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Children and Family in Late Antique Egyptian Monasticism


  • Date Published: March 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316610084

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About the Authors
  • This is the first book-length study of children in one of the birthplaces of early Christian monasticism, Egypt. Although comprised of men and women who had renounced sex and family, the monasteries of late antiquity raised children, educated them, and expected them to carry on their monastic lineage and legacies into the future. Children within monasteries existed in a liminal space, simultaneously vulnerable to the whims and abuses of adults and also cherished as potential future monastic prodigies. Caroline T. Schroeder examines diverse sources - letters, rules, saints' lives, art, and documentary evidence - to probe these paradoxes. In doing so, she demonstrates how early Egyptian monasteries provided an intergenerational continuity of social, cultural, and economic capital while also contesting the traditional family's claims to these forms of social continuity.

    • The first book about children in one of the birthplaces of Christian monasticism
    • Adopts an interdisciplinary approach drawing on history, religious studies, papyrology, literary studies, gender studies, and art history
    • Examines the symbolism of children in literature and art as well as the social history of children
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'an important and comprehensive contribution that will be very much appreciated by the academic community. Students and scholars of the late antique world, the history of Christianity and monasticism, and the Eastern Mediterranean will all find [Schroeder's] nuanced work meaningful and valuable … Her ultimate contribution, in my opinion, is illustrating how classical virtues and institutions were baptized and immortalized in the history of Christianity.' Mary Ghattas, Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316610084
    • length: 269 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.366kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Finding children:
    1. Documenting the undocumented: Children in the earliest Egyptian Monasteries
    2. The language of childhood
    Part II. Representations:
    3. Homoeroticism, children, and the making of monks
    4. Child sacrifice: From familial renunciation to Jephthah's lost daughter
    5. Monastic family values: The healing of children
    Part III. A social history:
    6. Making new monks: Children's education, discipline, and ascetic formation
    7. Breaking rules and telling tales: Daily life for monastic children
    8. The ties that bind: Emotional and social bonds between parents and children
    Conclusion: Monastic genealogies

  • Author

    Caroline T. Schroeder, University of Oklahoma
    Caroline T. Schroeder is Professor of Classics and Letters at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author of Monastic Bodies (2007), co-editor of Melania (2016), and co-founder of the ground-breaking digital project Coptic Scriptorium.

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