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19-07-2003, 09:56 PM
Hugh G. Evelyn White, The Monasteries of the Wdi 'N Natrn (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1926-1933 [reprinted by Arno Press, 1973]), Part I: New Coptic Texts from the Monastery of Saint Macarius , xxiii. Theodore includes a warning that may strike a sympathetic chord with anyone who has "lost" books to well-meaning "borrowers": "But whoever seeks this book to read in it . . . and does not return it to its owners, may he inherit the halter of Judas forever. Amen."
Colin H. Roberts has commented on the papyrological evidence of a second-century Christian reading list: "What impresses most is the range of reading among educated Christians in provincial Egypt . . . . There is nothing provincial or narrowly pietist about such a list; it matches the wide range of secular literature read in the towns and villages of Egypt." See Roberts, Manu******, Society, and Belief in Early Christian Egypt (Schweich Lectures, 1977; London: Oxford University Press, 1979). On the earliest extant evidence for monastic libraries, see James M. Robinson, "The First Christian Monastic Library," in Wlodzimierz Godlewski, ed., Coptic Studies: Acts of the Third International Congress of Coptic Studies (Warsaw: PWN, 1990), 372-378, and Robinson, "The Pachomian Monastic Library at the Chester Beatty Library and the Bibliothque Bodmer," The Institute of Antiquity and Christianity, The Claremont Graduate School, Occasional Papers #19.
For a recent discussion of the "literate character of the earliest monastic society," see Samuel Rubenson, The Letters of Saint Antony: Origenist Theology, Monastic Tradition and the Making of a Saint (Lund: Lund University Press, 1990), 119-25, and the sources cited there.
Evelyn White, I: xxi.
For an intriguing discussion of monks, books, and the origins of monasticism, see J.C. O'Neill, "The Origins of Monasticism," in Rowan Williams, ed., The Making of Orthodoxy: Essays in Honour of Henry Chadwick (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 270-87.
The thieves were not monks. Theodore of Pherme, sayings 1 and 29; see Benedicta Ward, trans., The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Kalamazoo, Cistercian Publications, rev. ed., 1984), 73 and 78.
Conference 18.15; see John Cassian, Conferences, trans. by Colm Luibheid (New York: Paulist Press, 1985), 196-98.
Evelyn White, I: xxi (note the emphasis on "canonical").
A certain Abba Pambo of Scetis made a pilgrimage to the holy man Abba Cyrus and then returned home: "I wrote the life of the blessed Abba Cyrus and placed it in the church of Scetis for the profit and consolation of those who should hear it read." (Note Pambo's assumption that his book would be heard.) See Tim Vivian, "Journeying into God: The Story of Abba Pambo," Cistercian Studies Quarterly 26.2 (1991): 106, repr. in Vivian, Journeying into God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 36.
H.E. Winlock and W.E. Crum, The Monasteries of Epiphanius at Thebes (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1926). Although the physical remains of the monastery date to the end of the sixth century at the earliest, it is not unreasonable to see some of the customs there as similar to those earlier in the sixth century and perhaps even into the fifth.
Winlock and Crum, I: 31.
Winlock and Crum, I: 31.
Winlock and Crum, I: 31.
Winlock and Crum, items #585, 586, 635. See I: 306-7.
A few words are appropriate here about the desert mothers. To my mind, the lack of extant writings by and about early female monastics is one of the greatest losses the Church has suffered. The simple fact is that there are hardly any surviving writings by women monastics from the fourth to the sixth centuries, although we know that there were numerous monasteries for women and that some of them were very large. The Historia Monachorum in Aegypto 5 (Russell, trans., 67 [III.10 below]) reports that in Oxyrhynchus female monastics outnumbered males two to one; the Arabic version of Besa's Life of Shenoute reports that the White monastery had 2,200 male and 1,800 female monks (J. Leipoldt, Schenute von Atripe [Texte und Untersuchungen 25:1, N.F. 10:1; Leipzig, 1903], 93-4). For those interested in early women monastics, see Margot H. King, The Desert Mothers (Toronto: Peregrina Publishing, 2nd ed., 1989), 16-21; Joan M. Petersen, Handmaids of the Lord: Holy Women in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Kalamazoo: Cistercian, 1996); the primary sources listed in the Bibliography below; and the secondary sources listed in Part VI.
See Evelyn White, New Coptic Texts.
Annie Dillard, "Schedules," in Geoffrey Wolff, ed., The Best American Essays 1989 (New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1989), 72.
I would be grateful to hear from readers who have additions or corrections.
In an earlier version of this bibliography I used the Council of Chalcedon (451) as a stopping point. In the east, the Council was a watershed not only for the Church at large but also for monasticism. P. van Cauwenbergh used Chalcedon as a dividing line in his discussion of Egyptian monasticism, tude sur les moins d'gypte depuis le Concile de Chalcdoine (451) jusqu' l'invasion arabe (640) (Paris, 1914), and John Meyendorff, in his Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions: The Church 450-680 A.D. (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's, 1989), 3-4, discusses the dividing line of Chalcedon. The theological and spiritual streams of early monasticism, however, continued their slow but steady course although the monks, too, could not help but be affected by developments in the post-Chalcedonian period. In the west, Benedict in many ways marks the beginning of medieval monasticism, and there is already an abundance of literature on Benedict.edition of 1841."