Monastic History

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Monastic History Class

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Today, we're going to have some fun with Beza and the life of Srinudi, one of the most colourful characters in the history of monasticism, not to be written off at all. He certainly fulfilled his place in monastic history, and in the Eastern Church he's considered a very good name. Most of the Coptic popes are named Srinudi, in fact, right down to the 20th century. I don't know if the present one, I think one died last year, and I don't know if the successor was named, but usually they're Srinudi, so Srinudi the 34th or whatever it's now called. Before we get to Srinudi, and we'll probably begin Basilian monasticism today also, but before we do that, I wanted to remember, I wanted to start this time with the life of Picomius. If you had any questions or discussion from your readings in Picomius, if not, we'll go


on to Beza then. Remember also to do your, you should have done your Basil reading for today, although we won't finish it until Saturday. We should be able to start today and we'll finish Basil on Saturday. Yeah? Since Picomius started about 300 A.D. and the life of Antony was about 300, what's the reason there was no monastic life from Jesus' time for 300 years? You mean the Christian? Right. Well, the Christian, well, does somebody else want to answer that? They had martyrdom. They had physical martyrdom. And it was acted as a part of the replacement for that. What reason? Maybe monasticism, we just don't have a record of it at all. I suspect there always were these itinerant hermits and people living in caves and all that, but there wasn't anything really organized as such. A little bit earlier than that, there were some monasteries, there were some monastic centers in Palestine.


But the really first big beginnings were in Egypt, northern Egypt. These places in Palestine, were they Christian or were they Jewish? Christian. Christian. They didn't start off as monasteries as we think of monasteries, but they evolved into them. But they started as little settlements, little groupings around holy people who were living a life of solitude. Now certainly by this time that you're talking about, they're thriving in Palestine, monasteries. We will go to Palestinian monasticism after we get resilient. And it's fascinating. We have some good books on Palestinian monasticism also. So it was existing in Palestine. In English. In English. Huh? So it wasn't existing in Palestine, what, 150, 80 years ago? No. No? No, I mean nothing really organized. There might have been one here, one there, but no. So your choice was martyrdom or the 34th century?


The 34th century. Well, see, that's the thing. You have monasticism in various religions. It's always developing, but Christianity is just starting. And so right in those years, the church was just forming. And you had pious unions of virgins who, for all practical purposes, were living a semi-monastic life. But you don't have monasticism as such, not the way we've got it organized and featured. But there hasn't even been a need for monasticism that early on, because it was such an intense experience of Christian life. It was really after Christianity became institutionalized that it really took off. Most of the churches were house churches with communities around them that were pseudo-monastic in a specific way. Yeah, they had common prayer, you know, and sort of semi-monastic in the beginning in a certain sense.


Also, in more traditions than our own, who are the ones who enter monasticism within a church or within a religion? Who are the ones who enter monasticism for the most part? People on the fringe. Yeah, exactly. People on the fringe, a lot of the troublemakers, extreme people, you know, renegades, people who want more than the status quo, or people who want to reject everything there is and let's do something really radical, you know, that's often the case. And so in the beginnings of Christianity, you don't have that yet, because Christianity itself is that. But then by the time Christianity settled in and you've got a church, there are already people who are up to here with the church and want to go into the desert. Especially once the religious politics started, and then they really had that change. Do we know how long the local Christian community has lasted?


The ones who were celebrating, come and join this local community. Well, we know Jerusalem, you know, but these other ones, these other ones perjured in one way or another, you know, in the Diaspora, in all these various Greek-speaking cities throughout the empire. It's interesting, it was such a strong movement, but today there's nothing left of it. It seems like it was so strong it would have become part of Christianity. What would have become part of Christianity? Oh, this Christian, give up what you have and join us. Or that. We see some more of that today, it's cropping up. What about the American faith community? Religious life becomes an institutional model of that. An institutional model. Can we go through this cycle over and over and over again? Look at the Franciscan Revolution.


