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Religions of the Constantinian Empire$
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Mark Edwards

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687725

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687725.001.0001

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New Forms of Christian Holiness

New Forms of Christian Holiness

(p.83) Chapter 5 New Forms of Christian Holiness
Religions of the Constantinian Empire

Mark Edwards

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 is concerned chiefly with the distinctively Christian models of holiness offered by the founders of monasticism. It prefaces the examination of the lives of Antony and Pachomius with a general survey of the restrictions imposed on Christian conduct by the ecclesiastical councils of this period. Various theories tracing the origins of monasticism to social conditions of this period are considered. The analysis of the Life of Antony notes its uncertain authorship, its occasional echoes of pagan sources, and the difficulties of reconciling its chronology with the known history of the period. The Greek and Bohairic lives of Pachomius occupy the second half of the chapter, together with the writings ascribed to Pachomius himself. The conclusion points out that extreme self-denial for its own sake was not yet characteristic of monasticism, and that a higher value was set on manual labour than in the philosophic schools.

Keywords:   self-denial, monasticism, Antony, Life of Antony, Pachomius, manual labour

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