Essays in Honor of Philip Rousseau
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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IntroductionLike the children of Israel, Philip Rousseau has spent fortyyears in the desert. During that time, the monks of earlyChristianity have been both his companions and his sub-jects, and they have accompanied him from Oxford to New Zealand andto the United States.From the date of his completion of the doctoral thesis at WolfsonCollege, Oxford, in 1972, to his present occupancy of the Mellon Chairof Early Christian Studies at the Catholic University of America, he hasforged a new path in the scholarship of early Christian monasticism—apath that has allowed him, and his readers, to spy out the social world ofthese odd new inhabitants of the empire, a world that shaped and quali -fied their theological ideas and their spiritual ambitions. As Rousseauhimself has noted, he did not intend to inhabit that land, the marginal andimagined territory where monastics dwelt, and in his daily life he is justas much a man of the city as the subject of his splendid biography, Basil,bishop of ancient Caesarea, and beyond that, a paterfamilias.The desert Rousseau has made his own is, of course, the wilder-ness exurbs of the fourth and early fifth centuries, where the single menand women—deliberately segregating themselves from the obligationsof marriage and the household—imagined and created new institutionsamong the Christian assemblies in the late ancient Mediterranean world.Beginning with Ascetics, Authority and the Church in the Age of Jeromeand Cassian, he belonged to, and help shape, a new movement in schol-arship. The study of ancient asceticism has not flagged since he startedto write.Philip Rousseau was born on November 3, 1939, the son of a Brit ishnaval officer and his wife; he has vivid memories of the family’s postingto Washington, D.C., during World War II. Later, as beneficiary of theJe su its’ mighty ratio studiorum, he gained his first postsecondary degreein 1962, at Heythrop College in Oxfordshire. Thus, when Rousseau cameto Wolfson College, Oxford, for his master’s and doctoral degrees, he wasalready familiar with the neighborhood of the university. He had earnedhis licentiate in philosophy, had lived for a time in Maria Laach, a Bene-dictine monastery in Germany, and had taught in Africa. It was in Africathat Philip met another teacher, an extraordinary young woman namedThérèse, who would become his life’s companion.At Wolfson, Rousseau joined a circle of scholars from whom helearned the craft of the historian, and was by his own account charmedby the company of Isaiah Berlin, then president of Wolfson College. Ashis companions, he names John Matthews, Timothy Barnes, and PeterBrown—all scholars who, then young men, by now have shaped thestudy of late antiquity for the past four decades and have trained theirown students. The eminences Arnaldo Momigliano, Richard Southern,and Ronald Syme were present in Oxford, along with Geoffrey de SainteCroix, Michael Wallace Hadrill, and Karl Leyser. As he himself attests,he was both part of, and simultaneously on the edge of, a historiographi-cal movement that produced two new generations of scholars who con-tinue to pursue the study both of late antiquity and of monasticism andasceticism in the period.In 1972, after the completion of his thesis, Rousseau joined the fac-ulty of the University of Auckland in New Zealand. In 1978 his thesis hadappeared as Ascetics, Authority,and the Church,and in 1985 he publishedPachomius, a study of the first monastic legislator. In an essay that servesas his retractationes, Rousseau avers that the shortcoming of the first bookwas its relative neglect of Pachomius and that the mistake of the secondwas its acceptance of the term desert as a literal, instead of a textualized—that is to say, ideal—space.1But Rousseau was moving in the directionof studying the episcopal office as it emerged in the fourth century, andthe result was Basil of Caesarea, published in 1994.During these years, Rousseau continued to teach at Auckland; buthe also migrated among the research centers of the academic world, as aSenior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks (1981– 82); as a Visiting Professor atthe University of California, Berkeley (1985); as an Honorary ResearchFellow at the University of Exeter, England (1990); as a Member of theInstitute for Advanced Study, Princeton (1990); as a Visiting Scholar athis alma mater, Wolfson College, Oxford (1995); and as a Bye Fellow atRobinson College, Cambridge (1996).In 1998, Rousseau decided to leave New Zealand for the United Statesand a position as the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor in theProgram of Early Christian Studies at the Catholic University of America,in Washington, D.C. The three daughters he had raised with Thérèse werenow back in England, and the Rousseaus took up residence in the city ofWashington. For Philip, the position at Catholic meant the directorship ofa strong program in the study of early Christianity, distributed among sev-eral departments. For the first time, he was able to direct master’s and doc-toral students himself, and he turned the program into a thriving Centerfor Early Christian Studies that not only trained students but also providedscholars in the field with a place for discussion and study.Since coming to Catholic, Rousseau has continued to converseeagerly with other scholars, both in Washington, D.C., and nearby cit -ies, and farther afield, as Distinguished Scholar in the Senter for HøyereStudier, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (2003); and as Vis-iting Scholar at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Uni-versity of California, Los Angeles (2010).At Catholic, Rousseau has continued to develop his thinking on bothasceticism and early Christianity. In 2002, he broadened his scope as hepublished The Early Christian Centuries, a thematic treatment of move-ments and important personages in the various constellations of Christiangroups from the first through the fifth centuries. In 2009, ACompanion to...
Part I: Books as Guides
Chapter 1: Pachomius and the Mystery of the Letters
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Pachomius and the Mystery of the LettersJoeL KaLvesMaKiThe only writings left behind by Pachomius, father ofcenobitic monasticism, are thirteen brief epistles—allterse, all puzzling. The puzzle lies in Pachomius’s cryp-tic use of the letters of the alphabet, the result of a spiritual language anangel was said to have taught him. This alphabet recurs time and againin Pachomius’s epistles, rendering many of them unintelligible to all butthe recipients, who were said also to know and use this language. For in-stance, to one of his monastic leaders, Cornelius, Pachomius writes: “Dothe work of the ι, which was called ο in the old days. Place δ also beforeyour eyes, so that it might be good for your soul. ρ has stretched out hishand to reach you; this is ι, which is the sepulcher, your resting place.sing to the ω, lest the ω sing to you. Let the shameless age rejoice withyou so that you do not rejoice with the shameless age” (example 1).1 inthis passage, a mix of admonition and teaching, each Greek letter acts asa noun or nominal phrase. Cornelius is expected to do something aboutwhatever these letters symbolize, but exactly what is unclear. in someepistles even the grammatical or semantic function of the letters is a mys-tery. Consider this example (2): “Honor God and you will be strong (Prov7:1). Remember the groanings of the saints σφ.”2are the sigma and phiinitials for speciﬁc saints? Do they represent a sentence? if so, is the pair ofletters an admonition, doctrinal instruction, question, statement, or some-thing else? sometimes contextual clues attenuate into wisps. For example(3), to the abbots sourous and John he writes, “We should not fear ruin inthe place of our pilgrimage; but we must ﬁght to be able to have peacewith those who keep the commandments of God. η. What will be yourgain if you win the whole world (Mt 16:26; Mk 8:36; Lk 9:25) and haveenmity with God?”3 if the eta represents a noun, like the eta used in theﬁrst example, or any other single part of speech, how does it—indeed,how could it—connect with the sentences that precede and follow?even if one could tease out what a letter means in one epistle, thatsame letter used in other epistles can seem incoherent. at one place Pa-chomius writes (example 4), “Write ν above η and θ; write ζ above χ, μ,λ and ι, when you have ﬁnished reading these characters.”4These seem tobe instructions in scribal habits. He is not asking his readers to believesomething, or to live their life a certain way (although such overtones maybe present). He explains that he is writing “so that you might understandthe mysteries of the characters,”5but what mystery is there about how a let-ter is situated on the page? We ﬁnd ourselves simultaneously contemplat-ing two very different things, the mosaic of meaning and the rituals ofwriting. in passages such as example 4, are we to think of symbols andthe symbolized, or tools and goals? are we to peer in, to detect meaningand mystery behind the letters, or to gaze out, to think of the design on thepage and how the pen affects the world? in that same epistle a sequence ofcoded letters symbolizes Pachomius’s named identity. He writes (example5), “Therefore i wrote to you σφθμ, lest perhaps some one might say thatmy name is not written σφθμ. . . . Now, therefore, σφθμλουυουυλιλ.”6itis not apparent what he means, particularly since he does not explain“name,” and we do nothave enough context to discern whether these let-ters were to be understood orally, visually, or, more likely, both.7 Perhapsin the autograph, now lost, the letters were written in a certain shape, likethe eight-by-eight block of letters associated with epistles 9a and 9b.8andif this is his name, how does it explain another epistle where Pachomiusadapts the cipher: “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him(Ps147 : 11) σφθμλ”?9Two of Pachomius’s epistles, addressed to no one speciﬁcally, fol-low a peculiar alphabetic pattern quite different from all the above ex-amples. each epistle consists of twelve lines, each starting with a pair ofGreek letters, and each letter matched with its mirror opposite in the al-phabet, like a Hebrew atbash cipher (in which aleph is substituted for tav,beth for shin, etc.). The alpha-omega pair appears in line 1; beta-psi marksthe second line; and so on, down to the mu-nu pair that marks the last line.each mysterious letter pair is answered at the end of the sentence by asingle letter, treated as its predicate (example 6):αω: The generations have effervesced with evil, which is δ;βψ: The fruit has been accomplished on the lips, which is τ;[γ]χ: God caused me to forget the poverty in my house, from the begin-ning of the mountains to their summit, which is ρ;10...
