism. Finally, it speculates upon the possible reasons for this difference in attitude. Further evidence that regular fasting was not an integral part of Babylonian Jewish religious life is shown. The summary of some of the findings of Michael Satlow on surveying Palestinian and Babylonian sources dealing with sex within marriage is also given. It appears plausible that Persian culture's basic hostility toward asceticism helped create a negative or at least ambivalent attitude toward fasting and sexual asceticism among the Babylonian sages.

Keywords: rabbinic attitude; fasting; sexual asceticism; Palestine; Babylonia

Chapter.  6063 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.