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Shenoute and the Women of the White Monastery$
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Rebecca Krawiec

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195129434

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195129431.001.0001

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“According to the Flesh”

“According to the Flesh”

Biological Kin in the White Monastery

(p.161) 8 “According to the Flesh”
Shenoute and the Women of the White Monastery

Rebecca Krawiec (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Biological kin, who were defined with precise language as “those according to the flesh,” lived in the monastery alongside those monks who had renounced their families to join the monastery. These monks faced particular challenges since they experienced enforced gender separation from spouses and relatives, witnessed the corporal punishment of relatives, and even saw relatives expelled from the monastery. Overall, the monks with kin were expected to live as though they had also renounced each other so that all monks had the same “kinship” with each other and so shared the same salvation. Despite these expectations, Shenoute found a way to have male and female monks visit each other without violating his own commands: male relatives often served as envoys carrying these very letters from Shenoute to the female community. Finally, the experiences of one female monk, Tachom, shows the intersection of the three patterns that determined a monk's life: power, gender, and family.

Keywords:   corporal punishment, envoy, expelled, flesh, gender separation, language, relatives, renounced, salvation

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