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


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The arguments of this work have clearly shown that the teaching of the Egyptian Desert Fathers on the monastic life was profoundly concerned not only with such subjects as asceticism, prayer, and temptation, or with problems such as the place of monasticism in the wider Church and society, but also with the question of monastic community, or personal relationships within the monastic life. The complexity of the Desert Fathers' attitudes to personal relationships invalidates all simplistic attempts to see in the monastic movement a rejection of human contacts in the interests of a ‘flight of the alone to be alone’. The appeal of the Desert Fathers today confirms their effectiveness as teachers and communicators of the values of monastic life. The Apophtegmata remains a testimony to the Desert Fathers' wisdom in committing their message to the care of an oral and literary form.

Keywords: Peter Brown; monasticism; Desert Fathers; personal relationships; monastic life; monastic community; Apophtegmata

Chapter.  2195 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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