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Reading Renunciation: Asceticism and Scripture in Early Christianity (Elizabeth A Clark) Paperback Book, (Princeton University Press, 1999) 9780691005126
Reading Renunciation: Asceticism and Scripture in Early Christianity (Elizabeth A Clark) Paperback Book, (Princeton University Press, 1999) 9780691005126
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Title: Reading Renunciation: Asceticism and Scripture in Early Christianity

Author: Clark, Elizabeth A

Publisher: Princeton University Press; Publication Date: 1999

Paperback; ISBN: 9780691005126

Volumes: 1; Pages: 360

List Price in Paper: $49.95 Our price: $49.95

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A study of how asceticism was promoted through Biblical interpretation, Reading Renunciation uses contemporary literary theory to unravel the writing strategies of the early Christian authors. Not a general discussion of early Christian teachings on celibacy and marriage, the book is a close examination, in the author's words, of how "the Fathers' axiology of abstinence informed their interpretation of Scriptural texts and incited the production of ascetic meaning."Elizabeth Clark begins with a survey of scholarship concerning early Christian asceticism that is designed to orient the nonspecialist. Section Two is organized around potentially troubling issues posed by Old Testament texts that demanded skillful handling by ascetically inclined Christian exegetes. The third section, "Reading Paul," focuses on the hermeneutical problems raised by I Corinthians 7, and the Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles."Elizabeth Clark reveals in devastating detail how the ascetic project came to prevail in the culture wars of early Christianity. By an inventive and selective interpretation of the Scriptural texts, later writers made the texts suit their purpose. Through arguments that are dense, supple and exciting, Clark shows us the church fathers ruthlessly exploitating their own foundation texts. This is a magisterial work by a major scholar."--Averil Cameron, Keble College, University of Oxford"No aspect of the Christian tradition seems more alien to our own sensibilities than the ascetic temper of the late antique Church Fathers. Without diminishing their strangeness, Elizabeth Clark shows us just how they read their Bibles, their bodies, and their world. The book is itself a remarkable act of reading and writing--of 'poaching' and 'founding [her] own place'--informed by a profound knowledge of the ancient texts and by a mastery of postmodern critical theory."--Wayne A. Meeks, Department of Religious Studies, Yale University
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