Chapter 2: Writing Rules and Quoting Scripture in Early Coptic Monastic Texts
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Writing Rules and Quoting Scripturein Early Coptic Monastic TextsJanET a. TiMbiEin his book on Pachomius, Philip Rousseau remarked: “it issurprising in the face of such general allusions that there isso little quotation from scripture in the Rules.”1Occasion-ally, in the Coptic texts of the Pachomian Rules, there are statements suchas “Everything contrary to the standard of the scriptures, all these, thesteward (oikonomos) shall judge.”2The Pachomian Rules, as they sur-vive in both Coptic and Latin, do not include explicit quotations fromscripture in the rule itself, which is usually brief and speciﬁc:3“no manshall take shoes or anything else to oil [them], except the housemasters[Nrm;Nhi]only.”4Most of the surviving rules of the Pachomian communi-ties are found in lists of speciﬁc orders, which can be stated either posi-tively or negatively (“he shall” [eFe] versus “he shall not”[NneF]). ThePachomian rules are preserved in manuscripts that were part of the WhiteMonastery library, and none of these manuscripts were produced earlierthan the eighth century, so it is likely that they were copied and recopiedin the central monastery of the White Monastery Federation. The WhiteMonastery, founded by Pcol and led for many years by Shenoute (leaderfrom 385 to 465), preserved written rules in a different form and in thePachomian form, but with the same lack of explicit scriptural quotation.5The Canon texts collected and written by Shenoute include many rules inthis form: “Cursed be any, whether male or female, who undertake to sitnear their neighbor, with a ﬁlthy desire in their heart.”6Others are close tothe Pachomian form: “no person [rwme]who enters these congregations[sunagwgh]at any time to become a monk shall say, ‘The work that i didin my home, i am going to do it here.’”7a little after this, Shenoute states,“The work for which each one came here [i.e., to the monastery], thescriptures and the books written for us tell us about it.”8There is a “gen-eral allusion” to scripture here but no quotation in the rule.Why is there no scriptural quotation in the Pachomian rules or inthose of the White Monastery Federation? Where is the scriptural foun-dation of the rules presented in detail if it is not actually in the rules? iwill begin with an examination of some texts from the Pachomians andShenoute that bring explicit quotation of scripture into proximity withrules, thereby answering the second question just posed. Comparison ofthese texts suggests contact of some sort between the Pachomian Koino -niaand the White Monastery Federation, which agrees with other evi-dence.9Yet just as the Pachomians labeled their enterprise a koinoniaand Shenoute usually referred to the monastic synagoge, the characteris-tic form of their rules is different.10“no one shall” is found in both Pa-chomian and Shenoutean works, while “Cursed be” occurs only in WhiteMonastery rules.11Some exploration of these contrasting biblical formu-las may suggest a speculative “answer” to the ﬁrst question: Why is thereno quotation in the rules?The Rule of Horsiesiusis a Pachomian text that weaves togetherrules, arguments in favor of the rules, and quotations from scripture thatsupport the arguments.12Johannes Leipoldt included this text in his pub-lication of the works of Shenoute, but later work by L.-Th. Lefort andarmand Veilleux showed that it is a Pachomian text.13Vocabulary suchas Apa without a name following and koinonia is Pachomian, but thereis no support for attributing the text to Horsiesius (the third leader afterPachomius). The text, which is about seventeen pages long in the Lefortedition, is partially preserved in one White Monastery codex, with shortexcerpts or citations preserved in three other codices.14in the Rule of Horsiesius, rules for behavior during typical monasticactivities—prayer, food preparation, and farming—are followed by ex-hortation from the author and allusions to or quotations from scripture.The statement of a rule can be just as brief as in the Pachomian Precepts,but it is often embedded in a minisermon. For example, instructions onhow to make the sign of the cross at the beginning of prayers are justiﬁedby an allusion to Ezekiel: “We must seal ourselves at the beginning ofprayers with the seal of baptism; we must make the sign of the crosson our forehead [teHne] as on the day we were baptized and as it is writ-ten in Ezekiel; we must not bring our hand down to our mouth or to ourbeard ﬁrst and then take it up to our forehead.”15This alludes to Ezekiel9:4: “Make a sign on the forehead [bohairic teHni] of all the men whocry out and grieve over all the lawlessness.”16The rule about preciselyhow to make the sign of the cross is supported by pointing to scripturethat contains the key word forehead(teHne in Sahidic), but the text isnot quoted. in the same way, rules about rising in the night to recite scrip-ture (meleta) are supported with simple references to “the curse thatthe scriptures pronounce upon the sluggard.”17The key word is sluggard(preFjnaau), and several scriptural passages have the word. Proverbs6:9 connects this word with lying in bed: “How long are you lying down,O sluggard [reFjnaau]? are you going to rise from sleep now?” Sirach22:2 condemns him by likening him to a disgusting object: “The sluggard[reFjnaau] is like ﬁlthy dung.” Only Matthew 25:26– 30 has some-thing like a curse: “O evil and slothful [reFjnaau] servant. . . . Who-ever has not, even what he has will be taken from him. Throw the use-less servant into the outer darkness.”18but other sections weave together rules, exhortation, and explicitquotation. One section of the Rule of Horsiesius begins with a rule aboutthe need for permission from the leader: “it is right not to sell or buy ordo anything, from large to small, without the [permission] of the head ofthe monastery and . . . [text breaks off].”19it continues with rules aboutother things, “from small to large,” about which care must be taken. andif all the leaders act properly, “no one is careless about anything so thatit is ruined, since he understands that it [represents] the work of others orWriting Rules and Quoting Scripture in Early Coptic Monastic Texts 31...
Chapter 3: The Life of Antony in Egypt
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The Life of Antonyin EgyptMalcolM choaTIn the famous Greek and latin monastic texts, written mostlyby visitors to Egypt for foreign audiences, the inﬂuence ofthe Life of Antonylooms large.1 It is themodel, both for mo -nastic life and in particular for monastic Lives. Its inﬂuence on the con-ception of monastic life and the tradition of narrating monks’ lives can betraced in the Greco-Roman world from soon after its appearance and itsquick translation into latin. The success of the monastic agenda explic-itly outlined in the Life—that for which it was apparently designed—isplain: the “monks in foreign parts” to whom the work is addressed seemto have wholeheartedly accepted the message.2 This contribution investi-gates the legacy of the Life in its Egyptian context, seeking to trace, andperhaps qualify, its inﬂuence on the successors of the monks within Egyptwho provided, along with antony, the model for emulation.Debate over the authorship of the Life—and by extension over itsoriginal language—which has been sustained at some length over the lasttwo decades, seems now to have died down.3 a fresh and full study of theSyriac Lifehas shown that it shares with other early Syriac translations atendency to paraphrase and expand on its Greek source and thus neednot depend on a different Greek Life from that which we now possess.4Most scholars have likewise reafﬁrmed athanasius as the author of theLife.5 Insofar as I engage this question at all, the results of this study bearon the question of the Life’s intended audience, raised by Barnes and morerecently by Rousseau.6 Given how quickly athanasius’s authorship wasaccepted within Egypt and abroad, that question is largely moot fromthe point of view of this investigation.7 The purpose of the Life—to estab-lish orderly hierarchies leading toward ecclesiastical authority—speaksstrongly against its having been a production internal to early monasti-cism;8 nor are there coherent linguistic reasons for positing an originalcomposition in coptic.9 It is much easier to believe this is a Greek work,written in (or under the inﬂuence of) alexandria.Rather than engaging in this question or further expounding theprogram or agenda developed in the work, I wish to ask here how popu-lar the Life was within monastic circles in Egypt in the centuries afterits publication. This may seem an obtuse question, as the enduring in-ﬂuence of antony can be read not only in texts but in the walls of themonastery of St. antony, which still stands near the “inner mountain” towhich he withdrew; in his image staring out from frescos and icons fromas early as the sixth century, and in the collective memory of the liv-ing monastic tradition in Egypt.10 here I wish to position this consensusagainst two soundings, one taken among early monastic literature fromEgypt, the other among monastic library holdings as they are recordedin the papyri.The time is long past when one could assume that a coptic translationof a work was necessary for it to have been inﬂuential among Egyptianmonastic communities. The participation of most monastic communities inboth Greek and Egyptian languages and cultures, expressed most promi-nently in a bilingual milieu, has been demonstrated with reference to bothliterary sources and the papyri. Nevertheless, communities such as that ofPachomius and Shenoute clearly articulated themselves most prominentlyin Egyptian (i.e., coptic), and it is thus of interest to ask how long beforeour ninth-century manuscripts the Lifeof Antonywas translated into cop-tic, and how inﬂuential the Life was within predominantly Egyptian-speaking monastic circles.The coptic Life, as often noted, is a very literal translation;11 theimplication—although this is not usually stated—is that little can belearnt from it that cannot be learnt from the original.12 The nature of thetranslation itself does little to narrow its date: the translator’s excellentcommand of Greek (surpassing on occasions that of the latin transla-tors) does not prevent it from having been made as late as the seventh—or perhaps even eighth—century.13a number of interesting variations between the Greek and copticversions could be noted,14 but I will restrict myself to noting one thatserves as a springboard to examining antony in the Egyptian tradition. Inthe closing discussion of antony’s fame (Vit. Ant. 93), the Greek notesthat “an tony was not known through writings [uni1F10κ συγγραμμuni1F71των]”; thecoptic records that “antony was not known through books that he wroteﬁlled with pronouncements” (etbeHenjwwme eaFsaHou eumeHnsu ntagma). We will ﬁnd this hint from the translator that antony didleave writings, but not voluminous books, reﬂected in the early monasticmemory of antony in Egypt.15...