And look at the early... Who do they look to for, really, a base root? What is the Franciscan phenomenon looking toward as their model? And what are all the great monastic reforms throughout the centuries, as we'll see? What do they look to for their model? It's always Acts 2. They always go back to the primitive Jerusalem, the early Christian community, in a very simple form that you can say in six sentences. You know? Tom? I was reading, and Tom, you said, one of the things that the author of the Western Classic series suggested is that the tremendous political reforms that went on in the 300s made a big difference, you know, especially under Diocletian. Because he pulled together a lot of the rural villages in such a way that he made them, for the first time, kind of autonomous to have their own self-governance and metropolitans and officials,


which gave them a great deal of liberty to develop their economies. Hence, it paved the way, he said, for the economics of the monasteries, like almost none of them could support themselves. And then his theory is that it jeopardized the development of monastic life in a formal notion, because there would be no way to kind of keep yourself going, because of the taxation, because the way trade was related between cities and villages, especially in Egypt. But the eastern part of the empire had been completely neglected, it didn't have the left fundia system that was in place in the western part of the empire. And finally, Diocletian brought that to bear, but with a different level of economic reasoning, which really helped the whole eastern. And put the ownership of the empire into the people, more than it had been before. And that, apparently, according to his theory, affected the development of, especially the industry of monasteries


to support themselves, and gave them a trade route, you might say, with extant villages, but apparently, you didn't have that before. I did some research on Beza this morning. Oh, excuse me. Beza is the one who took over for Shenoudi in his monastery, and then wrote the life of Shenoudi. That's common throughout the ages, that the successor writes the life, you know, the former one. And Peter Damian writes it. You know, it wasn't exactly the same, but John of Lodi wrote the life of Peter Damian after him. That's the common way of doing things. Anyway, to him, from his point of view, as with Pecomius and his foundations, where did Pecomius make his foundations? Abandoned towns. Abandoned towns, and then they would build the wall. But why? Because they had all the buildings there. They had their own bakery, their own dye pit


where they colored their yarn. It was completely self-sufficient. And that's what drew, more than anything, phenomenal, phenomenal numbers of philohene who could not make a living because the way things were changing in the empire, all these philohene out in the deserts and whatnot couldn't make it anymore because the whole commercial thing was changing, the whole economic situation. And they flocked to these cities, or these walled towns, which happened to be these growing monasteries. Same thing with Chinuti. At one time, Chinuti took in thousands of people to take care of them who were, because they didn't know what else to do, were traveling the deserts, looking for somewhere to make a living. They had been displaced and whatnot. Also took in, at one point in the year, when he took in hundreds and hundreds of people, he rescued from slavery.


One of these tribes at this time, one of these Berber tribes, was into white slavery at that time. Those people lived there with the monks. Why not? It was a self-sufficient city, which was built on the ruins of a former town. Yeah? Yeah, I was wondering about the free-flowing style about the Egyptian senpais that you described. Was that a cultural thing? Free visit, free-flowing? Well, it's sort of, you know, nothing in common. You can go to office, you can go to bed, meals when you want it and all that. It really begins to stand out the more we read, and you see how organized everything is, and structured and everything. I was wondering...


The funny thing with Pekomius is if you read the rules and whatnot, it sounds extremely structured and everything. At the same time, you didn't really have to follow it, in the sense that you could always be excused from almost anything. Yeah. There was that freedom. But that is short-lived. Okay. That's fairly short-lived. Although there's a certain element of that still in Coptic monasticism. That's kind of funny. And it's more... They're drawn more ostensibly to the hermetic, allowing the hermetic dimension to have life within a monastic situation more than in the West. And the West is either-or. And one side doesn't like the other. Or certainly doesn't trust the other. You know, when I want to come here, the question is, you want to do what? You know, it's like... Pre-Vatican II, to come to this sort of life was a step up. I mean, that's how they looked at it. They did it in stairway figures. But now, in the 60s and 70s and 80s,


