Book

The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

Graham Gould

Published in print April 1993 | ISBN: 9780198263456
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682551 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198263456.001.0001

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

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This book studies the life and thought of the Christian monks of 4th- and 5th-century lower Egypt. It works from collections of their sayings and stories which were compiled in the late 5th century and which are known collectively as the Apopthegmata Patrum. These texts show that the Desert Fathers were deeply concerned with the nature of the monastic community that they formed and with the problems which might affect relationships between individuals within it. Successive chapters of the book centre on the text of the Apopthegmata itself as a witness to the community's sense of its own history and identity; on the relationship between teacher and disciple in the context of which the practices and virtues of the monastic life were taught; on the importance of good relationships between a monk and his companions in the monastic life; on the problems of anger, judgement, and praise, which interfere with good relationships; on the tension between the desire for solitude and the necessity of interaction with others; and on the connection between relationships with others and a monk's own life of prayer. The overall conclusion is that the Desert Fathers saw community as an integral part of their monastic ideal and rarely regarded solitude as a way of life to be pursued at the expense of community.

Keywords: Christian monks; lower Egypt; Apopthegmata Patrum; Desert Fathers; monastic community; anger; judgement; praise; good relationships; solitude

Book.  212 pages. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Community and the Text in The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

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The Abba and his Disciple in The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

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The Monk and his Neighbour in The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

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The Problems of Anger and Judgement in The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

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Solitude and Interaction in The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

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Relationships and Prayer in The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

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Conclusion in The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community

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