As a complex historical phenomenon, asceticism raises the question about ordinary impulses, the orientation and practices, the power dynamics and politics with transcendental religions. The question of the role of asceticism has often been overlooked in examining the New Testament. This book is both comprehensive and comparative in its representation of how the question of asceticism might reorder the way in which we interpret the New Testament. Looking at the New Testament from an ascetic perspective asks questions about issues including the milieu of Jesus and Paul, and the social practices of self-denial, and considers the Scriptural texts in light of a desire to separate oneself from the world. In interpreting all the books in the New Testament, this collection is the first effort to take seriously the crucial role played by asceticism--and its detractors--in the formation of the New Testament.