The Monk and his Neighbour


in The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

Published in print April 1993 | ISBN: 9780198263456
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682551 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

The Monk and his Neighbour

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This chapter examines the evidence for the claim that personal relationships are featured prominently in the teaching of the Apopthegmata Patrum. It focuses on the more clear-cut statements of the Desert Fathers on the importance of the relationships within the monastic community. It shows that the Desert Fathers recognized certain attitudes towards others as basic to the monastic life along with practices such as asceticism and prayer. It also explores the significance of this recognition of the importance of relationships. In light of the evidence, it accepts Rosseau's comments that the Desert Fathers were intent upon creating a new society. Their spirituality reflected that aim, catering for relationships as well as personal goals. Some indications were also given to the kind of relationships which the Desert Fathers wished to cultivate: relationships in which judgement and criticism were avoided, and mutual service and encouragement were valued.

Keywords: charity; prayer; neighbour; relationships; Rosseau; spirituality

Chapter.  9359 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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