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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay challenges the way in which the apocryphal acts are often considered Encratite in character. It argues that we should distinguish between Encratism, which is characterized by the rejection of marriage (i.e. celibacy), and the sort of sexual continence or chastity that is more widely reflected in the apocryphal acts, and may include a certain reserve in conjugal relations. Encratism may feature in certain parts of the Acts of Thomas, but both there and in other acts, the texts of which are fragmentary and uncertain, we should not presume that the presence of one or two Encratite stories means that the texts that contain them are fundamentally Encratite in nature.

Keywords: Encratism, asceticism, chastity, marriage, gender, Acts of Thomas, Acts of Andrew, Acts of John, Acts of Peter, Acts of Paul

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