Chapter 4: Apologetics of Asceticism
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Apologetics of AsceticismThe Life of Antonyand Its Political ContextSAmuel RubenSonWhy was the Life of Antony written? Was it to pro-mote Antonian tradition or to rectify its inﬂuence inegyptian monasticism? Was it part of a campaignagainst Arianism in egypt, or rather propaganda for egyptian monasti-cism in the West? Is the text part and parcel of the propaganda and eccle-sial struggle of Athanasius of Alexandria, or does it represent the monas-tic tradition of Antony? And, more basically, is the text, as transmitted inGreek, one literary unit consciously composed by an author or a compi-lation made from a variety of sources?Although the issues of authorship, literary unity and character, model,and purpose of the text have been discussed extensively since the earlyand mid-twentieth century, no agreement has yet been reached.1In theearly twentieth century a lively discussion on the literary character wasbegun by mertel and Holl and continued by list, Cavallin, and Priessnig,but it yielded little consensus and has had almost no impact on recentdebate.2The early doubts about the literary unity of the text voiced byReitzenstein were soon silenced, and the more recent suggestion thatbishop Serapion was a coauthor have received little attention.3To mostscholars the unity and integrity of the text is a given. Questions aboutpurpose and literary character have thus become intimately linked to theissue of authorship, and to most scholars the question is why Athanasiuswrote or could have written the text.4Traditionally the reply has been toregard the Vitaas part of Athanasius’s promotion of the monastic traditionin general or of a speciﬁc version of it.5more recent interpretations detectwider polemical purposes and argue that the Life was part of Athanasius’santi-Arian campaign directed against Arian monastic sympathizers, or anattempt to redeﬁne Antony and his story in order to integrate his monas-tic followers into the theological framework or simply the ecclesiasticalauthority of the Alexandrian bishop, or even a refutation of Greek paideiadirected against earlier depictions of an accommodation between Greekphilosophy and Christian faith.6There is here an obvious development from early attempts to inter-pret the Vitain relation to biographical traditions in late antiquity in gen-eral or monastic and hagiographical literature in particular, without muchattention to the author, generally assumed to be Athanasius, to later inter-pretations reading the Vitain relation to internal affairs within the churchin egypt, and more speciﬁcally to emerging egyptian monasticism andits relationship to the bishopric of Alexandria.7The issue of purpose hasthus been made dependent less on a literary analysis of the text itself andmore on external evidence or speculations on how the relations betweenAthanasius and the early egyptian monks represented by Antony areunderstood, and how the Lifecan be related to Athanasius’s anti-Arianstruggle and his ecclesiastical politics. Doubts about an Athanasian au-thorship are, moreover, founded on problems of how to relate the text toAthanasius’s other writings and his preoccupation with the Trinitarianconﬂict and imperial policies.8but the purpose of the text is not the only issue that has been madedependent on the interpretation of evidence outside the text. even thespeciﬁc question of whether Athanasius wrote the text has been answeredprimarily on the basis of attributions in the manuscript tradition and theearly attestations by Gregory of nazianzus, Jerome, and the Pachomianhistories.9If we look closely at the text itself, it reveals little about theidentity of the author. Instead, as I will argue here, the text tells us moreabout the objectives of the author than has often been recognized.In the preface to the Life of Antonythe author is vague about his ownidentity and connection to Antony. There is nothing to reveal his position,and while on the one hand he gives the impression of being a close rela-tion to the monk, on the other he states that he needed to collect informa-tion. He says both that he met Antony “often” (πολλάκις), which could,of course, mean anything from several times to regularly, and that hisproblem was that he had no time to interview the monks who really knewhim and thus had to resort to a single disciple of Antony’s.10The onlymention of Athanasius in the Vitaitself tells us about how Antony at hisdeath donates his only belongings to the two bishops Athanasius and Ser-apion, but there is nothing that indicates that the text here refers to its au-thor.11The only ﬁrst-person eyewitness reference is also vague, implyingsimply that the author was part of the group of Alexandrians who es-corted Antony out of the city after his anti-Arian visit to the city.12more-over, in the index to the festal letters of Athanasius the visit is dated astaking place in July/August AD 337, several months before Athanasiusreturned from his ﬁrst exile on november 23, 337. This date ﬁts well withthe reference in the Life of Antonyto the invitation being issued “by thebishops” in plural, that is, not by Athanasius, but also with the fact thatthe imminent return of Athanasius was made known to the Christians inAlexandria in a letter from the emperor in late July.13Further, if Athanasius really was well acquainted with Antony andauthored the Vita, it is strange that Antony appears only once in Athana-sius’s corpus. The passage in which he is mentioned is, moreover, prob-lematic. In the Historia arianorumAthanasius tells the story of how amilitary commander, balacius, died from an accident as a result of hisdisdainful treatment of one of Antony’s letters.14The same story appears,albeit with signiﬁcant differences, in the Life of Antony.In the HistoriaarianorumAntony is writing to bishop George, the Arian replacementof Athanasius during his second exile, and only accidentally is the let-ter shown to balacius, who, on the instigation of the bishop, spits on it.In the Life of AntonyAntony writes to the commander himself to stophim from persecuting Christians, especially monks, whereupon balacius...
Chapter 5: The Memory Palace of Marcellinus
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The Memory Palace of MarcellinusAthanasius and the Mirror of the PsalmsGeorGiA FrAnkin 2002, a new product hit the Bible market. The “SurvivalBible” consisted of a viewing panel into which users couldinsert one of several “scripture scrolls.” each scroll was de-voted to a speciﬁc topic (e.g., faith, love, healing) and contained about adozen biblical quotations on that speciﬁc topic. The variety of scrolls en-sured that whatever situation one faced, an apt scroll would be at hand.Available in a home edition with a handsome three-drawer wooden cabi-net or a six-inch traveler’s version, the “Survival Bible” promised that“the word of God will reveal the way in and the out of every situation.”1The Survival Bible stands in a long line of devices that fragment andreorder the Bible. in antiquity, physical devices, such as the codex, alteredhow Christians encountered the Bible.2 The Diatessaron(ca. 170 Ce),Tatian’s harmony of the four canonical Gospels into a single narrative,soon became one of the most popular editions of the Gospels. it also servedvery practical purposes: its compactness made it easier to transport andless costly to produce.3And its uniﬁed narrative allowed greater ease in lo-cating a Gospel episode. Some complete Bible codices included varioustables and other tools to transform the reader into a navigator. eusebius ofCaesarea, for instance, devised a system of nine tables to facilitate locat-ing similar Gospel texts. Whereas he left the Gospels themselves com-plete, his canon tables cross-referenced passages found in all four Gospelsor in speciﬁc combinations of Gospels. evagrius of Pontus’s Antirhêtikos,or “Talking Back,” assembled 498 biblical passages, each one preceded bythe type of thought or situation for which it was best suited.4 over time,more devices were introduced to organize the Bible for speciﬁc purposes:lectionaries listed scripture lessons for particular divine services; “chains,”or catenae, linked biblical verses appeared with excerpts from patristiccommentaries.5 Such instrumentaallowed codices not only to be put todifferent uses, say, as reference works, but also to organize informationfor easier retrieval and retention.6 All these devices both fragmented andreordered the Bible to transform readers into navigators. in addition toconstructing these formal devices, Christian commentators were knownto advise audiences on when, where, and how to read scripture in theirprivate devotions.7 Guides for interpretation, then, also involved guidesfor use.Viewed against this biblical toolbox, Athanasius of Alexandria’s Let-ter to Marcellinus can be understood as one such user’s device. Probablywritten in the early 360s, the Letterlays out a regimen of psalm readingfor the ailing Marcellinus.8 Within a century of its composition, the Letterto Marcellinus already served as a biblical device. it prefaced the psalmsin the oldest complete Bible, the ﬁfth-century Codex Alexandrinus, alongwith prologue and summary pages. This accretion of study tools forthe psalms suggests that readers depended on these devices to navigatethe Psalter.9Athanasius’s advice consists of stirring praises of the depths andjoys of psalmody along with several lists pairing a given circumstancewith the requisite psalm number. Why the barrage of lists? Can the laudsand the lists be reconciled? By calling attention to the lists, this essayaims to understand the formation of a self in Athanasius’s lists of psalmreferences. i explore how ancient conventions of memory training shapedAthanasius’s advice to Marcellinus. By asking how memory worked in...
