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10 - Monasticism and Mendicancy.docx

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Simon Fraser University
HIST 288
Emily O' Brien

MonasticismandMendicancy How wasthechurch sodominant despitebeing sodysfunctional?  Theanswer is largely monasticismandmendicancy I. Questions What is monasticism? What areits origins? What areits chief featuresandevolution? How is it significant What is Monsticism?  Monks  Nuns Not clergy becausenot ordainedbut called “thereligious”  Friars *monkscanbecomepriestsor bishopsif they areordained(canbecomeregular clergy)  Thepracticeof living in separation from theworld to attain spiritual perfection o From thegreek word monachosmeaning someonewho livesalone o Meant to dedicatethemselvesto theteachingsof Jesus o Originally they wererecluses–EremeticMonasticism o Later CenobiticMonasticismdevelopedwheremonkslived in community and focusedonprayer. o Ideathat is wasimpossible to achievespiritual perfection while in society o Essential ideaswereasceticism, (abstaining from food, meat, sex, material goods etc.), deepimmersion in prayer, andmanual labor. What areits origins? Conceptual origins  Elementsof asceticism in Judaismbut nopreviousmodel for monasticism  Therewasalong history of interior martyrdom (Macrinafor example) andtheideasof self-sacrificewerere-channeled.  Ideawent back to Jesus–many passagesrefer to storing uptreasuresonly in heaven  It mayhavebeenaway to distinguishbetweeninner andouter devotion asChristianity becamestatemandated. For some,atrueconversion could beseenby conversion to an ascetic life Geographical origins  From Egypt  St.Anthony(251-356) is known asthefounder o Helost his parentsatage19andwasresponsiblefor hissister o Heard of voicethat spokethegospel of Matthew saying sell all your possessions o Heentrustedhissister with agroup of ascetic women(why consideredthe founder whenpeoplealreadypracticing it?) andwent into solitude o Peoplekept hearing about him andsurrounding him sohekept moving around o Decidedheshould offer guidancefor hisfollowersandfoundedthe“first monastery,” which wasaloosesociety of individual hermitswith no“rule.” o Othersquickly joined  This startedawaveof “intenseasceticism,” possibly competing with eachother o Not sleeping for 20daysandnights o Standing upfor entireseasonof Lent o Eating only cabbageleavesandonly onSundays o Having mealsonly onceevery 3months o Ironing flesh o Memorizing theentireOT andNT o Alexandraclosedherself into atomb for 10years o In Syria, SimeonStylites(390-459) literally elevatedhimself off thegroundona column andplatform andstartedatrend. o Somepeoplewerekickedout of thechurch for their extremeversionsof asceticism o In theWest, practicesweremoremoderateandthey did not like Eastern extremes asthey would not attract Christians  ThencameCenobitic Monasticism St. Pachomius(290-346) known asthefounder o Createdthefirst monastery with aformal rule o By thetimehedied, hehadfounded11monastarieswith 7,000 monks St. Basil (329-379) o Macrina’sbrother o Createdhisown rule that is still most usedin theEast o Hemoderatedself-denial th  Monasticism wasadmiredin theWestby the4 century o Cameby thebook TheLife of St.Anthony, which wastranslatedbyAthanasius o Influential peoplein theWestwent to theEastto seewhat is wasabout o St. Jerome(347-420) tried to beahermit, but it didn’t work sohewent to Rome andtaught aristocratic womento establish convents o Monasticism wasestablished in the west by theendof 4 century. What areits chief featuresandpointsof development?  Surgeof interest in asceticism astheEastern version is adoptedandadapted  Thewest establisheddifferent rules  St. Benedict of Nursia (480-543) o Developedtheonewhich stuck –becamethefather of western monasticism o Wastheabbot of hismonastery andextremely hard. His monkstried to poison him, soheleft andknew hehadto develop adifferent rule, which wasmore moderatethantheeastern version. o Took followersto MonteCassino wherethey startedanew monastery appealing to the“ordinary Christian” o Ideathat you did not needextremeself-sacrificeandcould still imitateChrist  BenedictineRule o Away from theworld but guestswerewelcomed o Manual labour o Communal worship according to canonical hours o Lechodivina(privatereading andmeditation) o Theory basedonabalancedlife with moderation  Theory oftendifferedfrom reality o Therewasageneral declinein church morality asabbotsandabices o Sharedsameproblemsassecular clergy –in chargeof land, oftenappointedby secular rulers,becamedumping groundsfor childrenof aristocratic families, and becamecorrupt in essence  Therewerehowever, reform mov
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