Propitiatory abstinences were recommended when the natal asterism was menaced by unfavourable planetary conjunctions.
It prescribes severe simplicity of dress and of life, and certain abstinences and prayers and other religious exercises, and forbids the frequentation of the theatre, the bearing of arms and the taking of oaths except when administered by magistrates.
Pp. 188 ff.) that the Abstinences defined for Gentiles were in the original text of Acts xv.
Such abstinences as the above, though based on taboo, that is, on a reluctance to eat the totem or sacred animal, are yet ascetic in so far as they involve much self-denial.
On the whole, however, savage society tends to regard it as something acquired, the product of acts and abstinences having a traditional character for imparting magicoreligious virtue.
In Judaism, as in other, especially Oriental, religions, the natural dislike of material defilement has been elevated into a religious sentiment, and made to support a complicated system of quasi-sanitary abstinences and ceremonial purifications; then, as the ethical element predominated in the Jewish religion, a moral symbolism was felt to reside in the ceremonial code, and thus aversion to impurity came to be a common form of the ethico-religious sentiment.