wanting to do that is looked down upon by other monastics who distrust how they are hermetical. And that's been cyclical throughout our history, too, within the world of monasticism. But in the East, it's always been there. And I suspect that plays into that. You know, they allow people to do their own thing once they've been tested or they've had some experience. And it's still outweighed in non-monasticism, too. It's kind of interesting, because we can almost read our own experience of monasticism, what images of a monastery we have, and things like this. You have, quote from Commius, he's doing everything, he's answering the door, he's cooking, he's living, he's able. Because all these other monks aren't able to. And that's an interesting thing. Now, as you expressed it, these are just people who have applied to these times, and they probably didn't apply with the spiritual intention, necessarily,


but it was a place of safety. And hopefully, eventually, something happened to them. And the life appealed to them. From a Western standpoint, it's not all that orderly life. If you're not living the order, let's put down it. But they were also drawn to that orderliness, because that meant three squares, or two squares a day, or whatever, you know, uncloth around your body. You know, real dancing, at that time. How sincere were they in the spiritual question? That unnecessarily important. Depends which place they joined. If they joined Chinuti, they'd get in the shade. The Ivy League. Let's move to Chinuti. I want to preface that by doing a reading from the Life of Pacomius. It's going to play into something you said last week, Terry, about the compassion that comes through Pacomius. There was another brother who was mortally ill and bedridden in a nearby cell. I'm not reading the Greek. I'm reading the English translation. The Greeks are listening.


He requested from the father of the monastery to be fed a small portion of meat, the length of his illness had reduced his body skin and bones. And because the meat was not given to him, he told one of the brothers, support me and take me to our Abba Pacomius. When he approached Pacomius, he fell on his face and told him the reason. Pacomius realized that the man deserved the request. They don't give him any meat. And he sighed. At mealtime, Pacomius was served his portion, as were all the other brothers. Pacomius did not eat, but said, you are respecters of persons. What has happened to the Scripture? Love your neighbor as yourself. Don't you see that this man is practically dead? Why did you not take good care of him at all before he made this request? And you will say, we neglected him because that sort of food was not customary among us.


But does the disease not make a difference? Are not all things pure to those who are pure? And if you were unable to see without my advice that this would be good, why didn't you tell me? Tears came to his eyes. This is what I wanted. Tears came to his eyes as he was saying these things. For tears are a mark of sensitivity. And even if tears do not come to a man who is sensitive while something is happening, there is such a thing, you know, as the inner beauty. Et cetera, et cetera. They turn around and they all learn their lesson. This is not Shenoudi. This is Pacomius. Shenoudi. Get out your big maps. The one, not the Diocese of Egypt, the other one. What is it? Mastic World 300 to 700? Yeah. Do you see where


Tabernesis is? Where Pacomius is? There should be a... Go down in Egypt there. Down by Thebes. See Tabernesis? One of the big black circles. Now go right to the left of that and you should find Shenoudi. Just up the river a little bit. Do you see that? Atrepe or Shenoudi? You should see one of those words. Okay, that's what we're talking about. So we're talking about not far at all from Pacomius and his foundations, his, excuse me, congregation. There was this abandoned town, Atrepe, or if it wasn't abandoned, it was nearby and it wasn't much of anything. There were the ruins of a small convent there. Now it was probably a community that didn't quite take off. They didn't make it. Remember, we're talking about the desert. It's just very hard to make it


in the desert. And this monastery, these ruins were taken over by an Aba N'gul. N'gul. He was the uncle of Shenoudi. And Shenoudi's father, so he got a monastery going there and he was the Aba. And Shenoudi's father, the brother of N'gul, took Shenoudi there when he was nine years old for an education. N'gul saw a good thing and he didn't let his nephew leave. And his nephew didn't want to leave. He loved it in the monastery. He was very, very precocious already as a child, according to the hagiographer Beza. Beza was his successor and he wrote the Life of Shenoudi. We have the Life of Shenoudi in Coptic and there's a longer version


