Chapter

Introduction

John Behr

in Asceticism and Anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780198270003
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683862 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198270003.003.0001

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Introduction

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Asceticism addresses what we are as human beings and asks questions regarding the appropriate ways of realizing this in our lives. Christian asceticism is a significant part of modern Western civilization. Is Christian asceticism, though, a corruption of true Christianity? Is it intrinsic to Christian existence? How is it different from other types of asceticism? Christianity's ideals regarding virginity, abstinence, continence and other such issues have become issues because of its different representations and interpretations; these ideals have marked Christians as a ‘third race’. The specificity and distinctiveness of Christianity is found not in their practices, but in the ‘constitution of their citizenship’. This book looks into the continuity or lack of continuity between pagan Christian morality through investigating their conceptions of morality from philosophical and socio-historical viewpoints. Specifically, this book concentrates on Irenaeus of Lyons and Clement of Alexandria's understandings on asceticism.

Keywords: asceticism; Christianity; ideals; third race; constitution; citizenship; morality; pagan; Irenaeus; Clement

Chapter.  8594 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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