Download Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of by William Harmless PDF

By William Harmless

within the fourth century, the deserts of Egypt turned the nerve middle of an intensive new flow, what we now name monasticism. teams of Christians-from illiterate peasants to discovered intellectuals-moved out to the wastelands past the Nile Valley and, within the recognized phrases of Saint Athanasius, made the desolate tract a urban. In so doing, they captured the mind's eye of the traditional global. They cast thoughts of prayer and asceticism, of discipleship and non secular path, that experience remained significant to Christianity ever considering that. looking to map the soul's lengthy trip to God and plot out the delicate vagaries of the human middle, they created and encouraged texts that grew to become classics of Western spirituality. those wasteland Christians have been additionally extraordinary storytellers, a few of Christianity's best. This ebook introduces the literature of early monasticism. It examines all of the best-known works, together with Athanasius' Life of Antony, the Lives of Pachomius, and the so-called Sayings of the desolate tract Fathers. Later chapters specialize in pioneers of monastic theology: Evagrius Ponticus, the 1st nice theoretician of Christian mysticism; and John Cassian, who introduced Egyptian monasticism to the Latin West. alongside the way in which, readers are brought to path-breaking discoveries-to new texts and up to date archeological finds-that have revolutionized modern scholarship on monastic origins. incorporated are attention-grabbing snippets from papyri and from little-known Coptic, Syriac, and Ethiopic texts. Interspersed in each one bankruptcy are illustrations, maps, and diagrams that aid readers variety throughout the key texts and the richly-textured global of early monasticism. Geared to a large viewers and written in transparent, jargon-free prose, Desert Christians bargains the main entire and available creation to early monasticism.

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