Weibliche Askese und christliche Identität im 2. Jh. n. Chr.

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Abstract

In 2nd century Christianity,different voices can be heard on the topic of asceticism. Asceticism as the control and mastery of different passions such as sexuality is nota merely Christian phenomenon, but is part of a broader philosophical debate about a virtuous life. This study points out the different theological reasoning behind the views on asceticism and examines the social effects it can have especially for women. There seems to be a correlation between the advocacy of radical asceticism and equal participation of women in Christian groups. Different examples of early Christian stands on asceticism are examined: First, Acts of Thecla advocates an ascetic lifestyle as requirement for salvation. As a consequence of her ascetic lifestyle, Thecla is able to leave the role she has as a woman and become an independent apostle. On the other hand, we find examples of asceticism not as requirement but consequence of salvation in Gospel of the Egyptians and Gospel of Thomas. Here through Christ Christians can find back to their original state of creation, which includes a dissolution of genderdifference. The state of existenceis transformedand asceticism is the consequence of the new, spiritual state of being. Thirdly, there are writings of the time that advise against asceticism, e.g. the Pastoral Epistles(and perhaps the Gospel of Philip). Here the demand for women to marry and have children correlates with the writings’ intention of wanting to be a productive part of society.

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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LandauDeutschland

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