Free Captives: The Creative Practices of Christian Ascetics on the Way to Freedom (2022 EASR Conference)
Ascetic religious practices, which ran the gamut from collective, pompous rituals to daily, mute, introspective prayer, gave individuals freedom to break from a given state of being in the world and reach a new state of being, both physically and metaphysically. Across time and space, we find Christian ascetics, social and spiritual reformers of all ages and latitudes, who treated their lives and practices, both mental and physical, as examples of the relation between the finite and infinite.
Whether creating new imaginative forms from inside the core of organized religion or acting regardless of its boundaries, Christian ascetics framed disciplines meant for body and mind – contemplative prayer, illumination, or the unio mystica – going far beyond simple self-mortification, abstinence or an abandonment to martyrdom.
Regardless of their particular specificities, ascetics aimed towards the expansion of knowledge and epistemic boundaries, while overcoming mental and physical limitations, by way of different means, such as apophasis, paradox, or heterodoxy. Bodily imperfections, the fallibility of intelligence, and the radical vulnerability of one’s own life were used as occasions for the most creative, fruitful forms of religious practice.
Based on such insights, the panel welcomes: (a) original and comparative analyses of case studies contributing to the interpretation of the religious phenomenon of ascetic practices involving body and/or mind, and (b) assessments of representations of the phenomenon in question, pointing out the integration of ascetic practices with different methodologies and philosophical movements.
** Submit your abstract here: https://www.easr2022.org/individual-abstract-submission
** Please select the following open panel >> Free Captives: The Creative Practices of Christian Ascetics on the Way to Freedom