in Arabic. And the one in Arabic has lots more details. We don't know if they're true or not, but it's a lot more fun than me because it gives you all the color, the numbers. It fills in the blanks. Zenobius was the one who took over after Beza and it died out with him. Okay, so you can see that this monastery and which becomes a congregation is a very short life. We're talking three generations. Let's see. The dates. The tradition is 118 years. Now, our tendency is usually one or other regarding the 3rd or 4th century. You can't trust their numbers. They're always talking about thousands of this and thousands of that or they're using numbers symbolically


or it just means a long time or whatever. Those tend to be our natural reactions to this sort of thing. 348 to 466. But we have to, as a couple of monastic historians point out, you have to remember that people often do live very old in the desert, these cops. They have a very simple lifestyle. Figs, dates, they're regular. They don't get a lot of colds and viruses and stuff. They have some roughage and they make it. And they live to be very old, withered little people. Not a lot of overweight cops. And a lot of them are very, live to be, you know, live right to life all day. So it could very well be that Shinra didn't live to 180 years. It isn't within the realm,


outside the realm of possibility. Whatever, we can be fairly certain he lived a long time. It looks like he lived at least between 80, 90 and 100, if not the full 180. Lived a long time. And boy, he whipped his boots into shape. This monastery, when Shinruri took over after Nguul died, he rebuilt the monastery with brick. And he built, not rebuilt, but built a huge church. And he built that on blocks of baked chalk. The monastery no longer exists. We don't have that. But this church is still out there near Atrepe. It's called, and rationally enough, the White Monastery. Well, it's really not the monastery, it's the church that's left


from the monastery. But this became very famous, the White Monastery of Atrepe. Okay. He ruled the community some 80 years. That's why they say we can almost be sure, and they're fairly certain of that, we can almost be certain that he's at least, you know, if he was a teenager when he took over, well, at least he's in his 90s then. You know, by the end of his life. But they just can't be sure. There's only a couple dates they can be sure of, absolutely sure of Beza. One of them is the council of Chalcedon. He was one of the fathers of the council of Jerusalem. They have his signature there. They have some writings, interventions he made and whatnot. He was there. Shenoudi is not ignorant. Shenoudi is bilingual. He's familiar with the Greek poets, the Greek historians. But at the same time, his grasp of things philosophical


and his taste for things theological are typically Coptic. Coptic and Copt. He doesn't have much to do with it either. But he can speak and write Greek, no problem, himself. But he's not real big on culture and education. I was reading a book about him. He wouldn't allow foreigners into his community. Anyone that spoke exclusively Greek Somebody, well, it seemed the Copts were all very xenophobic. Very xenophobic. Huh? Did I say that right? Xenophobic. Fear of foreigners. Yes. Strange things. Strange people. They're an entity unto themselves. They still are. And his approach to monasticism


is very, very different from Pacomian monasticism. The monasticism at this time is Pacomian in this area. There's more than... Remember, there's a number of foundations now all around him that are Pacomian in nature. That's not his style. His rule, the rule of Shenoudi, is distinctly different from the Pacomian rule. Much more severe. He's big into asceticism. Very big. And he lived asceticism. Another difference is that Shenoudi is very, very respectful there in the Nicol. And he himself lived in a hole for five years. A cavern or a hole outside the monastery for five... He did... He might even go there for soccer all during his life. But for five years straight, he would do not hole to have that aramidical experience.


It is with Shenoudi... Our best stuff, by the way, on Shenoudi in the library is in French. Some great stuff on these Egyptian monastics. It's with Shenoudi that we have the first evidence, the first extant evidence of monastic profession document. The profession of vows being a document you sign that... I promise before God in this holy place as the word that my mouth promises is my witness. I do not wish to stain my body in any manner. I do not wish to steal. I do not wish to take false oaths. I do not wish to lie. I do not wish to do evil secretly. If I transgress that


which I have promised, I do not wish to enter the kingdom of heaven. For I see him, God, before whom I have pronounced the formula of the covenant. Let him annihilate my soul and let him destroy my body in the Gehenna of fire. For I will have transgressed the formula of the covenant. Covenantal contract idea. This is something new that I have pronounced, the covenant that I have pronounced. Unquote. These Phila'in who were drawn to Shenoudi's way took on a much more severe approach to monasticism. There were some similarities with the Comian and monasticism and you know you're definitely


