This seminar introduces the „ascetic revolution” as one of the central religious, intellectual, social, and cultural movements of late antiquity. Asceticism, the „rise of the holy man,” and monastic foundations show the alternative social and spiritual teaching of Late Antique Christianity. How did this Christian counter-culture became mainstream from the fourth century up to our time? The seminar will examine the story of a 1700-hundred year success story, focusing on the novel perception of the body and the new social use of the body, alive and dead. The topics to be addressed in the seminar include the ascetic ideal, spiritual discipline, the cult of the saints and the cult of relics, hagiography as a new literary genre, heterotopies, monasticism and the church, memory and the construction of self and community.