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This contribution provides an outline of the traditional narrative of the emergence of monasticism, starting with Antony and Pachomius and ending with the Carolingian monastic reforms. It is followed by suggestions of different approaches that identify turning points which do not form part of the traditional narrative. An ‘archaeology of concepts’ shows that medieval monasticism owes much more to the traditions of female religious communities than to the imagined world of the desert. An important turning point in the history of monasticism is the rise of monastic intercessory prayer along with procedures of monastic foundations that allowed founders to continue a secular life. Another suggestion is approaching monasticism from the perspective of those inside or outside monastic communities who resist the emergence of prevalent monastic models.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge Resources Online - Medieval Studies
Number of pages12
StatePublished - May 30 2022


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