Document Type

Book Chapter


Religion (CGU)

Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | Biblical Studies | Christianity | Religion


As a student of New Testament and Christian Origins, thus, of the earliest period in the history of early Christianity, I come to the study of asceticism very much in the middle, forced from the beginning to address methodological issues. Very little attention has been paid to asceticism by those scholars who deal with the earliest texts and periods; it is as though the phenomenon did non exist in the first three centuries of the common era. The bulk of the literature on asceticism comes from those scholars whose expertise is in the fourth centuries and beyond. Such literature rarely problematizes or reflects the complexity of the phenomenon that is asceticism. Far too often asceticism is broached as though its meaning and function were static, clear and simple.


This work was presented at the Eleventh International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 1991.

Rights Information

© 1993 Peeters Publishers