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The Church in Ancient SocietyFrom Galilee to Gregory the Great$
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Henry Chadwick

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246955.001.0001

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Monks: The Ascetic Life

Monks: The Ascetic Life

(p.394) 42 Monks: The Ascetic Life
The Church in Ancient Society

Henry Chadwick

Oxford University Press

The earliest Christian ascetics in Syria drew on the New Testament as well as the legacy of Stoic philosophy. Information about the ascetic movement comes from Athanasius’ Life of Antony, which was influential in Augustine's conversion, and lives of Pachomius, who created a community of Coptic monks in the Nile valley. Both monastic groups and individual hermitages were founded in Palestine and Asia Minor in the fourth and early fifth century and from there spread to the west. Among the most influential figures were John Cassian, who wrote in Marseille specifically for Gaul, and Benedict of Nursia, founder of Montecassino. The mortifications of some Syrian ascetics went to extreme lengths.

Keywords:   Antony, asceticism, Benedict, John Cassian, monasticism, Pachomius

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