“The Monks Commit Many Crimes”

Michael Gaddis

in There Is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780520241046
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930902 | DOI:
“The Monks Commit Many Crimes”

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  • Greek and Roman Archaeology


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This chapter addresses the violent holy men and then presents their actions through the eyes of hostile sources. It also explores the cases in which claims of martyrdom or holy violence were contested or rejected. In addition, it explains the violent behavior of some ascetics within the broader context of the ascetic practices and monastic institutions of the time. The discourse of latrocinium could draw upon a rhetoric of law and order that emphasized the emperor's paramount duty to uphold the law and keep the peace. Evidence for claims of holy zeal and righteous violence survive not for the monks, but from John Chrysostom's side. Righteous violence inspired by a true holy man served to punish a false one; divine zeal exposed and punished the hypocritical pretense of a heretic. The monks played a double role within the imagination of the Christian audience.

Keywords: violent holy men; martyrdom; holy violence; latrocinium; holy zeal; righteous violence; Christian; monks

Chapter.  20033 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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