Ascetic Authority

Claudia Rapp

in Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780520242968
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931411 | DOI:
Ascetic Authority

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This chapter mainly addresses the ascetic authority. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of the desert—a symbol of total withdrawal and rejection of the world—as a training ground for those who aspire to ascetic authority. The complex nature of episcopal leadership as a combination of pragmatic, spiritual, and ascetic authority provides an explanation for the frequent rejection of ordination by monks. A discussion on the ambivalent monastic attitude toward ecclesiastical office is then given. The desert has played an important role in the New Testament. It is explained that the specific tripartite scheme of secular education, monasticism, and ministry is most commonly applied in the laudatory description of bishops, modeled on the biblical exemplar of Moses. The hagiographical and theological literature of late antiquity that has been the basis of the investigation until now establishes the ideal of the priesthood.

Keywords: ascetic authority; episcopal leadership; ecclesiastical office; desert; New Testament; secular education; monasticism; ministry; Moses

Chapter.  25614 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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