in a cenobitic situation for the most part. Even though some of them will go out and do their hermetic thing for a while attached to the monastery or nearby. You know you're in Egyptian quasi-Comian setup regarding prayer and life and the common life, the common wheel in the monastery. And other monasteries that were already existing, probably some of them Pacomian, switched over to Shenoudi. And so Shenoudi ended up becoming a congregation. Let me, the congregation of Antrepid existed. Even though we're talking about a short span of time, we're talking about a grouping that came and had a common rule and their own way of doing things. So a family of monasteries like the Pacomian congregation but definitely their own thing. For those who wanted,


who were drawn to hermeticism within the Shenoudian, you usually see that written Shenoudian, S-H-E-N-O-U-D-I-A-N, Shenoudian, so like here. Within that particular type of monasticism, the synobium, or the big monastery, the white monastery itself, was seen as the place of formation, the formation house, and a place of transition for all the hermits to be. So you did your time in the white monastery and then you went on into your holes or caves or whatever. If you were drawn to that, you could still remain a Senodite the whole time. He had both hands. He was infamous for his severity. There were plenty of whippings


for any given offense. He just saw the rod as being the cure. There is one, I'm going to go through these afterwards to see if I miss anything, the French stuff here. There's one case that was written, in fact he testifies to it himself in his writings, where a couple dozen nuns, he had women and men within his congregation. Nuns had to be punished. And so they were condemned to a large number of lashings under the common way of Shenoudian lashing. And that was to be beaten with a rod as you're hung upside down on your feet, the soles of your feet. This is how we know at least one of his young monks died.


He was beaten to death on the soles of his feet. He must have been beaten often to die that way. Unless he died of a heart attack or something. Shenoudian himself, in his writings, in his testimony, admits to this, to this episode of holy fervor, quote unquote. And that's what comes down through the centuries with Shenoudian, everybody giggles because they remember the holy fervor of Abba Shenoudian just beat the hell out of his young monk and killed him. It sounds terrible and awful. And it certainly is an extreme situation. But it's not just that. The Shenoudian phenomenon was real and it fulfilled a monastic lifestyle for many, many people for a number of generations. Don't just write it off, because of the colorful


characters of Shenoudian. And he definitely did, I mean, this whole setup was Shenoudian. After he dies, after Shenoudian's gone, it just slowly slips into, and under Zenobia it's totally oblivion. Why? They needed Shenoudian. And the secondary sources say this is because the simple Coptic people, and it's still that way, are drawn to the charismatic individual who will order their life for them. There's a strong Abba disciple type thing. And they'll die for their Abba. They'll die for their master. And Shenoudian was this for them. The Shenoudians, these monastics, would go out on wild forays, destroying temples, knocking them over, stone by stone,


knocking them over, smashing idols. Now we're talking Egypt, huh? So we're talking all the polytheistic remnants that are still around in Egypt. Egypt isn't totally out of the country. Egypt isn't totally Christian yet. In the cities, yes, but the countryside is a whole mixture of things. The Shenoudians would go out in their posses and destroy and beat and they say, some say, slaughter on these forays of monastic fervor. In the Shenoudian congregation, you definitely did not take the Pax Christi, Angela, of Jackson first. It was the Pax Shenoudi. Would they mutilate when they did that? They would mutilate the idols. They probably did, you know. Although it would be a blood curdling sort of thing to see coming out of the idols.


The verbers who come in and destroy all these Coptic monastics, they truly do that, they still do that. These nomadic tribes. One of the commentators says, tongue in cheek, that he wonders if Shenoudi himself was ever one of the whippies or was he always the whipper. This was in French, but that's what he was saying. Evidently, Shenoudi was very, very hard on himself, regarding fasting and discipline and whatnot. I don't know. I suspect that when he was younger, he went through some discipline, perhaps from his uncle. He was a leader in the Coptic church at this time, Shenoudi. As I said, he went to the Council of Chalcedon during those years and was one of the church fathers there along with Cyril of Jerusalem.


