Author: John Binns
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The monasteries of the Jerusalem desert were famous throughout the Byzantine Christian world. Yet whilst much has been written about their counterparts in Egypt and Syria, this book is the first to provide a comprehensive study of the monastic movement in Palestine during the Byzantine period, from the accession of Constantine to the fall of Jerusalem to the Persians in 614. The book is divided into three parts. The first examines the lives of the holy men of the desert, using contemporary source material, and looks at the culture which produced them. The second describes the environment, including chapters on Jerusalem and pilgrimage, living conditions in the desert, and the expansion of monasticism into other urban centres. The third section presents some of the main themes of the saints' lives, with chapters on the historical development, doctrinal debate, and spirituality. This is an important and valuable contribution to the study of ancient spirituality and desert monasticism, and should be of interest both to historians and to scholars of patristics and theology.