Monks: The Ascetic Life

Henry Chadwick

in The Church in Ancient Society

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246953
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600463 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 Monks: The Ascetic Life

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The earliest Christian ascetics in Syria drew on the New Testament as well as the legacy of Stoic philosophy. Information about the ascetic movement comes from Athanasius’ Life of Antony, which was influential in Augustine's conversion, and lives of Pachomius, who created a community of Coptic monks in the Nile valley. Both monastic groups and individual hermitages were founded in Palestine and Asia Minor in the fourth and early fifth century and from there spread to the west. Among the most influential figures were John Cassian, who wrote in Marseille specifically for Gaul, and Benedict of Nursia, founder of Montecassino. The mortifications of some Syrian ascetics went to extreme lengths.

Keywords: Antony; asceticism; Benedict; John Cassian; monasticism; Pachomius

Chapter.  7747 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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