Asceticism and the New Testament by Leif E. Vaage, Vincent L. Wimbush

By Leif E. Vaage, Vincent L. Wimbush

First released in 1999. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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The motif of withdrawal, without the specialized vocabulary of anachoresis, does occur in other places in Mark. Jesus and his twelve disciples leave the crowds on several occasions for private conversation (4:10; 7:17; 9:28; 9:30– 31; 10:10; 13:3) or less frequently for rest or solitude (6:31; 7:24). In the latter case, as with the incident in 3:7, which we discussed earlier, the context makes it clear that such solitary withdrawal is not to be allowed, for the crowds or a supplicant for healing always quickly disrupts the plan.

Fortress, Hermeneia, 1995), systematically parallels Jesus’ teachings with Jewish and GrecoRoman materials. 23. Ibid, 482. Betz sees the Sermon on the Mount as a pre-Matthean composition, but most commentators think that the author of the gospel wrote the sermon using traditional materials from several sources. 24. See Saldarini, chap. 3. 25. Stanton, A Gospel for a New People: Studies in Matthew (Edinburgh, Scotland: Clark, 1992). A more precise sociological analysis of deviance and sectarianism leaves Matthew still within the Jewish communities of the late first century.

Saldarini meaning but clear in intent (19:10–12). The “eunuch for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” may be understood either as a celibate who spreads the news of the kingdom or as a separated married person who does not remarry. In any case, normal cultural practices have been rejected and the follower of Jesus must be ready to live without a sexual relationship if a marriage ends. Consistent with the Jewish tradition, Matthew nowhere praises celibacy in itself. Unlike other writers in the Greco-Roman tradition, the evangelist does not encourage control of sexual passions for the sake of individual selfmastery: Lust is not presented as a threat to reason or the soul, nor is continence championed as a virtue that will benefit the whole person.

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