Military Defeats and the Ascendancy of Christianity

Nov 2010
7,588
Cornwall
#11
I assume Buck means the monastic life. I have always understood that those in the monastic life were minimal during the waning days of the Western Roman Empire, at least in comparison to the High Middle Ages and the centuries that just precede this, but I don't have statistics to support this either.
I think you are right. I'd prefer the military if I'm honest :)
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,996
US
#12
I think you are right. I'd prefer the military if I'm honest :)
More glory, but also more gory. The history of monasticism reveals that while individuals like Anthony of Egypt were drawing a few to the lifestyle in the 3rd century, especially in the East, it was Benedict who really began the growth of Christian monasticism in western Europe and this occurred after the Fall of the Western Roman Empire.
Christian monasticism - Wikipedia
 
May 2011
2,925
Rural Australia
#14
As for the empire's eastern half, monasticism became popular much earlier in the fourth century, especially in Egypt and Syria.
The stats for the development of monastic settlements related to Pachomius seem to suggest a movement of many tens of thousands of people. By the mid 4th century literary evidence suggests that the city of Oxyrhynchus had expanded well beyond the old city walls, and that it was filled with "monks".

I am inclined to consider, as one of the causes of such a mass movement, the Christianisation of the cities and the prohibitions against the old religions.


This was considered a threat to the power of the bishops in some circles, thus why Athanasius' Life of Antony makes a virtue of his subservience to the bishops.
I am suspicious as to whether Anthony existed, or whether he was an idealised figure created by the author of the "Life" - often deemed the earliest Christian hagiography. There is also the question as to who authored this work, usually ascribed to Athanasius. For example:

ANGEL OF LIGHT OR MYSTIC INITIATE? THE PROBLEM OF THE "LIFE OF ANTONY"
Author(s): T. D. Barnes
Source: The Journal of Theological Studies, NEW SERIES, Vol. 37, No. 2 (OCTOBER 1986), pp. 353-368
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: ANGEL OF LIGHT OR MYSTIC INITIATE? THE PROBLEM OF THE "LIFE OF ANTONY" on JSTOR



p.358


The only manuscript of VLR begins 'incipit vita sancti Antonii monachi edita a sancto Hieronymo'. Of the fourteen manuscripts of VS described by Draguet, only nine attribute the Life to Athanasius, but most of these are late manuscripts which include the Life as part of the 'paradise' of Henan-Isho—and hence their ascription merely reflects the opinion of the seventh-century compiler.

Of the three most ancient manuscripts of the long recension of VS, one attributes the Life to Jerome, while two leave it anonymous, among them BL, Add. 14646 of the sixth century. Similarly, of the three manuscripts of the short recension, two leave the Life anonymous.

The fact that VLEv, VSa, and all the more than 160 manuscripts of VG ascribe the work to Athanasius merely reflects the standard belief in his authorship which can be documented as early as

c.380 in Gregory of Nazianzus (Orat. xxi. 5)25 and in
392 in Jerome's DeDe viris illustribus (87; 88; 125).

It may be more significant that Augustine, writing in Africa in the 390s and recalling a conversation a decade earlier, leaves the work anonymous.

In Milan, the Confessionsfessions report, Ponticianus told Augustine about two agentes in rebus rebus at Trier who were converted to the ascetic life when they found and read a codex 'in quo scripta erat vita Antonii' (viii. 6. 15). If Jerome was one of the agentes in rebus, as has been argued,28 then the incident occurred c.370.

Furthermore, when Jerome had occasion to refer to the Life of Antony in the preface to his Vita Pauli c.c.c. 37s, he recorded the existence of both a Greek and a Latin version, but refrained from naming the author: de Antonio tam Graeco quam Romano stylo diligenter memoriae traditum est (PL xxiii, col. 18). Admittedly, these two anonymous references do not exclude the possibility that both Jerome c.375 and Ponticianus when he was in Trier believed the Life to be by Athanasius.

However, since works were often ascribed to Athanasius which he most certainly did not write,27 the lack of unanimous attestation of his authorship raises a doubt about whether his name had always been attached to the Life of of Antony from the very beginning.​

The Life of Anthony is hagiography and not history. I think the real history of monasticism starts with Pachomius. The possibility that the Nag Hammadi Codices, and other manuscript discoveries proximate to known Pachomian monasteries, somehow relates to the Pachomian monastic movement is intriguing.
 
