The Philosophy of Fasting

Asceticism has been a way of expressing philosophical and religious beliefs – and for good reason

Holy women in medieval Christendom displayed their piety in ways associated with food, much more than holy men did. They miraculously survived without eating anything at all or subsisted on nothing but the Eucharist, had visions of Christ giving them the host, and spoke of drinking Christ’s blood or feeding souls in Purgatory with their own blood, according to Caroline Walker Bynum’s findings in Holy Feast and Holy Fast: the Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women. Among the spectacular acts of asceticism ascribed to figures like Catherine of Siena was (readers of a nervous disposition may want to skip the rest of this sentence) the eating of lepers’ scabs and drinking of pus from their sores. 

In seeking to explain this, Bynum began from the observation that women in medieval Europe, as in most pre-modern cultures, were responsible for the preparation of food. So it was the one resource

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Charlie Bury 16 February 2019

Excellent article. I view it as something like a transcendence of body. One of holy asceticism relied on the appetite of the Spirit first and foremost.