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 (Fasting/Abstinence), vegetarianism, and abstinence from wine. There is little evidence for an organized encratite movement; rather, many individual Christians chose to use the Greek term ἐγκράτεια to describe a variety of renunciatory practices that ranged from sexual renunciation for the elite Christian practitioner to sexual (Sexua…

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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 22 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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