Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The dissertation focuses on the religious culture of Christian monasticism in sixth-century Palestine. Rather than see the monastic communities of the Judean Desert, just to the east of Jerusalem, and those around Gaza as two independent monastic regions, as much scholarship has done, the dissertation focuses on the common threads that can be seen in the monastic teachings and idealized ascetic practices in the literature of the area. This dissertation reveals ways to redefine the boundaries between the monastic communities of Palestine during the sixth century as well as emphasizes the continuities between the monks of the Judean Desert and Gaza by providing an alternative perspective by which to examine their monastic traditions. This is achieved by focusing on the monastic teachings and idealized ascetic practices emphasized in the Greek monastic literature of sixth-century Palestine, particularly the hagiographies of Cyril of Scythopolis and the Correspondence of Barsanuphius and John the Prophet. Rather than look outward, examining how Palestinian monks impacted ecclesiastical and social structures, the dissertation instead faces inward towards the monastic communities themselves. Through this method the dissertation provides a textually rich description of the monastic landscape of late antique Palestine while highlighting the varieties of monasticism which persisted through the sixth century.



Committee Chair

Dietz, Maribel