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Holy Men and Hunger Artists
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Holy Men and Hunger Artists: Fasting and Asceticism in Rabbinic Culture

Eliezer Diamond


The existence of ascetic elements within rabbinic Judaism has generally been either overlooked or actually denied. This is in part because asceticism is not commonly identified with celibacy, whereas the rabbis emphasized sexuality as a positive good. In addition, argues this book, it serves the theological agendas of both Jewish and Christian scholars to characterize Judaism as non- or anti-ascetic. In fact, however, the book shows that rabbinic asceticism does indeed exist. This asceticism is secondary, rather than primary, in that the rabbis place no value on self-denial in and of itself, b ... More

Keywords: rabbinic Judaism, asceticism, celibacy, sexuality, rabbinic asceticism, Torah, fasting

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780195137507
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137507.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Eliezer Diamond, author
Jewish Theological Seminary of America