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Unformatted text preview: 1-24-08 History 366 Medieval Monasticism Vita Antoni (Life of Antony) by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria (328-373) -life of a saint, beginnings of monasticism early 4th century -church structure well-developed, Constantine converted -traditional view monasticism just happened on its own Antony first monk, conquering desires of the flesh, religious studies, becomes instructor/guru for others desiring the hermit life Athanasius one of five big religious leaders (or sees), one of principal theologians at Council of Nicea (325) defining the divinity of Christ, leaders of orthodox views, uncompromising, exiled several times (5 times in 17 years) Noted exiles: Trier, Rome (339-346?), Desert area w/monks Meets Antony south of Alexandria, much drier than the fertile delta area in the north Athanasius writes Life after spending time in desert and returning to Alexandria writes on what he learns, Antony's attendant, "pouring water on his hands" washing of hands, symbol of procedures of monastic life Antony prosperous farmer's family, memorized scripture, after death of parents gives his possessions/property to the poor (like apostles), convinces his sister to go into a Parthenon a convent-like community, Antony becomes hermit in desert, seeks out instruction Athanasius his account is didactic, Antony as a model, hagiographic somewhat historical account w/ narrative features (focused on an individual) hard to tell if everything is accurate, he has no reason to talk about `pre-Antonian' hermits, but he does, making Antony not the first ...
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- Spring '08