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A leading scholar of ascetical studies, Richard Valantasis explores a variety of ascetical traditions in late Antiquity developing a theory of asceticism informing the analysis of historical texts and opening the way for postmodern ascetical studies. Wide-ranging in historical scope and in developing theory, these essays address asceticism for scholar and student alike. The theory will particularly interest students of cultural theory and analysis, while the history offers researchers access to a corpus of academic writing on asceticism. "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 RICHARD VALANTASIS is Professor of Ascetical Theology and Director of the Anglican Studies Programme 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.
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