Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Krastu Banev: "Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ" (Rule of St Benedict 53): Revisiting Hospitality in Early Monasticism

Early monasticism was a doctrinally diverse phenomenon. Such is the conclusion of much recent scholarship on the origins of the movement. When emphasised in a given source, as it is in the Life of Anthony or the Apophthegmata, doctrinal unity often tells more about the doctrinal priorities not of the monks themselves but of the authors or editors of their lives or sayings (D. Brake, S. Rubenson). What then attracted new converts to asceticism? First of all, it was the ascetic -- or the 'philosophical' -- life itself, followed by a shared desire for an uninterrupted meditation on the Scriptures (D. Burton-Christie). Both of these priorities could be achieved under the inspired guidance of an Abba or an Amma. In this paper, I will focus on the process by which late antique Christians appropriated and affirmed the ancient, non-Christian, practice of hospitality as a specifically Christian and monastic duty. Examining a variety of sources from the fourth to the sixth century, I will argue for this Christianization of hospitality as yet another key factor contributing to the growing popularity of the ascetic movement.

No comments:

Post a comment