- Series: Ancient Practices Series
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (December 27, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0849946050
- ISBN-13: 978-0849946059
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 138 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fasting: The Ancient Practices (Ancient Practices Series) Paperback – December 27, 2010
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About the Author
Scot McKnight (PhD, Nottingham) is the Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lisle, Illinois. He is the author of more than fifty books, including the award-winning The Jesus Creed as well as The King Jesus Gospel, A Fellowship of Differents, One.Life, The Blue Parakeet, and Kingdom Conspiracy.
Top customer reviews
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I recently wrapped up Scot McKnight's Fasting, a volume in Thomas Nelson's Ancient Practices Series. I'll share a few brief thoughts about the book.
First, and perhaps most importantly, McKnight challenges the common presupposition that fasting is about obtaining results, and instead offers that the Bible and the Christian tradition teaches us rather that fasting is a natural, inevitable response to a grievous sacred moment. We do not fast to obtain something, but we fast in order to bring our bodies into contact with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He describes fasting as a movement from (A) the grievous sacred moment (death, sin, fear, threats, needs, sickness) to (B) fasting, and then finally to (C) response (life, forgiveness, safety, hope, answers, health). But again and again, through the book, McKnight offers his readers the constant reminder that fasting is not about what some will receive in choosing to fast, as though we could control God through the exercise of discipline, but that fasting is a healthy, human expression of embodied spirituality that properly orients us toward the Divine when we are faced with hardship.
McKnight's book is filled with numerous biblical and historical examples of how fasting has been utilized and understood. McKnight identifies how fasting is a proper response to sinfulness, is a helpful expression of solidarity with the poor and oppressed, commonly undertaken to express grief, and can be utilized to discipline the body. He warns against some of the common errors that can occur when one fasts, including hypocrisy, legalism, and meritoriousness. He also directly addresses some of the health related questions and concerns that surround fasting.
As someone who is trying to further develop an understanding of Christian spiritual disciplines both in order to teach and more faithfully practice, McKnight's book provided many helpful insights. I'd say it is worth checking out.
While I am uncomfortable with much of the author's underlying ecumenism, his view of fasting is refreshing because it is biblical. Although his argument is not bolstered by detailed scriptural exposition (which would have been helpful), it is informed by an accurately informed biblical worldview. Fasting is not a tool with which to manipulate God. Fasting is a whole-body response by Christians who are experiencing grief over a particular situation. Particularly helpful are the author's treatment of dualism and the potential problems with fasting. This is not a "how-to" book on fasting and should not be the only book one reads on the subject, but it is a valuable resource to enable readers to have the right focus. While it is not designed to answer the "how" questions, it does a wonderful job answering the "why" questions. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is either wholly neglected or widely abused. This book will guard the reader against both unfortunate extremes.
Why as found in tradition and how that why
can be incorporated into contemporary experience
--- makes this a place for the heart to return
season after season