The Naked Intent: On Connecting Asceticism and Activism

In: International Journal of Public Theology


This article explores the connections between political activism and Christian asceticism. It does so through a discussion with recent political theologies and historical research into (early) Christian asceticism. Two present-day cases, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Buy Nothing Year, are used to demonstrate similarities and potential for fruitful engagement between the two traditions. It is suggested that asceticism needs to be understood in a fuller range, incorporating introspective, imaginative and institutional aspects in order to make visible the potential for a dialogue between the Christian ascetic tradition and present-day political activism. The article thus contributes to the discussion concerning asceticism in the Christian tradition, developing public theology as a bodily practice and to a theological understanding of political activism.

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