Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(1,375 words)

1. Concept and traditions

Celibacy (from Lat. caelebs, “unwed,” “not married”) is a phenomenon of the history of religion, not confined to Christianity, meaning (in some cases temporary) abstinence from sexuality or a permanent unmarried state. The call to celibacy in many ancient cults followed the notion of “cultic purity”: Sexuality (like blood and sickness) had the effect of causing ritual impurity and rendered contact with the gods in…

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Holzem, Andreas, “Celibacy”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 24 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_030841>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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