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An Archaeology of Egyptian Monasticism (eBook)

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  • 244 Pages

The White Monastery in Upper Egypt and its two federated communities are among the largest, most prosperous and longest-lived loci of Coptic Christianity. Founded in the fourth century and best known for its zealous and prolific third abbot, Shenoute of Atripe, these monasteries have survived from their foundation in the golden age of Egyptian Christianity until today. At its peak in the fifth to the eighth centuries, the White Monastery federation was a hive of industry, densely populated and prosperous. It was a vibrant community that engaged with extra-mural communities by means of intellectual, spiritual and economic exchange. It was an important landowner and a powerhouse of the regional economy. It was a spiritual beacon imbued with the presence of some of Christendom's most famous saints, and it was home to a number of ordinary and extraordinary men and women, who lived, worked, prayed and died within its walls. This new study is an attempt to write the biography of the White Monastery federation, to reconstruct its longue duree - through archaeological and textual sources - and to assess its place within the world of Late Antiquity.

The White Monastery in Upper Egypt and its two federated communities are among the largest, most prosperous and longest-lived loci of Coptic Christianity. Founded in the fourth century and best known for its zealous and prolific third abbot, Shenoute of Atripe, these monasteries have survived from their foundation in the golden age of Egyptian Christianity until today. At its peak in the fifth to the eighth centuries, the White Monastery federation was a hive of industry, densely populated and prosperous. It was a vibrant community that engaged with extra-mural communities by means of intellectual, spiritual and economic exchange. It was an important landowner and a powerhouse of the regional economy. It was a spiritual beacon imbued with the presence of some of Christendom's most famous saints, and it was home to a number of ordinary and extraordinary men and women, who lived, worked, prayed and died within its walls. This new study is an attempt to write the biography of the White Monastery federation, to reconstruct its longue duree - through archaeological and textual sources - and to assess its place within the world of Late Antiquity.


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