Desert, City, and Countryside in the Early Christian Imagination

in Church History and Religious Culture
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Abstract

This paper isolates the literary motif of the desert as the idealized locus of monastic retreat and shows the transformation of this concept from pagan to Christian literature. Particular emphasis is placed on the development of the notion of the desert as a state of mind of detachment from and indifference to the world. This allows for the practice of monastic virtues even in a worldly environment, and thus bridges the perceived gap between monks and bishops.

Desert, City, and Countryside in the Early Christian Imagination

in Church History and Religious Culture

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