Part II: Disciplines and Arenas
Chapter 6: From the Pillar to the Prison
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From the Pillar to the PrisonPenitential Spectacles in Early Byzantine MonasticismDaniEl F. CanEr“Come, gather round, and i will speak to all who haveangered the lord. Come see what He has revealed tome for your ediﬁcation.” Thus John Climacus, au-thor of the seventh-century ascetic treatise the Ladder of Divine Ascent, in-troduces readers to a place called the Prison. This was a monastery of pen-itents, “a land of true mourners,” belonging to a cenobium that John knewoutside alexandria. Built a mile away from the cenobium, it was “dark,stinking, ﬁlthy, and squalid”—“Just seeing the place,” says John, “teachescomplete repentance and mourning.”1also called the isolation Monastery,it conﬁned monks who, after entering the cenobium, had fallen into sin.2Having heard about their “strange condition and humility,” John askedto visit, and what he saw there ﬁlls much of the Ladder’s ﬁfth chapter onmetanoia, that is, repentance/penance: “i saw some of those accused yetinnocent men stand all night in the open, their feet never moving, drivingsleep away with abuse and insults. . . . Others prayed with hands boundbehind their backs, like criminals. . . . Some sat in sackcloth and ashes,beating the ground with their heads, [while] others constantly beat theirbreasts. . . . Often they would go to the [abbot] and beg that he placeiron fetters and collars around their hands and necks, bind their feet . . .and not release them until death.”“Believe me, brothers,” adds John, “i am not making all of this up.”3These penitential ascetics embodied what he called metanoia memerimnē-menē, a truly serious repentance.4Some of them seemed to have become“completely altered in their attitude and state of concentration.”5indeed,after spending an entire month in that “land of metanoia,” John says thathe returned to the cenobium “utterly changed and altered” himself.6John Climacus provides our longest and most vivid description ofthe performance of penance in any early Byzantine monastery. no doubthe was describing a real place.7The use of space in cenobitic monasteriesfor conﬁning unruly monks (as well as heretics, prostitutes, court ofﬁcials,and adulterous aristocrats) is amply attested from the ﬁfth century onward.8according to John, inmates of the alexandrian Prison, eating only breadand chopped vegetables, were forced to pray unceasingly while a super-visor supplied them with palm leaves to weave to ward off boredom.9Butfor all such historical detail, John was not particularly interested in re cord -ing realia. He says little, for example, about the actual lapses that causedmonks to be sentenced to the Prison: instead, he depicts all of them asholy sinners, “accused yet innocent men,” who have redeemed themselvesthrough intense mourning (cf. Mt 5:4, “Blessed are those that mourn, forthey shall be comforted”). His description must be treated not as a histori -cal account but as an example of hagiographical enargeia, a rhetoricalconstruct meant to turn readers into spectators. its purpose, notes JohnChryssavgis, was to provide “an image of penthos, a living icon of repen-tance”for readers of the Ladder.10recent studies of early Byzantine monasticism have focused on therole of a spiritual master in hearing a disciple’s confession and sharing theburden of his sins.11 Climacus is an important witness to that relation-ship,12 but the connection he draws between visualizing penitential actsand achieving “complete repentance and mourning” invites inquiry intothe role of penitential spectacles in early monastic thought and practice.as is well known, Christian communities from the second to the fourth...
Chapter 7: Cassian, Cognition, and the Common Life
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Cassian, Cognition, and the Common LifeCatherine M. ChinFor the past few decades, much work on early Christianasceticism has focused on ascetic individuals, or holypersons, and on the strategies late ancient Christians usedto create them.1in most of this work, the traditional boundaries of thehuman body have generally been taken to be the boundaries of the asce-tic person, always excepting cases of miraculous intervention. Yet lateancient Christians themselves were troubled by the concepts of person-hood and individuation: trinitarian and Christological disputes are merelythe most obvious examples of the problems such topics could engender.2ambiguity over the boundaries between persons also extends into Chris-tian thought about the material routines of everyday life. My speciﬁc sub-ject in this essay is not just any kind of everyday life but the routinesimagined by John Cassian for ascetics in Gaul. Cassian’s Institutesareuseful for reconsidering the categories of the individual person and thecollective in late antique Christianity, since they are clearly intended tobring together collective cenobitic practice and what is often consideredthe individual and interior pursuit of virtue. Because it is traditional tothink of ascetic practice in terms of the single individual ascetic, the spe -ciﬁc relationship between the common life and the individual pursuitof virtue in Cassian’s thought has been a point of some scholarly con-cern. although Cassian seems at times to favor anachoresisas a superiormethod of seeking virtue, he also clearly lays out the pitfalls of with-drawal into the desert, pitfalls that he claims are best avoided by remain-ing in the common life.3no individual ascetic, however, can simultane-ously practice both the common and the solitary life; thus a choice mustbe made between the two.4One of the more fruitful approaches to resolving this tension in Cas -sian was proposed by Philip rousseau in his 1978 study Ascetics, Au-thority, and the Church in the Age of Jerome and Cassian: that, for Cas -sian, “the ﬁnal aim . . . is not so much union with Christ as union withone’s fellows—‘to be loved by the brethren who share one’s task.’”5rous -seau’s lucid formulation of Cassian’s aim as “union,” and the impliedparallel between “union with one’s fellows” and “union with Christ,”provide an excellent theoretical starting point for understanding the lim-its and ends of ascetic personhood in Cassian. if the aim of ascetic prac-tice is union, either with multiple others or with a single divine other, themodern category of the individual becomes a very problematic lensthrough which to view the ascetic person. as an alternative, i would liketo examine Cassian’s notion of the ascetic person using the idea of unionand the sharing of an ascetic task. the idea of the cooperative systemrather than the freestanding individual as the fundamental unit of analy-sis is basic to modern systems theory;6to analyze Cassian’s depiction ofascetic union and the shared ascetic task, i draw speciﬁcally on the ideaof distributed cognition, in which the performance of ostensibly interiorcognitive tasks is understood to be situated within speciﬁc human andnonhuman systems.7the integration of individual cognitive actors into alarger systemic unit in this model allows us to see Cassian’s portrayalsof individual and collective ascetic lives without a strict division be-tween an interior and exterior in the activity of the mind or soul. Oncethis division breaks down, once multiple ﬁgures may be understood tobe contributors to interior cognitive actions, the line between the “innerman” and the “outer man,” and hence the line between the individual andthe collective, also begins to blur. thus a distributive model of asceticvirtue allows the cenobitic and anchoritic lives to be neither competingnor hierarchically distinct models of ascetic practice but different mani-festations or processes within the same system of uniﬁcation.in brief, i will argue here that Cassian uses the framework of theOrigenist apokatastasisas his large-scale system of uniﬁcation. the cre-ation of individualized ascetic persons as traditionally understood is notCassian’s intent. instead, Cassian distributes the ascetic pursuit of virtueacross both human and nonhuman, visible and invisible, componentsof a larger ascetic system. in so doing, Cassian locates the “interior” ofthe interior life not exclusively in the individual human body but insidethe collectivity in which that body participates. thus Cassian’s notionof the ascetic person should not be limited to speciﬁc manifestations incertain monks; rather, it should be expanded into a much more complexunit of human, divine, and material convergence. My primary focus willbe on the foundations of this notion in the ﬁrst ﬁve books of Cassian’sInstitutes, but it will also be necessary to consider related material on therelationship of the soul to the common life in the Conferences....
