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Authority and Asceticism from Augustine to Gregory the Great - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Authority and Asceticism from Augustine to Gregory the Great

Conrad Leyser


This book examines the formation of the Christian ascetic tradition in the western Roman Empire during the period of the barbarian invasions, c.400–600. In an aggressively competitive political context, one of the most articulate claims to power was made, paradoxically, by men who had renounced ‘the world’, committing themselves to a life of spiritual discipline in the hope of gaining entry to an otherworldly kingdom. Often dismissed as mere fanaticism or open hypocrisy, the language of ascetic authority, the book shows, was both carefully honed and well understood in the late Roman and early ... More

Keywords: western Roman Empire, barbarian invasions, ascetic authority, moral rhetoric, Mediterranean, Augustine of Hippo, St Benedict, Gregory the Great, abbots, bishops

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2000 Print ISBN-13: 9780198208686
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208686.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Conrad Leyser, author
University of Manchester

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