Excuse me, Ephesus. Council of Ephesus. He was very, very big into uniformity. With Bekomis, you know, flexibility and all that. Not with Shenoudi. There's one way to do things with Shenoudi and that's Shenoudi's way of doing things. There was no room at all for levity. No laughing. I don't know. It just seems to me, I wonder if Shenoudi himself went out on his forays. Because if you're out going into fasting, I mean, there's a certain element of fun that, you know, not even the temple, I would think. So, it must have let off steam away from the right people. I've always thought so. What would you think, going out and destroying something? They periodically beat each other during a foray. I don't know. It doesn't get in the spirit of things.


Wildly. Wildly. Huh? Is there any commentary about how scary this all is? You know, like, from Christianity, from Jesus, to people beating each other to death or whatever. I mean, if you're really... Well, certainly within church history. I mean, after only 300 years, it's getting pretty weird. I mean... Now that you take the cultural conditions into... I mean, you're talking about Coptic peasants. You're not talking about apostles. And, you know, I mean, look at today. Look at our Christian. Look at the most people in this country who, you know, profess Christ in the Gospel and do their Sunday duty. And then ask them how they feel about various realities in the world. Or how do you feel about


the Russians? Or the Chinese? Or whatever. You know, and you'll get some blood curdling things in your ears. It's still that way. Even if we're not going out and destroying temples, it doesn't mean we wouldn't want to. And it could very well be the Lutheran temple around the corner. In small towns especially. But, you know, in many ways it's still the same thing. It's just that here they were out. They were even, you know... I mean, you're talking about championing Christ in a certain way by destroying the temples. And they weren't so concerned in well, we've got to be, you know, respectful of the indigenous polytheistic. Hey, they're just out there getting rid of the idols, you know. And you can find it in Scripture. Destroy idols. Now here, of course, we're talking about the extreme of extremes. But, on a lesser note, in any of these ecclesioli,


you're going to find the human, you know, less than Jesus Christ vantage or viewpoint coming through in the way that's lived out. Look at the popes. Look at the history of popes. I'm also thinking in terms of carnal punishment, you know, each other, like beating another man, you know, whipping. I mean, where does that, really, where does that come from? Where didn't it come from? Even the Jews did it to one another. They were whipping left and right at the Sanhedrin. And always did. And even the monastics that we talked about before, the Essenes, they had their punishments. I mean, it was always there. Look at the history. Look at the Old Testament. All the way through. Look at them. Jesus whipped people to death. What did you say? You know, I just, I don't know.


From our vantage point, it looks we're just somehow more civilized, at least we think we are. Well, I mean, it's not that far away, even as the practices work. Yeah, and some of us would like to go back to them. Yeah! Yeah, I guess, you know, Shinnuti seems quite a bit far from Jesus Christ in many ways. Taking all things into consideration, he's just a little extreme in his discipline. He's venerating St. Eastern Church. We and the rest never, we always remember that one he beat to death. So we didn't canonize him. But he's in a very high church, a very high St. Eastern Church. And we were saying just before class, most of the popes, the Coptic popes, are named Shinnuti.


After him. And in Cairo, there's still, they still have one, I think it's his right arm. Shinnuti, the relic of Shinnuti, one of the big... What? Still well-muscled. You know, a very, you know, he's one of the heroes of the Eastern Church. Not necessarily because he did all these things. He was very colorful. But because he was a great nationalistic leader as well as a religious leader for the Coptic, you know, community in those early formative years. That's why I say, you know, don't write him off. He certainly wasn't written off in the East. But remember the colorful, there's colorful sides to his story. Needless to say,


not only did this die out because Shinnuti was gone and they needed, you know, they needed a Shinnuti there to keep things together. But also, there weren't a lot of people drawn to this, you know. Once it was well-developed and the machine was going pretty strong, I mean, he just kept getting stricter and stricter. Towards the end, not a lot of people were joining the community. And we understand why from our perspective, you know. Who would? Not too many. If they would, they'd probably be very sick. I mean, you could start up a Shinnutian house probably in, let's say, outside of Dubuque. And within three years, you'd have 50-some applicants and they would be sick people, you know. People end up beating themselves. Lord knows, bulimics and anorexics, all joining. They wouldn't be drawn to that psychologically.


