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Ascetism and Community Paper
Each week you will be presented with an opportunity to integrate your insights from Boa with scripture and perspectives from spiritual leaders throughout the history of the church. You will form a biblical foundation for the facets presented in Boa, followed by a discussion of how these facets were viewed by various spiritual leaders from varying geographic, chronological, and denominational perspectives. Each week you will be given one reading which will provide a ‘springboard’ for your research. You may consult the additional readings folder provided on the course content page, consult the works of the early church fathers, medieval scholastics, even up to the modern works of Luther, Calvin, Barth or others. However, all research should consist of primary sources or secondary sources that deal with an analysis of the collected works of these spiritual leaders. You may find some of these resources on the ATLA Database through the Grace library.
The early church struggled with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:19-24 concerning the shift from the temporal to the eternal perspective. In Acts 2:42-47, we see the early church in Jerusalem breaking bread together, selling their possessions, and having all things in common and their number grew daily. Paul’s missionary journeys were primarily concerned with sharing the mystery of the gospel of Christ as well as raising money for the poor in Jerusalem. This radical nature of mission and community defined the early church and cultivated a passion for asceticism, or the practice of self-denial, in order that the follower of Christ might decrease in order that Christ may increase (John 3:30-35). The earliest form of monasticism was recorded in Athanasius’ work called ‘The Life of Anthony’ as he observed the lives of the Desert Fathers.
For this paper, you will be exploring the biblical foundations and the historical development of asceticism (or simplicity) and its connection to community as it relates to Boa’s discussion of shifting from the temporal perspective to the eternal perspective.
Review Facets 1 and 2 in Boa
Read Matthew 6:19-24; Acts 2:42-47; and John 3:30-35
Read The Life of Anthony (Sections 44-50)
Write a 3-4 page paper with the following points:
Describe the biblical foundations and the historical development of ascetism.
Explain how ascetism is connected to community in light of Boa’s discussion of shifting from temporal to eternal perspective.
Avoid use of internet-based article sources for this paper. Use your readings in Boa, Scripture, and The Life of Anthony as major support and include research of other high-quality sources. A review of the bibliography in Boa’s book will give you a list of important authors and sources.
Ensure that you use the Paper Writing rubric to guide your efforts and support your work with scholarly academic resources using APA format.

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