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Monastic Space : The Ascetic Between Sacred and Civil Spheres in Theodoret of Cyrrhus

Westergren, Andreas LU (2016) In Spaces in Late Antiquity : Cultural, Theological and Archaeological Perspectives
Abstract
Syrian monasticism has often been judged by its extremes, with Symeon the Stylite as the prime example of someone leaving the human world behind to reach for God. In this interpretation, hagiographical renderings seem only to underline an opposition between sacred and civil spheres, between the cells of the ascetics and human society. With this article, however, I wish to call such a conclusion into question with the help of one of the more well-known textual sources about Symeon and the other Syrian ascetics, Theodoret's Philotheos Historia (PH). My aim is to examine how different ascetic environments are displayed in the PH, to see if and how they are related to longstanding ideas and ideals about civilization. My concern is therefore... (More)
Syrian monasticism has often been judged by its extremes, with Symeon the Stylite as the prime example of someone leaving the human world behind to reach for God. In this interpretation, hagiographical renderings seem only to underline an opposition between sacred and civil spheres, between the cells of the ascetics and human society. With this article, however, I wish to call such a conclusion into question with the help of one of the more well-known textual sources about Symeon and the other Syrian ascetics, Theodoret's Philotheos Historia (PH). My aim is to examine how different ascetic environments are displayed in the PH, to see if and how they are related to longstanding ideas and ideals about civilization. My concern is therefore not so much the historical places (or circumstances) of the ascetics as Theodoret's literary presentations of monastic space. In the end, I will suggest a "one-space-model", where I will argue that the different locations of ascetics are exhibited along a graded scale, which situates them differently between the poles of human and divine realms, and that there is room for moving in both directions. In fact, the evolution of the monastic movement in Syria is depicted as an ongoing civilization in the PH. (Less)
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author
organization
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Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
in press
subject
in
Spaces in Late Antiquity : Cultural, Theological and Archaeological Perspectives
editor
Day, Juliette; Hakola, Raimo; Tervahauta, Ulla and Kahlos, Maijastina
publisher
Ashgate
ISBN
9781472450166
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9e797bd0-1782-4dea-ac00-63f34b78fbc1 (old id 8594960)
date added to LUP
2016-02-02 14:44:48
date last changed
2016-04-16 09:44:04
@misc{9e797bd0-1782-4dea-ac00-63f34b78fbc1,
  abstract     = {Syrian monasticism has often been judged by its extremes, with Symeon the Stylite as the prime example of someone leaving the human world behind to reach for God. In this interpretation, hagiographical renderings seem only to underline an opposition between sacred and civil spheres, between the cells of the ascetics and human society. With this article, however, I wish to call such a conclusion into question with the help of one of the more well-known textual sources about Symeon and the other Syrian ascetics, Theodoret's Philotheos Historia (PH). My aim is to examine how different ascetic environments are displayed in the PH, to see if and how they are related to longstanding ideas and ideals about civilization. My concern is therefore not so much the historical places (or circumstances) of the ascetics as Theodoret's literary presentations of monastic space. In the end, I will suggest a "one-space-model", where I will argue that the different locations of ascetics are exhibited along a graded scale, which situates them differently between the poles of human and divine realms, and that there is room for moving in both directions. In fact, the evolution of the monastic movement in Syria is depicted as an ongoing civilization in the PH.},
  author       = {Westergren, Andreas},
  editor       = {Day, Juliette and Hakola, Raimo and Tervahauta, Ulla and Kahlos, Maijastina},
  isbn         = {9781472450166},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x9d8e998)},
  series       = {Spaces in Late Antiquity : Cultural, Theological and Archaeological Perspectives},
  title        = {Monastic Space : The Ascetic Between Sacred and Civil Spheres in Theodoret of Cyrrhus},
  year         = {2016},
}