The literature of early eastern monasticism

Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The chapter examines a variety of late antique monastic sources written in Greek, Syriac, and Coptic-hagiographies, canons, letters, and pedagogical treatises. It interrogates ways of reading these sources in order to reconstruct the historical development of monastic settlements in Palestine, Cappadocia, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. It argues that the monastic texts do not clearly reflect the world that produced them, and it identifies a number of obstacles for historians that are embedded in the texts upon which we must rely. The discussion emphasizes the function of the perceptions, metaphors, symbols, images, and memories contained in the sources, thereby revealing late antique cultural and rhetorical trends and reflecting many aspects of Eastern monastic culture.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Christian Monasticism
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780199689736
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2020.


  • Ascetic compilations
  • Coptic monastic sources
  • Desert
  • Greek monastic sources
  • Hagiographies
  • Questions and answers
  • Rules
  • Syriac monastic sources


Dive into the research topics of 'The literature of early eastern monasticism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this