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The Canons of Our FathersMonastic Rules of Shenoute$
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Bentley Layton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582631

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582631.001.0001

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The Historical Context of the Rules

The Historical Context of the Rules

(p.11) 1 The Historical Context of the Rules
The Canons of Our Fathers

Bentley Layton

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the founding of the Federation and the organizational context in which the rules were written and made sense. It discusses how an eremitic community was gradually transformed into a cenobitic one, making possible a federation of cenobia. This chapter describes the origin of the monastic federation, over which a man called Pcol—and later, Shenoute—presided, and within which the monastic rules originally had their meaning. This is a local history, the history of a particular monastic institution as seen mainly through the activities of its abbots. It sketches the history of the Federation and of the career of Shenoute from the Federation’s founding down to Shenoute’s death—from roughly 360 to 465. It presents new documentary evidence for the founding of the Federation (the Naples Fragment).

Keywords:   Ebonh, female ascetics, gender and monasticism, monastic federation, Naples Fragment, nuns, Pcol

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