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New Testament scholars have long been divided on the question of Jesus' asceticism. This study will argue that the historical Jesus should be identified as a first-century Jewish ascetic. Here, asceticism is conceptualized as a sociological, cross-cultural and comparative lens through which a range of behaviors can be understood. Consequently, by comparing the early Jesus tradition with other contemporary manifestations of ascetic practice in antiquity, this study will illustrate that an ascetic model for the historical Jesus is not only compatible with(in) first-century Judaism but has the explanatory power to reconcile conflicting portraits of Jesus and advance a theoretical lens through which additional future work on the historical Jesus can be conducted.



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