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An Introduction to the Desert Fathers

An Introduction to the Desert Fathers

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  • Date Published: August 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2019
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108703727

Price is not yet set

Not yet published - available from August 2019
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About the Authors
  • Christian monasticism emerged in the Egyptian deserts in the fourth century AD. This introduction explores its origins and subsequent development and what it aimed to achieve, including the obstacles that it encountered; for the most part making use of the monks' own words as they are preserved (in Greek) primarily in the so-called Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Mainly focussing on monastic settlements in the Nitrian Desert (especially at Scêtê), it asks how the monks prayed, ate, drank and slept, as well as how they discharged their obligations both to earn their own living by handiwork and to exercise hospitality. It also discusses the monks' degree of literacy, as well as women in the desert and Pachomius and his monasteries in Upper Egypt. Written in straightforward language, the book is accessible to all students and scholars, and anyone with a general interest in this important and fascinating phenomenon.

    • Discusses when, where and why Christian monasticism emerged
    • Explores the daily lives and teaching practices of the early monks, including how they prayed, worked, ate and slept
    • Uses the monks' own words as preserved in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, making them accessible to non-specialists
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108703727
    • length: 208 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.31kg
    • contains: 2 maps
    • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. Desert Fathers
    2. Beginnings
    3. Becoming a monk
    4. Impediments to progress
    5. The object of the exercise
    6. Prayer
    7. Discretion
    8. Work
    9. Eating and drinking
    10. Hospitality and neighbourliness
    11. Women in the desert
    12. Literacy
    13. Heresy
    14. The Pachomian experiment.

  • Author

    John Wortley, University of Manitoba, Canada
    John Wortley is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at the University of Manitoba, Canada. His publications include The Anonymous Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Cambridge, 2013) and More Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Cambridge, forthcoming).

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