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The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community$
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Graham Gould

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198263456

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198263456.001.0001

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The Monk and his Neighbour

The Monk and his Neighbour

(p.88) 3 The Monk and his Neighbour
The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the evidence for the claim that personal relationships are featured prominently in the teaching of the Apopthegmata Patrum. It focuses on the more clear-cut statements of the Desert Fathers on the importance of the relationships within the monastic community. It shows that the Desert Fathers recognized certain attitudes towards others as basic to the monastic life along with practices such as asceticism and prayer. It also explores the significance of this recognition of the importance of relationships. In light of the evidence, it accepts Rosseau's comments that the Desert Fathers were intent upon creating a new society. Their spirituality reflected that aim, catering for relationships as well as personal goals. Some indications were also given to the kind of relationships which the Desert Fathers wished to cultivate: relationships in which judgement and criticism were avoided, and mutual service and encouragement were valued.

Keywords:   charity, prayer, neighbour, relationships, Rosseau, spirituality

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