Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Encratism, in ancient Christian scholarship, usually refers to the practice of radical renunciation within early Christian tradition. It often includes sexual renunciation (Celibacy), fasting, vegetarianism, and abstinence from wine. There is little evidence for an organized Encratite movement; rather, many individual Christians chose to use the Greek term enkrateia to describe a variety of renunciatory practices that ranged from sexual renunciation for the elite Christian practitioner to sexual renunciation as a requirement for Christian sal…

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Koltun-Fromm, Naomi, “Encratism/Encratites”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 23 April 2019 <>
First published online: 2018
First print edition: 20180827

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