Chapter 8: Gender, Eros, and Pedagogy
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VirGinia Burrus“iwant to defend here the contention that Gregory ofnyssa’s Life of Macrinadescribes more a ‘pious house-hold’ than anything ‘institutional,’” asserts Philip rous -seau in the opening salvo of a 2005 essay.1a decade earlier, he writesof the special role and status of educated women like Macrina, raisingthe question of “the ‘learned’ woman’s relationship with what we mightloosely call ‘the servant class’” and going on to suggest an increase in “theperceived usefulness or purpose of instructed insight among women, notleast by the women themselves.”2Building on these arguments, i wouldlike to reﬂect further on the implications of the emergence of a distinctlyfemale culture of learning and teaching within the late ancient Christianhousehold. in particular, i would like to consider the relational and af-fective dynamics thereby engaged, as these leave their traces on the as-cetic literary imagination.susanna Elm argues that “fourth-century women ascetics adoptedorganizational patterns and forged institutions via a complex process in-volving both the transformation of the given model of the family and areaction against that very model.” she adds: “Women did so in concertwith men.”3rousseau would have us resist the temptation to see everyinstance of household asceticism as a nascent form of monastic institu-tion forging, and rightly so; yet the process of imaginative transformation(even, possibly, of “reactive” transformation) still demands attention, asdoes the way in which men as well as women are implicated in the changestaking place within a household like Macrina’s. Gregory’s innovative ha-giography shows us how one man uses his sister to think about his owntransformed familial identity, even as he also gives voice to hers. By recon-structing the traditional patriarchal household as an eroticized pedagogicalcommunity of women, the Life of Macrinasimultaneously creates spacefor Gregory to reimagine the erotics of male receptivity, via performedreversals of gender. allowing Macrina to take the lead as teacher, parent,and lover, Gregory turns the traditionally feminine necessity to submit intoa desirable masculine virtue. in so doing, he decisively queers the familyvalues conveyed by the ascetic household.This reading of the Life of Macrinawill be lightly situated within theintertwined histories—or perhaps better, metahistories—of education,sexuality, and the family. Here i can, of course, offer no more than a roughsketch of some of the more prominent features of those histories, as com-monly construed.4We may begin by recalling that ancient Greeks notori-ously considered the oikosnot only inferior to, but also potentially in ten-sion with, the polis; if the former provided the basic necessities of life, thelatter existed so that at least some men might live well(aristotle, Pol.1.2).The educational formation of a noble citizenry was not, then, primarily afamilial or household function but took place within the realm of warfare,politics, and/or philosophy, where mastery of others and self—in short,the fulﬁllment of manhood—was the goal. Pederasty, the erotic relation-ship of an older man (erastēs) with a youth (eromenos), seems to havebeen central to the process of male socialization in many parts of Greeceand indeed became a commonly noted feature of Greek culture. as HenriMarrou observes (with some skittishness) in his classic History of Edu-cation in Antiquity, “This type of love was essentially educative.” Heelaborates: “The establishment of a closed masculine community fromwhich women were excluded had an educational signiﬁcance, and in acertain sense derived from an educational impulse”—namely, the need toreproduce manhood.5Yet however pervasive and pedagogically effective“Greek love” was, pederasty could also be a source of anxiety, as MichelFoucault has argued more recently, with speciﬁc reference to classicalathens. Was the submission of the boy to his older lover seemly, or didit, on the contrary, compromise the very manhood that it also promised toinstill? “The role of the boy was the focus of a good deal of uncertainty,combined with an intense interest.”6Plato’s writings, however idiosyncratic, are among the best-knownreﬂections of a widespread (and, needless to say, androcentric) Greektendency to exalt the love of boys over the desire for wives, the pursuitof philosophy or politics over the care of the household. They also reﬂecta degree of problematization of traditional pederastic practices, insofaras these practices presume a ﬁxed hierarchy and a strict correspondingdistinction between active and passive roles. David Halperin argues thatPlato borrows from conceptions of feminine desire in order to promotean understanding of male homoerotic desire that is reciprocal, rather thanunidirectional, and (pro)creative, rather than dominating or acquisitive.This is especially evident in the Symposium, where socrates’ teacher inthe art of eroticism is represented as a woman, namely, the prophetessDiotima (Symposium201d).7according to the Platonic model, the over -ﬂowing desire of the lover evokes a responsive or “countering” desire(anterōs) in the beloved, and the result of this mutual (though non sym -metrical) erotic excitement is not physical pleasure or social conquest butrather the “birth” of philosophic insight—begotten by the lover yet alsoconceived within the soul of the beloved. Thus, in “Platonic love,” theeducational aspect of pederasty is intensiﬁed even as the sexual aspect is,to a degree, sublimated. as Foucault puts it, Plato structures “the love re-lation as a relation to truth,” and he does so in part by “reversing the roleof the loved young man, making him a lover of the master of truth.”8...
Chapter 9: Waiting for Theodosius, or The Ascetic and the City
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Waiting for Theodosius, or The Ascetic and the CityGregory of Nazianzus on Maximus the PhilosopherThis is a book that was written in some ways backwards: not as a search forroots, but as the exploration of . . . the ordered discovery of attitudes (aboveall on authority) gradually accumulated in the minds of Christians . . . afterConstantine. The book is about ascetics, but the inquiry began [and ends]with bishops. . . .What reputation could [these men . . .] acquire? What holddid [they] have over the imagination [of their audience]?—Rousseau, Ascetics, Authority, and the ChurchAsceticism, authority, and the church, the individual andthe community as illuminated through “exploration of[their] literary heritage,” are among the themes that fas-cinate Philip Rousseau.1Focusing on a broad cast of characters, rangingfrom Sidonius Apollinaris via Jerome, Augustine, and Pachomius to Basilof Caesarea and Theodoret of Cyrus, Philip Rousseau has repeatedly ex-plored whether these ascetics of great authority displayed in their literarylegacy “an understanding of the human heart and what was required inthose who wished to form and guide it.”2That capacity, rather than, say,the institutional ramiﬁcations of the organizations and communities cre-ated by and reﬂected in this literary legacy, is Philip Rousseau’s litmustest for authority. What did the individuals in question do or write to en-sure that their community would be both lasting and humane? The an-swers are rarely straightforward. After all, many of these persons were“rather odd” (e.g., Basil), “tentative and gradual [in shaping the] allianceamong men and women” whom they sought to guide. Mistakes weremade.3As ascetics, these men were not “secluded and self-protective,” but,having carefully assessed “the relation between the pursuit of phi loso -phy, as [they] interpreted it, and engagement with the pastoral life,” they“made a deﬁnite commitment, and stuck with it.”4Maximus the Philoso-pher might therefore be a man at least somewhat after Philip Rousseau’sheart insofar as he too was rather odd and engaged in consciously assess-ing the relationship between philosophy and “pastoral care.” The samecannot so conﬁdently be said for his literary impresario, Gregory of Nazi -anzus, whom Philip Rousseau had in mind when making the remark citedabove. Gregory had not made a deﬁnite commitment to the pastoral lifeand stuck with it (or so it could easily appear). His literary legacy, more-over, certainly encourages readings that portray him as a reclusive “theo -logian of the inner life of the Trinity” whose concerns regarding theκοινωνία, its longevity and humanity, were secondary to theological con-cerns.5No wonder that Gregory of Nazianzus features less in Philip’soeuvre. Still, not all is lost, and perhaps even Gregory may be broughtcloser to Philip’s standards. Those for whom Philip Rousseau is an ad-mired mentor know how high these standards are. Philip’s “understand-ing of the human heart,” his wisdom in knowing what is required whenforming and guiding, is a precious inspiration.Maximus the Philosopher, or Maximus of Constantinople, as por-trayed by Gregory, was at the very least not frail as “a spider’s silk swing-ing widely at the slightest breeze, [nor] too tender for this tumbling worldof mountebanks, and quacks and gobs.”6Gregory’s picture of the manmay, however, suggest that Gregory, by contrast, was not suited to actionand leadership but was easily duped by others more at home in the worldand ready to make commitments and stick with them. Yet his portrayal ofMaximus of Constantinople was, as so often in his work, a calling card:to praise and then to condemn Maximus let others know what Greg oryconsidered the true ascetic life, how he interpreted the pursuit of phi -loso phy, and what that implied for the situation in which Gregory foundhimself. Gregory’s philosophy was an active one in which service (λει -τουργία) to the community was the raison d’être. This community wasthe οἰκου μένηof the Romans, metaphorically and literally representedby the “city” (Constantinople), an earthly city intrinsically tied to “thecity above” (Gregory Nazianzen, Or. 19; 26.17).Maximus the Philosopher is a ﬁgure integral to Gregory’s time in Con-stantinople, the intense two years between his arrival in 379 to lead asmall Nicene community and his retirement to his estate near Nazianzusin 381. These years witnessed his accession as bishop of Constantinoplethanks to Theodosius I, his presidency of the ecumenical council, his res-ignation, and his subsequent retirement. Gregory delivered his “pane-gyric on philosophy” (Or. 25.1) to Maximus in the spring or early sum-mer of 380. This period has received a great deal of scholarly attention,since it marks the period between Theodosius’s famous law known as“cunctos populos,” issued in February 380, and his arrival in Constan-tinople in November of that year.7In this edict the emperor declared thathe wished all his subjects to follow the religion Peter had brought to theRomans as exempliﬁed in the teachings of Damasus of Rome and Peterof Alexandria; that the followers of these teachings should be known asCatholics while dissenters were to be considered “infamous” protago-nists of heresy; and that dissenters’ meeting places should be denied thename churches. “They are to be smitten ﬁrst with divine vengeance, andafterwards also by punishment on our initiative, which we shall havetaken up on the basis of the judgment of heaven.”on the face of it, this law appears to be an unambiguous declarationof imperial intent. Scholars have indeed long read it as such, following...
