The Burden of the Flesh: Fasting and Sexuality in Early Christianity

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Fortress Press - Religion - 298 pages
Shaw's rich and fascinating work provides a startling look at early Christian notions of the body - diet, sexuality, the passions, and especially the ideal of virginity - and sheds important light on the growth of Christian ideals that remain powerful cultural forces even today.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
What Is Asceticism?
5
Fasting in Sources on Early Desert Monasticism
10
Bodily Practice and Ascetic Theory
17
PHILOSOPHY OF THE BODY AND MEDICINE OF THE SOUL ETHICS DIET AND SEXUALITY IN LATE ANTIQUITY
27
Ethics and Askesis
33
Diet and the Physiology of Sexual Desire
53
Ancient Medical Representations of the Female Body
64
Humanity in the Golden Age
164
Christian Asceticism and the Return to Paradise
171
Fasting and the Return to the Garden
174
Fasting Virginity and Eschatology
181
Basil of Ancyra
184
Gregory of Nyssa
187
Basil of Caesarea
196
Evagrius of Pontus
198

Semen Menses and Milk
68
Mouth Womb and Belly
74
THE PHYSIOLOGY OF ASCETIC FASTING
79
Basil of Ancyra
81
Gregory of Nyssa
92
Jerome
96
John Cassian
112
Food Deprivation and Sexual Function
124
THE MOTHER OF ALL VICE GLUTTONY AND THE HEALTH OF BODY AND SOUL
129
Gluttony in John Chrysostoms Homilies
131
Gluttony and the Passions of the Soul in Evagrius of Pontus
139
Abstinence and the Control of Passion
159
FASTING AND THE RETURN TO PARADISE
161
John Chrysostom
205
Jerome
209
The Body of Paradise
214
FASTING AND THE FEMALE BODY
220
Ascetic Women and Fasting in Early Christian Sources
221
Survey of the Textual Evidence
222
Female Nature Becoming Male and Pleasing the Bridegroom
235
Female Flesh and Future Body
252
BIBLIOGRAPHY
255
Secondary Sources
264
INDEX
285
Copyright

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About the author

Teresa M. Shaw is Program Coordinator of the Religion Department and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University, California.

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