Chapter

Ascetic Practice

Patrik Hagman

in The Asceticism of Isaac of Nineveh

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199593194
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595677 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593194.003.0006

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Ascetic Practice

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In this chapter, four of the most important ascetic techniques are analysed and interpreted. Using Victor Turner's ritual theory, solitariness and fasting are seen to be about the ascetics’ struggle to separate themselves from the world, while vigils and prayer is more about entering into communion with a new community, made up of the saints and the angels. In this way ascetic life can be understood as a life long rite of passage, where the ascetic functions as a liminal character who points towards a different way of being. By paying particular attention to the way various ascetic behaviors would be perceived in Isaac's own time, the cultural logic of ascetic practices is explored.

Keywords: fasting; prayer; vigils; solitariness; ritual theory; Victor Turner

Chapter.  23522 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Christianity

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