Part III: Landscapes (with Figures)
Chapter 10: Remembering for Eternity
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Remembering for EternityThe Ascetic Landscape as Cultural Discourse in Early Christian EgyptJAmEs E. GoEhRinGin a fascinating volume entitled The Age of Homespun, Lau-rel Thatcher Ulrich explores the origins, contributions, andpersistence of the American myth of homespun through ananalysis of eleven late seventeenth- to early nineteenth-century objectsfrom new England representing rural life and household production: anindian basket, two spinning wheels, a niddy-noddy, a woodsplint basket,and an unﬁnished stocking. The objects were collected and saved in thelatter half of the nineteenth century, a period of rapid industrializationand urban growth, and their preservation reﬂects the cultural response ofindividuals longing for a simpler and more authentic life left behind. Ul-rich’s study unravels the idealizations inherent in the myth of this moreidyllic past, revealing the complex economic and social structures thatshaped the history of preindustrial America.1 in the process, she revealsas well the persistent power of historical myth to inﬂuence Americanlives and culture.in uncovering the historical realities of rural life and household pro-duction, Ulrich lays bare the selective nature of memory in the construc-tion of the myth of homespun. horace Bushnell, for example, who chris-tened the Age of homespun in a speech at the Litchﬁeld, Connecticut,County Centennial in 1851, constructed an alternative vision of history byfocusing on the common people instead of simply repeating the usualrecitation of famous men and events.2 Declaring the latter “to be com-monly very much a ﬁction,” he offered up instead the rural families whohad cleared the forests, built the cabins, and spun and woven the clothesas the real founders of Litchﬁeld County.3 “You must not go to the burialplaces,” he proclaimed, “and look about only for the tall monuments andthe titled names. it is not the starred epitaphs of the Doctors of Divinity,the Generals, the Judges, the honourables, the Governors, or even the vil-lage notables called Esquires, that mark the springs of our success and thesources of our distinctions. These are rather effects than causes; the spin-ning-wheels have done a great deal more than these.”4 he drew a pictureof a rural Eden where an industrious and religious family life centered theindividual. “Daily work created . . . spontaneous pleasure,” and neighbor-liness offered connectedness.5spinning and sewing bees supplied the kindof recreation that “pleased them, this to them was real society.”6Bushnell’s vision of the past, of course, was as idealized as those hesought to replace. he created his “lyrical and cohesive rendering” of themyth in part by avoiding “the dark underside of new England history . . .by removing events from his story.”7The indigenous people, for example,disappear from Bushnell’s landscape. he refers to them but once, “earlyin his speech when he suggested that spinning and weaving marked a stagein the evolution of humankind from savagery to civilization.”8While, asUlrich shows, the indigenous people continued to play a signiﬁcant rolein the economics and culture of new England, there was simply no placefor them in the ideal rural landscape that Bushnell constructed. he fash-ioned his myth by excising those troubling elements that confounded hisvision of the Age of homespun.What interests me here in Ulrich’s work is the way history is trans-formed into cultural myth through a process of selective remembering.she directly notes this aspect in her conclusions, observing that “peoplemake history not only in the work they do and the choices they make, butin the things they choose to remember.”9Authors like Bushnell participatein and add momentum to the process. The historical myth that emergesfashions the past both as an ideological haven that offers release from thepressures and anxieties of the present and as a value-laden tableau thatworks to conform the present culture to its own particular vision of his-tory. By presenting its artiﬁcial world as given and inevitable, the mythnaturalizes its cultural and social construction of the world within theworld.10in an ongoing dialectical process, culture produces out of its ownpast the very myth that creates its own future. myth, history, and cultureperform a dance of cultural change.The interaction of history, memory, and culture evidenced by Ulrichin the nineteenth-century creation of the myth of homespun ﬁnds signiﬁ-cant parallels in the fourth-century Christian creation of the myth of thedesert. Through a process of selective and often purposeful memory, as-cetics, believers, and authors elaborated on ﬁgures and events of the re-cent past to fashion “one of the most abiding creations of late antiquity.”11The myth drew its power in part from its association with historical ﬁg -ures, an association that increased the believability of its claims by link-ing them to factual events. in its preserved memory, however, the mythenhanced the concept of withdrawal from society through its emphasison the spatial imagery of the desert, increased the spiritual stature of theascetics through miracle stories and a process of selective memory, andpuriﬁed their landscape through the equation of monasticism and ortho-doxy. The myth of the desert that emerged served not only to recruit newascetic disciples but also to buttress the values of the larger Christian cul-ture through the example of the desert saints whose angelic lives providedevidence of the power inherent in the new faith. Their stories served asguidebooks for ascetic and lay Christians alike. They played a central rolein the development of late antique Christian spirituality and, perhaps evenmore impressively, have continued to inﬂuence Christian culture throughthe centuries until today.inthe following pages, i would like to explore three examples fromantiquity that illustrate the role played by selective memory, whether con-scious or unconscious, in the production of the myth of the desert. Theseinclude Athanasius’s Life of Antony, the Life of Shenoute, traditionallyattributed to his disciple Besa, and the recent evidence of a manichaeanascetic community emerging from the Dakhleh oasis.12 i will focus onthe role of memory in the formation of the myth of the desert by explor-ing the creation of a physical space of otherness in Athanasius’s Life of...
Chapter 11: Xeniteia According to Evagrius of Pontus
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XeniteiaAccording to Evagrius of PontusRobin DARling YoungThe condition of being a xenos—a stranger—fascinated theauthors of ascetic culture in the mid-fourth century. Thenovelty and experimental arrangements of monastic set-tlements outside and around cities and villages prompted anxious discus-sion of what kind of voluntary exile—xeniteia—was tolerable and whatkind was controversial and intolerable. A few earlier Christians had usedthe term and had admired exemplary wanderers like Abraham, Paul, orJesus; but monastic writers recording their new project had the more dif -ﬁcult task of distinguishing between good xeniteiaand its menacing imi -tation. ultimately, some came to abjure the footloose monks whom theylabeled and forbade in the course of describing monastic life but to re-tain the practice of xeniteiametaphorically, replacing actual travel withan intellectual voyage for the journeying mind. i dedicate the followingdiscussion of this process in one notable monastic to my friend and col-league, Philip Rousseau.uneasily at times, the ascetic culture of late fourth-century Egyptplayed host to a genuine stranger in the person of the cosmopolitan intel-lectual Evagrius of Pontus, now practitioner of the monastic life underthe tutelage of local masters in the exurbs of Alexandria. Taking up resi-dence in nitria and then in Kellia, Evagrius learned the arts of the asce-tic life from the great teachers there, among whom were Macarius thegreat and Macarius the Egyptian. Yet at nearly forty, Evagrius came asone already trained at the highest level of the late ancient curriculum,and as an ascetic philosopher he would outstrip his previous teachers—Ruﬁnus and Melania, gregory nazianzen, and basil of Caesarea. likethem, he knew and loved the books of ancient philosophers and scientists;but his afﬁnity for the works, and the thinking, of Clement of Alexandriaand origen drew his own thought closer to an earlier era, when the Chris-tian sage could freely mingle traditional sources with Christian scrip-tural ones.Evagrius was a notable xenoswho left neocaesarea for Constanti -nople, Constantinople for Jerusalem, and ﬁnally Jerusalem for the “desert”southwest of Alexandria, but like his teachers he interpreted Christianxeniteiaas an internal stance rather than a geographic dislocation. Histeachings on the topic often appear in scholarly treatments of monasticwandering or voluntary exile. This doxographical approach fundamentalto the history of ideas, however, is not much help in describing the cli-mate of thought among the men and women who wrote about anachore-sis, withdrawal, and xeniteiain the ascetic life. no attention has yet beengiven to how Evagrius’s views were formed by Clement of Alexandria,who addressed the subject in his own controversial interpretation of arival gnostic’s teachings. Evagrius evidently followed the lead of Clem -ent in framing his own discussion of xeniteiaby elevating it to a virtue—and placing it within the long tradition of stories of wandering, seen inboth its temporal and its otherworldly meanings. As a philosopher Eva-grius contributed little to the actual regulation of ungovernable monas-tics, but he did ensure that Clement’s portrait of the gnostic and wiseman would persist as a template for the elite, intellectual Christian ascetic.Through Evagrius, Clement’s fusion of scriptural and Hellenic (Clement’sown term) imagination reached into the ascetic life and survived amongEvagrius’s ascetic legatees.Antoine guillaumont has already demonstrated Evagrius’s acquaintancewith the works of Clement of Alexandria, and a more thoroughgoingcomparison would help account for why Evagrius seems as indebted toClem ent as to origen in many respects.1in speciﬁcally discussing xeniteia,though, Evagrius shares Clement’s evident aim to convey esoteric teach-ings through pedagogical and exegetical works; as the leader of an eso-teric group himself, one still prizing gnôsis, he may have found Clem ent’sworks to be a model for encoding a program of paideiain a languagealready enriched with Hellenic allusions and snippets of ancient authorsgiven new meaning by the practice of allegorical exegesis. in addition,Evagrius may have had his own difﬁculties with dualist rivals, a situ -ation that allowed him to see in Clement’s work analogies to his own situ -ation. Where Clement wrote against interpreters like basilides and Valenti-nus, Evagrius may have written against the Egyptian disciples of Mani.2it was in just such an encounter that debate concerning the meaningsof xenosand xeniteiahad already arisen among esoteric Christian teach-ers. in the late second century, basilides’ Exegeticaspurred Clem ent toclarify numerous points of esoteric teaching for the philosophically in-clined among his Christian students. in the discussion of one such point,the problem of xeniteiaarose. Clement raised the term xenosin at leasttwo places in his writing. in both of these passages, he seems to have in-tended to use it to wrest another and related term from his rival in Alex -andria, something he consistently did in his teaching.For Clement and basilides, the term really at issue was not xenosper se but eklogê, “choice” or “election.” Valentinus, Theodotus, andbasili des had all used the term to describe the “seed,” that is, the spiri-tual ones whose natural destiny was beyond that of the rest of the humanrace, out of whom they had been chosen. Clement cited basilides in par-ticular as having interpreted election as a consequence of nature; whereasearlier Christian interpreters had asserted that god had shifted his choiceof a people from israel to the followers of Christ, basilides and others,reﬂecting on Providence through a Platonist lens, interpreted election as akind of intellective afﬁnity for the divine. basilides was himself interpret-ing Paul, who in Romans 9:11 and elsewhere discussed god’s election...
