By John Binns
During this publication, Binns examines the monastic move in Palestine through the Byzantine interval, from the accession of Constantine to the autumn of Jerusalem to the Persians in 614. The monasteries of the desert--in Jerusalem, Egypt, and Syria--played an influential position in Byzantine society, and the "desert fathers" are popular even at the present time as key figures within the historical past of Christian spirituality. Binns makes use of modern resources to debate either how the clergymen truly lived, and their contributions to doctrinal and religious debates.
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Extra info for Ascetics and Ambassadors of Christ: The Monasteries of Palestine 314-631 (Oxford Early Christian Studies)
Theodore Lector saw his task as providing a completeness to what had gone before. He wanted to 'put together those who have set forth the Ecclesiastical Histories and to synthesise them into a single and orderly account'. 63 There was one single historical enterprise to which different authors contributed. 'Ecclesiastical historians saw themselves almost as members of a kind of diachronic ____________________ 60 E. Stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire ( Paris, 1949, 1959), ii. 699. 61 Kyrillos, 355. 62 Eusebius, HE 1.
15, cf Theodore of Petra, V. Thds. 61. 26-62. 20. -45that a monk of one of the monasteries founded by Chariton was goaded into writing the Life as a result of reading Cyril's Lives and being determined that his own founder should not be neglected in this process of literary production. He refers to the writing of Lives of the great monks shortly after their deaths or even in one case, during the lifetime of the saint. 23 This is best understood as a reference to the activity of Cyril, since the Life of John the Hesychast was originally written while he was still alive.
Cyril, in his short Life of Theognius, excuses himself ____________________ 1 French translations have been made of the Life of Theodosius and the Spiritual Meadow. See bibliography for details. -41from writing in more detail since the reader can refer to the fuller Life written by 'Paul the Hesychast of Elousa, shining in monastic virtues and orthodox doctrines'. 2 In later manuscripts, for example Coislin 303 in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the two Lives are preserved alongside one another.
Ascetics and Ambassadors of Christ: The Monasteries of Palestine 314-631 (Oxford Early Christian Studies) by John Binns