Anti-Chalcedonian Ascetics and their Student Associates

Edward J. Watts

in Riot in Alexandria

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262072
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945623 | DOI:
Anti-Chalcedonian Ascetics and their Student Associates

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This chapter focuses on anti-Chalcedonian ascetic communities in Alexandria and Gaza, showing that a number of Christian students, Zacharias Scholasticus foremost among them, were affiliates of the Enaton monastery in Alexandria and related ascetic communities in Gaza. By the 480s, the Alexandrian and Gazan monasteries to which these students were tied had become important centers of resistance to the Council of Chalcedon. Some students, like the Alexandrian student-philoponoi, became extremely hostile towards pagan professors whose teachings they thought pulled students away from Christianity. These students' misrepresentation of Paralius's beating as a religious “persecution” and their vigorous response to it grew out of a fundamental conflict between ideas presented by Neoplatonists and the beliefs sustained by their personal relationships with anti-Chalcedonian ascetics. The riot they promoted also changed the pagan–Christian dynamic within the schools and gave Christian students greater confidence to assert their ideas. It marked a turning point in the communal history of the student-philoponoi and, as such, came to occupy a central position in the communal narratives underpinning this new Christian assertiveness.

Keywords: Alexandria; Gaza; ascetics; Zacharias Scholasticus; monasteries; Council of Chalcedon; students; riot; Christianity; Paralius

Chapter.  15846 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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