#15
The stats for the development of monastic settlements related to Pachomius seem to suggest a movement of many tens of thousands of people. By the mid 4th century literary evidence suggests that the city of Oxyrhynchus had expanded well beyond the old city walls, and that it was filled with "monks".

I am inclined to consider, as one of the causes of such a mass movement, the Christianisation of the cities and the prohibitions against the old religions.




I am suspicious as to whether Anthony existed, or whether he was an idealised figure created by the author of the "Life" - often deemed the earliest Christian hagiography. There is also the question as to who authored this work, usually ascribed to Athanasius. For example:

ANGEL OF LIGHT OR MYSTIC INITIATE? THE PROBLEM OF THE "LIFE OF ANTONY"
Author(s): T. D. Barnes​
Source: The Journal of Theological Studies, NEW SERIES, Vol. 37, No. 2 (OCTOBER 1986), pp. 353-368​
Published by: Oxford University Press​
p.358​
The only manuscript of VLR begins 'incipit vita sancti Antonii monachi edita a sancto Hieronymo'. Of the fourteen manuscripts of VS described by Draguet, only nine attribute the Life to Athanasius, but most of these are late manuscripts which include the Life as part of the 'paradise' of Henan-Isho—and hence their ascription merely reflects the opinion of the seventh-century compiler.​
Of the three most ancient manuscripts of the long recension of VS, one attributes the Life to Jerome, while two leave it anonymous, among them BL, Add. 14646 of the sixth century. Similarly, of the three manuscripts of the short recension, two leave the Life anonymous.​
The fact that VLEv, VSa, and all the more than 160 manuscripts of VG ascribe the work to Athanasius merely reflects the standard belief in his authorship which can be documented as early as​
c.380 in Gregory of Nazianzus (Orat. xxi. 5)25 and in​
392 in Jerome's DeDe viris illustribus (87; 88; 125).​
It may be more significant that Augustine, writing in Africa in the 390s and recalling a conversation a decade earlier, leaves the work anonymous.​
In Milan, the Confessionsfessions report, Ponticianus told Augustine about two agentes in rebus rebus at Trier who were converted to the ascetic life when they found and read a codex 'in quo scripta erat vita Antonii' (viii. 6. 15). If Jerome was one of the agentes in rebus, as has been argued,28 then the incident occurred c.370.​
Furthermore, when Jerome had occasion to refer to the Life of Antony in the preface to his Vita Pauli c.c.c. 37s, he recorded the existence of both a Greek and a Latin version, but refrained from naming the author: de Antonio tam Graeco quam Romano stylo diligenter memoriae traditum est (PL xxiii, col. 18). Admittedly, these two anonymous references do not exclude the possibility that both Jerome c.375 and Ponticianus when he was in Trier believed the Life to be by Athanasius.​
However, since works were often ascribed to Athanasius which he most certainly did not write,27 the lack of unanimous attestation of his authorship raises a doubt about whether his name had always been attached to the Life of of Antony from the very beginning.​

The Life of Anthony is hagiography and not history. I think the real history of monasticism starts with Pachomius. The possibility that the Nag Hammadi Codices, and other manuscript discoveries proximate to known Pachomian monasteries, somehow relates to the Pachomian monastic movement is intriguing.
The Life of Antony is certainly hagiography, but regardless of who authored it and the nature of the work, it provides a fourth-century pro-bishop perspective on monasticism and is thus of great value to understanding the cultural dynamics surrounding the movement. Indeed the very fact of a fourth-century hagiography of a monk is suggestive of the rising importance of the movement.
 
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Feb 2019
345
California
#16
More glory, but also more gory. The history of monasticism reveals that while individuals like Anthony of Egypt were drawing a few to the lifestyle in the 3rd century, especially in the East, it was Benedict who really began the growth of Christian monasticism in western Europe and this occurred after the Fall of the Western Roman Empire.
Christian monasticism - Wikipedia
When it comes to "fear of dying from pain" vs. "fear of dying from boredom" I want to stick my head in the sand. Fortunately for we amorous cowards of that day and age, monastic vows or no where there was a will there was a way. Thus, it's tonsure all the way.......
 
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