Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review. The Greek Historia Monachorum in Aegypto. Monastic Hagiography in the Late Fourth Century. By Andrew Cain. ISBN

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The Greek Historia Monachorum in Aegypto

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The Greek Historia Monachorum in Aegypto: Monastic Hagiography in the Late Fourth Century

In September , seven monks set out from their monastery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and began making their way to Egypt, where they would spend the next several months visiting an array of monastic celebrities, from the Thebaid in the south to the delta town of Diolcos in the north. The Greek Historia monachorum was one of the most widely read and disseminated Greek hagiographic texts during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. However, until now it has not received the intensive and sustained scholarly analysis that a monograph affords. In this book, the first of its kind in any language, Cain incorporates insights from source criticism, stylistic and rhetorical analysis, literary criticism, and historical, geographical, and theological studies in an attempt to break new ground and revise current scholarly orthodoxy about a broad range of interpretive issues and problems.


The Greek Historia Monachorum in Aegypto. Monastic Hagiography in the Late Fourth Century

While other scholars have utilized the HMA as a source for understanding fourth-century Egyptian monasticism or in studies on some aspect of late antique literature, no one has treated the HMA as a literary product in its own right. Cain remedies that in his erudite collection of related studies on the HMA. The anonymous author uses his text to argue that God commanded this pilgrimage chapter 6 to visit the true prophets and new apostles of fourth-century Christianity chapters who maintain the universal order chapter 9 through their ascetic practice in the Evagrian tradition that serves as the best model for imitation chapters It is this last point, explored in-depth in chapter 11, that is the most interesting of the book. This novel argument fills out scholarly understanding of Evagrius and his influence. Though chapters 7 on the Egyptian monks as types of the prophets, apostles, and Christ , 9 on the world-sustaining activities of the monks , and 10 on their ascetic practice are also constructive, the last chapter presents the most creative piece. The first part of chapter 6—outlining the pilgrimage in details time, place, distance not present in the HMA —is interesting; though a map would be a helpful accompaniment.

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