Chapter 12: Adam, Eve, and the Elephants
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PAtriciA cox MillErAround the year 400 or perhaps shortly thereafter, a chris-tian artist of unknown provenance carved an ivory dip-tych whose left leaf features a nude Adam seated in alanguid position.1 located in the upper, central-right register of the dip-tych leaf, Adam looks out with a dreamy expression, not quite makingeye contact with the viewer. remarkably, he is accompanied by a cascadeof animals who tumble down the leaf: to Adam’s right there is an eagle,followed by a smaller bird, and then a leopard, a lioness, a roaring lion, abear, a boar, a fox, a cartwheeling elephant, a horse, a goat, a lizard, a ser-pent, an ox, a grasshopper, a sheep, and ﬁnally a stag and doe, who areplaced just above a representation of the four rivers of paradise.2in the guise of orpheus charming the animals with the magic of hissong, Adam ﬂoats in space in a topsy-turvy frolic with the beasts of para-dise. What is Adam’s role here in this leaf of the carrand diptych? ishe part of a “force-ﬁeld of desire” for natural harmony?3 Does he, likeCarrand diptych, ca. 400, left leaf. Photo courtesy of Hirmer Fotoarchiv, Munich.animals, exist in the world “like water in water,” as Georges Bataille sug-gested?4that is, is Adam’s intimacy with the world so profound that thereis a natu ral continuity between the human and the animal? As Bataille,again, remarked, “the animal opens before me a depth that attracts meand is familiar to me. in a sense, i know this depth: it is my own.”5Ba -taille’s perspective supports an orphic reading of the ﬁgures in this image,including Adam, as an idyll of cavorting animal life.While most art historians acknowledge the indebtedness of this bu-colic scene to artistic images of orpheus, most would reject the animal-human symbiosis implied by the phrase “like water in water.”6 this isbecause the presumed scriptural referent of this scene, Adam naming theanimals in Genesis 2:19– 20, is understood, by an intertextual sleight ofhand, in concert with Genesis 1:26, the passage in which God gives hu-mankind dominion over the ﬁsh, the birds, and the domestic and wildanimals. in art-historical interpretation, this scene thus positions Adam,on top and larger even than the elephant, as one who controls the ani-mals rather than harmonizing with them.7 the gesture of Adam’s righthand, in this perspective, does not point to the roaring lion in wonder butinstead establishes Adam’s dominance and superiority. Such a view ofthe dominical Adam separates the human from the animal rather thanplacing the human in a continuum with the ﬂesh-and-bones materialityof the natural world.the intertextual reading that understands naming as a being-overrather than a being-with is indebted to a certain strain of patristic commen-tary on Adam and the beasts. Especially in the Hexameron tradition as ex-empliﬁed by Basil of caesarea, Ambrose, and John chrysostom, Adam’sdominion over the animals as namer is attributed to his creation in theimage of God: only humans have reason and hence are superior to the ir-rational beasts.8As Basil of caesarea put the case for animals, “there isonly one soul of brute beasts, for there is one thing that characterizes it,namely, lack of reason [ἀλογία].”9As for Adam, chrysostom was espe-cially enthusiastic about the exalted status of the human: “Do you see theunrivalled authority? Do you see [Adam’s] lordly dominance?”10 Notingthat Genesis speciﬁes that Adam gave names to all the cattle, all the birdsof heaven, and all the beasts of the earth, chrysostom continues: “Notice,i ask you, dearly beloved, his independence of decision and the eminenceof his understanding, and don’t say he didn’t know right from wrong.i mean, the being that has the ability to put the right names on cattle, andbirds, and beasts without getting the sequence mixed up, not giving towild beasts the names suited to the tame ones nor allotting to the tameanimals what belonged to the wild ones, but giving them all their rightnames—how could he not be full of intelligence and understanding?”11Adam knew his animals! But in this kind of literal reading, the animalsdo not open on a depth shared by human beings but are reduced to an in-ferior reality.For patristic authors, however, animal bodies were not only literaldumb ﬂesh but also, and especially, signs that carried a complex value.12Discussion of Adam and the animals typically—and quickly—becomesa zoological mapping of the human being, body and soul. First, the body:uses of animals to characterize the human body could be quite negative,particularly in ascetic contexts that devalued pleasures associated withthe ﬂesh. As ingvild Sælid Gilhus has shown, especially in her analysisof christian texts from Nag Hammadi, “Animality was intimately inter-twined with the sexual aspect of the body.”13 Human being and animalshared the negative space of the sexed body. in the Paraphrase of Shem,for example, demonic animality lay “at the very root of the cosmos andnature,” including human nature.14Not everyone reduced the human bodyonly to its bestial habits, however. Philip rousseau, the honoree of thisvolume, has argued with regard to Basil that “he did not think that theFall had destroyed nature in any fundamental way.”15Just as animals pos-sess “natural instincts” for self-preservation, “we also,” wrote Basil, “pos -sess natural virtues.”16As rousseau argues further, nature (φύσις) was forBasil “the hidden presence of God’s creative word” in animal as well ashuman bodies.17 of course, even though Basil did not demonize humanphysicality with animal images, he was not completely positive about ouranimal selves; we share their earthly “humiliation,” and he thought thatthe ﬂesh has “whims” that, when they overtake the mind, become thesource of evil.18As for the zoological mapping of the soul, chrysostom, for example,remarked that “just as there are tame and ferocious animals, so in the soulsome of our ideas are more lethargic, others savage”; such “wildness ofthought” needs to be “transformed into natural human mildness.”19thisconnection between the wild beasts and “disturbing passions” can alsobe found in Basil’s Hexaemeron, where, for example, Basil discusses“the herds”:...
Chapter 13: The Consolation of Nature
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The Consolation of NatureFields and Gardens in the Preaching of John ChrysostomBlake leyerlePreaching in the urban churches of antioch and Constan-tinople at the end of the fourth century, John Chrysostomoften dilated on the beauties of creation.1 Occasionallyscripture prompted this theme, but at other times the preacher seems tohave deliberately introduced it. In this respect, he was not wholly idio-syncratic. as Philip rousseau has shown, Basil too paid close attentionto the natural world. It was a way, Basil believed, for a person to cometo self-knowledge and, most crucially, to the knowledge of God.2 Theinvestigation of nature was thus a religious act that demanded asceti-cism and, when rightly done, led to wonder and praise. In homage, then, toPhilip, from whom I have learned and continue to learn so much, I offer thefollowing essay on Chrysostom’s view of nature and the proper responseof humans to their environment, and on the preacher’s rhetorical use ofpastoral imagery. like other forms of pastoralism, I argue, Chrysostom’sbucolic imagery represents an attempt to resolve the conﬂict between na-ture and civilization. In the late fourth-century church, this conﬂict neces-sarily engaged the debate over the practices and prestige of asceticism.On the most basic level, the countryside is presented as a place of health-ful simplicity. Chrysostom assumes that everyone would agree that life inthe country is healthier than that in the city. This is the result, in the ﬁrstinstance, of cleaner air.3rural inhabitants live far from the smell of opensewers and cesspits that pervades urban life.4The clear streams and bub-bling springs of the countryside are indisputably purer than the pipedwater of the cities. People moving to the city take care to inquire aboutthe air quality before taking up residence.5a simple diet and regular strenuous work also contribute to the ro-bust health of rural inhabitants. Countrywomen are demonstrably strongerthan their urban counterparts. Fancifully, Chrysostom suggests that in awrestling contest rural women would easily defeat urban men.6Because it is healthier, country living is more pleasurable. Thus,whenever they can, elite urbanites leave their city residences and goout into the countryside; in town, they take delight in constructing pri-vate “lawns and gardens.”7some of these are quite elaborate, with “ﬂow -ing springs and fountains, covered walkways, and trees swaying in thewind.”8If it were a matter of choice, Chrysostom opines, the rich wouldprefer to have “trees and the comfort of meadows in the upper rooms of[their] houses . . . rather than golden roofs and magniﬁcent walls.”9Part of this delight in the rural stemmed from the elite preference foragricultural wealth. From Chrysostom’s praise of the patriarchs, it wouldseem that the preacher shared this preference. he describes abraham’swealth as “more desirable, more satisfying, more useful, more secure,more just, more religious, more ﬁt for a man, less onerous, less exposedto loss, and not liable to change or reversal.” and in his praise of Jobhe goes even further. Because Job’s wealth was primarily agricultural,the preacher characterizes it as “legitimate wealth, natural commerce, inwhich God himself was involved.”10In the hygienic countryside one ex-periences more fully the productivity of nature.While Chrysostom exclaims over the diversity of seasons, terrains, ani-mals, and plants, he is especially struck by the variety of trees. Carefullyhe distinguishes the position, height, fragrance, foliage, fruit, season,and usefulness of various species.11Poplars, for example, demand a lotof water, and cypresses must be transplanted, but conifers are beautifulyear-round.12 If fruit-bearing trees “make no secret of their usefulness,”others contribute timber “for building houses and making countless otherthings.”13such astute observation suggests a real engagement with natureor the mentality of a collector.14Chrysostom’s pleasure in contemplating natural diversity is indisso-ciably tied to an appreciation of the productivity of the earth, in which “nopart is useless.” even land that seems infertile yields valuable commodi-ties: “It bears iron, bronze, gold, silver, not to mention spices and medi-cines of all sorts and varieties. Who could tell the usefulness of water bothpotable and brackish, the advantages of the mountains, the mines ofthe various rocks, the springs to be found in them, the trees suitable forrooﬁng and building? all this is the fruit of wilderness [ἡ ἐρῆμος].”15In-deed, in its productive diversity, the earth’s terrain resembles the humanbody. as a body consists of bones, nerves, and ﬂesh, so the earth boastsmountains, ravines, and rich farms. But the fertility of the earth far ex-ceeds that of humans. after a woman has given birth, milk ﬂows to herbreasts so that she can feed her offspring; but the earth “puts forth breastsall over” in the form of rivers, springs, and rains for the nourishment of or-chards and gardens.16 In paradise adam rejoiced, beholding this naturalabundance: “Consider, after all, how great a thrill it was to see the treesgroaning under the weight of their fruit, to see the variety of the ﬂowers,the different kinds of plants, the leaves on the branches, and all the otherthings you would be likely to chance upon in a garden, especially a gardenplanted by God.”17 The remarkable productivity of the earth comes, notfrom the toil of farmers, but from God.18Intimately connected with nature’s plenitude is its orderliness. Chry -sostom celebrates the dance of days and nights, of seasons, and of years,the intermingling of elements, and “the vast array of stars.”19This harmo-nious sequence underscores the worth of every person, no matter howhumble, since for his or her sake God made the sun to rise, the moon to...
