Because it is a universal phenomenon, in evidence in ancient as well as modern societies, and because it is often a dramatic, even controversial, part of religions and cultures, asceticism has long been the subject of popular and intellectual interest. In antiquity, various cultures usually registered such interest in homilies, philosophical or theological treatises, popular meditations, rituals, ecclesiastical canons, diatribes, letters, revelations, panegyrics, vitae. Numerous discussions about the importance of asceticism and debates about the superiorty and imperative different forms of renunciation can be found in these and other genres of literature of Eastern and Western religious traditions. This book contains 42 detailed essays rom numerous scholars on various aspects of asceticisms.
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