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October 24, 2012

I would argue that the most misunderstood of the ancient spiritual practices is that of fasting. In his book Fasting (Thomas Nelson, 2009) New Testament scholar Scot Mcknight unpacks this important discipline and frees it from the western or more specifically American misconceptions about it and presents it back to the church in all of its glory. The book is part of The Ancient Practices Series edited by Phyllis Tickle who writes the introduction. The key to Scot’s model is a reassessment of the a+b+c concept where A is a sacred moment. B is the fasting response to the sacred moment which may produce a specific C which stands for result or not. These combine the three things fasting is about, attentiveness, compassion and freedom. The thesis of the book is simple” a unified perception of body, soul, spirit and mind creates a spirituality that includes the body”. This concept is expanded in chapters titled: Fasting as….
Body Plea
Body Discipline
Body Calendar
Body Poverty and
Body Hope
Additional chapters thoroughly discuss the problems and benefits. as one would expect from a scholar like Dr. Mcknight the book is clearly written filled with excellent Biblical exegesis as well as illuminating quotes from both ancient and contemporary theologians. This book not only clarified many misconceptions I had unthinking absorbed about fasting and motivated me to explore this ancient practice more deeply. If you read one book on fasting this is the one I most recommend.

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