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The Making of the Self


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Table of Contents

Part One. THEORY. 1. A Theory of the Social Function of Asceticism. 2. Construction of Power in Asceticism. 3. Asceticism as a Sacred Marriage: Eastern and Western Theories. 4. Asceticism or Formation: Theorising Asceticism after Nietzsche. 5. A Theory of Asceticism, Revised. Part Two. CHRISTIAN ASCETICISM. 6. Uncovering Adam's Esoteric Body. 7. Daemons and the Perfecting of the Monk's Body. 8. Ascetical Withdrawal and the Second Letter of Basil the Great. 9. Is the Gospel of Thomas Ascetical?. 10. Competing Ascetic Subjectivities in the Letter to the Galatians. Part Three. ROMAN ASCETICISM. 11. Nag Hammadi and Asceticism: Theory and Practice. 12. Demons, Adversaries, Devils Fisherman: The Asceticism of Authoritative Teaching (NHL, VI, 3) in Roman Perspective. 13. Musonius Rufus and Roman Ascetical Theory.

About the Author

Richard Valantasis is Professor of Ascetical Theology and Director of the Anglican Studies Program at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He is the author of The Gospel of Thomas, Centuries of Holiness: Ancient Spirituality Refracted for a Postmodern Age, and The New Q: Translation and Commentary.


"In the context of belligerently hedonistic Western society, Richard Valantasis's 'The Making of the Self' has never been more relevant. Valantasis proposes that past and present can best be compared, not through ideas, but through analysis of practices and what they produce. Informative and inspirational, The Making of the Self should be required reading for all who seek to make intentional choices that shape the self." --Margaret R. Miles, author of 'A Complex Delight: The Secularization of the Breast,' 1350-1750 "A tour-de-force journey through the theory and practice of asceticism in late antiquity. Valatansis focusses on the transformative power of ascetic performance portraying asceticism through the ascetic's eyes. He compels us to reflect anew on the nature and role of asceticism in antiquity, and, in the process, to consider its meaning and relevance today." --James E. Goehring, author of 'Ascetics, Society, and The Desert.' "A coherent and compelling presentation of Valantasis's mature theorizing about a complex and fascinating phenomenon. Valantasis had already taught me much about asceticism. But this book is Valantasis at his best - articulate, creative, witty, feisty, provocative, brilliant." --Vincent L. Wimbush, editor of 'Ascetic Behavior in Greco-Roman Antiquity: A Sourcebook.'

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