Antony the Great

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Antony (or Anthony; d. 356 CE) was an Egyptian ascetic, desert monk, and monastic teacher, and he is considered the first hermit and the father of monasticism. The most important – but also problematic – source on Antony is his Vita written shortly after his death by Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria (d. 373 CE; Desert Fathers). Antony needs to be described from three different perspectives: 1. as historical figure who was probably the author of a series of letters that are preserved under his name; 2. as textual creation in Athanasius’ Vita Antonii and other sources, particularly the collections of Apophthegmata patrum, Jerome’s hagiographical works, and the monastic Historiae; 3. as late antique and medieval imagination: the first monk and Egyptian founding father of eremitic monasticism, a new type of saint for whom ascetic discipline takes the place of martyrdom, and a model for ascetic life. This article is under copyright. If you are interested in the text, please contact me (
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationBrill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online
StatePublished - 2019

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