Part IV: Founding the Field
Chapter 14: Adolf Harnack and the Paleontological Layer of Church History
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Adolf Harnack and the Paleontological Layer of Church HistoryCLAudiA RAPPThe nineteenth century was an exciting period for the studyof antiquity in Germany. Karl Lachmann (1793– 1851)had recently pioneered the modern philological methodof textual analysis that aimed to establish the “urtext” by peeling awaythe layers that had accumulated and obscured it in the process of textualtransmission—a method that he applied to the iliad as much as to theNew Testament. The Monumenta Germaniae Historica series for the edi-tion of all kinds of sources relevant to the late antique and medieval his-tory of Germany was founded in 1819; late antique texts were added in theAuctores Antiquissimi subseries in 1876.1The Corpus Scriptorum Histo-riae Byzantinae was started in 1828. The ﬁrst volume of the Real encyclo -pädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft was published by AugustPauly in 1839, based on the recognition that material artifacts are asrelevant to the study of antiquity as the classical authors. Schliemann “dis-covered” Troy in 1871, the German Archaeological institute in Athenswas established in 1874, and excavations began in Pergamon in 1878. TheAcademy of Sciences in Berlin became home to large-scale collabora-tive projects: the Prosopographia Imperii Romani; the Thesaurus LinguaeLatinae (a joint project of several academies), the Corpus NummorumofRoman coins, and the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum—all thanks tothe initiative of Theodor Mommsen, who also edited, together with PaulKrüger, Justinian’s Digest(1868– 172)and the Codex Theodosianus(pub-lished 1905, two years after Mommsen’s death).2These scholarly endeav-ors were riding on the tide of a new impetus to invigorate education atschools and universities proposed by intellectuals and politicians in theKingdom of Prussia.3The study of Latin and classical Greek becamethe centerpiece of the “humanistisches Gymnasium” in the expectationthat the mastery of the ancient languages, especially of Greek, wouldshape the mental faculties of the future German elite and that familiaritywith classical culture and history would equip them with a moral com-pass and cultivate their aesthetic senses. Education, or better, formationin the classics became the pedagogical ideal for a fully realized humanityand thus acquired quasi-religious status, a “neuhumanistische Bildungs -religion,” in the apt phrase coined by the German social historian Hans-ulrich Wehler.4The Friedrich-Wilhelms-universität (now Humboldt-universität) in Berlin was founded in 1809, and instruction began in thefollowing year in the four divisions (Fakultäten) of law, medicine, phi-losophy, and theology.Through all these initiatives, the methodological triad of philology,archaeology, and history was established as the key for gaining a detailedand complete knowledge of the ancient world. The focus of this enter-prise was, ﬁrst and foremost, classical Athens—the seminal period thathad been the inspiration for generations of Germans and the object ofthe romantic longings of the German Bildungbürgertumever since thedays of Goethe and Schiller, reinforced by the educational ideal of Wil-helm von Humboldt.5Roman history, if it was the object of academicstudy at all, was entirely focused on the republican period as a model fora structured and balanced society. in all these pioneering efforts, one phe-nomenon was awkwardly out of place: the Christian religion, the way itgained a stronghold in (some might even say a stranglehold on) the so-ciety of the Later Roman Empire and its rapid permeation of Greek andLatin literary production.in the following, i wish to explore how one eminent German scholar,Adolf von Harnack, approached the methodological challenge posed bythe study of Christianity. His historical vision of its development ledhim to emphasize the importance of the third century, which he labeledthe “paleontological” layer. This choice of terminology, as i shall argue,not only points to the degree to which recent scientiﬁc discoveries in ge-ology and biology shaped the language of the “soft” sciences but alsoshows that Harnack’s scholarship evolved in close dialogue with col-leagues abroad, especially Edwin Hatch in Oxford.Adolf Harnack (1851– 1930) may with some justiﬁcation be calledthe father of patristic scholarship in Germany.6He was professor of churchhistory in Berlin from 1888 to 1921 and creator of the series die Griechi -schen Christlichen Schriftsteller (GCS) of the Academy of Sciences inBerlin, which will concern us again later. He was the author of the hugelyinﬂuential Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte (1886) and of Die Mission...
Chapter 15: From East to West
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From East to WestChristianity, Asceticism, and Nineteenth-CenturyProtestant Professors in AmericaElizAbEth A. ClArkAmong the notable characteristics of Philip rousseau’sscholarship is his skillful and sympathetic treatment ofboth Eastern and Western forms of early Christian as-ceticism. by his several books—Ascetics, Authority,and the Church inthe Age of Jerome and Cassian; Pachomius: The Making of a Communityin Fourth-Century Egypt; and Basil of Caesarea—and magisterial essays(such as “Monasticism,” in The Cambridge Ancient History), morethanone generation of scholars has been illumined.Professors who created the study of early Christian history innineteenth-century Protestant seminaries in the United States, by con-trast, struggled to accord early Christian asceticism its due.1Echoing theGerman Protestant scholars whose books they mined, they imaginedearly Christian asceticism to be a “foreign” import that had corruptedJesus’ pure and simple teaching of “inward spirituality.” Yet becausemost of these pioneers had also imbibed from their German mentorsnotions of the church’s “organic development” through time, of God’sprovidential oversight of seemingly “dark” eras, they struggled to ﬁndsomething “good” in early Christian asceticism.2 they found it in theWest, not the East.how, the professors wondered, had the (to them) incongruous phe-nomenon of Christian asceticism developed? Searching for explanations,they posited that it must have been a reaction—indeed, an overreaction—to the moral turpitude of the Greco-roman world. Perhaps this misguidedpractice had also been abetted by a mistaken and too-literal exegesis (forexample, of Mt 19:12 and 1 Cor 7). Following German scholars, theyagreed that hot, enervating, “Oriental” climates had contributed to as-ceticism’s rise: no wonder that asceticism had found its more spectacu-lar manifestations in steamy Egypt (or in india), rather than in ruggednorthern Europe or the temperate United States.3 besides, these churchhistorians agreed, asceticism was not a special or essential characteristicof Christianity; “Mahometans” and buddhists likewise sported asceticpractitioners—and the “self-tortures” of indian fakirs could outdo any-thing Christianity might offer!4the professors conceded that some forms of asceticism—largelyWestern and coenobitic—had contributed a few positive elements to civi -lization. “West” for them meant western (especially northwestern) Eu-rope, with an occasional allowance for ancient Greece; “East” meant notonly eastern Asia but also the Middle East, which in their time signaledthe Ottoman Empire, then torn by conﬂict with other powers. that theprofessors believed that “the West” in general stood superior to “the East”accorded with their larger understanding of world history and of God’sprovidential design for Christianity’s progress. Most of them argued thatthe United States—outpost of the far West—stood to inherit the beneﬁtsof northern and western European cultures.First, some brief introductions to these professors, who taught (vari -ously) at Princeton theological Seminary, Union theological Seminary,the Yale “theological Department” (i.e., what became Yale DivinitySchool), and harvard Divinity School....
Select Publications of Philip Rousseau
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Ascetics, Authority and the Church in the Age of Jerome and Cassian. oxfordHistorical Monographs. oxford: oxford University Press, 1978. 2nd ed.,Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010.Pachomius: The Making of a Community in Fourth-Century Egypt. TCH 6.Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985. Paperback ed., with a newpreface, 1999.Basil of Caesarea. TCH 20. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. Pa-perback ed., 1998.Ed. with Tomas Hägg. Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity. Berke-ley: University of California Press, 2000.The Early Christian Centuries. London: Longman, 2002.Ed. A Companion to Late Antiquity. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.Ed. with Manolis Papoutsakis. Transformations of Late Antiquity: Essays forArTiCLEs“The spiritual Authority of the ‘Monk-Bishop’: Eastern Elements in some West-ern Hagiography of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries.” JTS22 (1971): 380– 419.“Blood-relationships among Early Eastern Ascetics.” JTS23 (1972): 135– 44.“The Formation of Early Ascetic Communities: some Further reﬂections.” JTS25 (1974): 113– 17.“rule of st Augustine of Hippo” and “st Macarius of Egypt.” in The Oxford...
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Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2013
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth