This chapter provides necessary background by examining the wider world from which the desert fathers and desert monasticism emerged. It concentrates on Roman Egypt, its geography, history, politics, and religious milieu. This survey includes a look at ancient Alexandria as well as at life along the Nile Valley. It also examines three features of early Egyptian Christianity: the Alexandrian theological tradition (best embodied by Origen), the Melitian schism, and the early Alexandrian patriarchate.
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