The Catholic University of America Press

On Liturgical Asceticism

David W. Fagerberg

Paper 978-0-8132-2117-5 $29.95
March 2013 In Print Add to Cart
E-Book 978-0-8132-2118-2 $29.95
March 2013 In Print Add to Cart

Drawing on the Eastern Orthodox tradition of asceticism and integrating it with recent Western thought on liturgy, David W. Fagerberg examines the interaction between the two and presents a powerful argument that asceticism is necessary for understanding liturgy as the foundation of theology. Asceticism may have been perfected in the sands of the desert, but it is demanded of every theologian and, indeed, every Christian. It grants the capacity for pondering liturgy and sharing the life of Christ. Fagerberg brings to light asceticism's essential importance in liturgical theology.

Fagerberg's earlier work, Theologia Prima, understood liturgy as the foundation of theology. To that framework, he now adds the relevance of asceticism. Asceticism was understood to overcome the passions by cooperating with grace. It detailed how to train the life of grace and produce what the ancient church called a theologian. Fagerberg carries the wisdom of the earliest centuries forward. He develops a new framework called liturgical asceticism that combines discipline with sharing the life of Christ.


David W. Fagerberg, associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, is the author of What Is Liturgical Theology? and Theologia Prima.


"Fagerberg's contribution is creative and original. He presents an able and accessible summary of the Orthodox ascetical tradition--valuable in its own right--and combines it with creative insight to bring this tradition to bear on how we conceive our own participation in the liturgy and what effect this has on our understanding of theology. This brings the discussion of liturgical theology onto a whole new level."--Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, professor of theology, Mount Angel Seminary and Pontifical Athenaeum San Anselmo, Rome

"The idea of liturgical theology has become popular during the past few decades, wresting liturgy from the liturgiologists and testing what the church teaches against how the church prays liturgically. In this powerful and original book, David Fagerberg takes this development a stage further. By exploring Christian asceticism, mostly using Orthodox sources, he introduces another dimension, essential if liturgical theology is to be fully assimilated in the lives of Christians."--Andrew Louth, professor emeritus of patristic and Byzantine studies, Durham University

"Consistent with the tradition of the Church, Fagerberg aims to restore asceticism to its rightful place within liturgical theology. It is a rich journey through Chestertonian style, paradox and prose, and dense with wise quotes from the Desert Fathers." -Transpositions

Product Details

Pages:ix, 246 pages

Dimensions:5.5x8.5 inches

CIP Information: 2012038228/ BV5031.3.F34 2013/ 248.4'7--dc23


1. Asceticism