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Title: Asceticism and Anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement
Author: Behr, John
Publisher: Oxford University Press; Publication Date: 2000
Hardcover; ISBN: 9780198270003
Volumes: 1; Pages: 280
List Price in Cloth: $175.00 Our price: $139.99
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This book examines the ways in which Irenaeus and Clement understood what it means to be human. By exploring these writings from within their own theological perspectives, Dr Behr also offers a theological critique of the prevailing approach to the asceticism of Late Antiquity. Writing before monasticism became the dominant paradigm of Christian asceticism, Irenaeus and Clement afford fascinating glimpses of alternative approaches. For Irenaeus, asceticism is the expression of man living the life of God in all dimensions of the body, that which is most characteristically human and in the image of God. Human existence as a physical being includes sexuality as a permanent part of the framework within which males and females grow towards God. In contrast, Clement depicts asceticism as man's attempt at a godlike life to protect the rational element, that which is distinctively human and in the image of God, from any possible disturbance and threat, or from the vulnerability of dependency, especially of a physical or sexual nature. Here human sexuality is strictly limited by the finality of procreation and abandoned in the resurrection. By paying careful attention to these two writers, Dr Behr offers challenging material for the continuing task of understanding ourselves as human beings.ContentsAbbreviations Introduction Pt. I Irenaeus of Lyons: From Breath to Spirit Ch. 1 The Economy of God I The Handiwork of God II The Temporality of the Economy III The Sign of Jonah IV The Unfolding of the Economy V At the End, the Beginning Ch. 2 The Human Formation Ch. 3 Human Growth Pt. II Clement of Alexandria: Tiptoeing on the Earth Ch. 4 Anthropology Ch. 5 Rebirth and Christian Life Ch. 6 The Higher Christian Life: gnosis, apatheia, agape Conclusion Bibliography Index of Citations General index"Behr's work demonstrates knowledge of and the respect for the complexities of the thought of both Irenaeus and Clement." Journal of Early Christian Studies.