But how many would perdure? And why? If that's all they were doing. And I'm saying that isn't all Shinnuti was doing. That was just part of the exterior framework. And it would happen in other religious cultures, I would think, too. Like Zen. There were probably those Zen masters who were kind of out of their minds with their disciplining of their peoples as well. Well, and also within China, all the different groups within the martial arts center. Some of them were very, very off the wall in their disciplines. Islam as well, too. I mean, you know, the persecution of... I've not heard groups that are real severe. And the Koran. I mean, my gosh, read the Koran. Some of the stuff's pretty... Cut the man's hand off if they steal. Well, look at the Shiites. Now, there you're talking about extreme Islamics. They literally kill you


if you're known to be of the... What is that? In Illinois, there's a temple. The Baha'i. If you're Baha'i, and the Baha'is are not into anything except universal... They're like the Unitarians of the Islamic faith. And they... You're beheaded just for being Baha'i. In Iran. They've all been eradicated. The Baha'is are all... They're gone. When you get these extremes, things boil up. And unfortunately, the chattel boils up, too, I think. So some of this could very well be chattel with the Shenoudian phenomenon coming to the surface. But he did a lot. He also, for monasticism in this area, but more importantly, for the Copts. These peasants. These unlettered... What is... They're here to say? I'm all... Peasants. Oh, peasants.


Unlettered peasants. Unlettered peasants. These fellahim. Let me run through here and see if there's anything else I wanted to move, not miss. It is true that the way of life of these desert fathers could have transformed their bodies into little more than bone, sinew, and leather, and thereby rendered them virtually indestructible. But whether Shenoudy really attained Moses' advanced age must remain a moot question. Yeah, I said that. These are just things I didn't want to forget. Now, what was Shenoudy's favorite work? John Jonah.


What was his favorite work? Scriptural work. Let's not call it scriptural. Scriptural with quotations in it. The Gospel of Thomas! Of course. He was drawn to that. I just ordered a Jonah copy of the Gospel of Thomas. Yeah, I got that. Okay, let me look for these two French things. Nasty profession. Duh, duh, [...] duh. Yeah. Oh. Good. Okay.


Okay, so anything else about Shenoudy? I caught everything that I wanted to. Okay, now you can, we have it in the library, you can read Beza's Life of Shenoudy. It was one of the first volumes, I think it's number one, in fact, in the Cistercian series, Cistercian Fathers series. Beza's Life of Shenoudy. Let's see if I've got the volume here. It's number one. It is number one, isn't it? The Cistercian Studies series, excuse me. It just, I don't have it, it doesn't say. Oh no, it's number 73. It's out of print now. I tried to get my own copy but it's out of print. But it's great, it's great fun reading. So anyone who's interested in this early period, it's worth your,


it's worth your while reading the Life of Shenoudy. Could you put a like on your reserved shelf or something? Well sure, and if anyone really wants to read it, you can borrow mine, because I really don't need it now, as long as we pass it. I needed it today, but I don't need it now, you can borrow it. ...monasticism. And then we'll finish up with Basil on Saturday for those of you who can make it. I don't know if you all can make it, because that's not a normal class that you might have scheduled something away or whatever. Can all of you make it Saturday? Oh, worked out, okay. So again, bring your, bring your readers and maybe we'll open with the discussion again of Basil reading, and then we'll finish off the material. The plexiglass thing,


it's shining right now. Okay. It is within Cappadocia, so Turkey, that area of Turkey. Get out your big maps again, and you'll see that regarding early monasticism, so the monasticism, the one we looked at for Atrepe, we're really talking about one of the main centers of early monasticism, Cappadocia. See up there in big letters? And this is going to be a whole different brand of monasticism. It's going to be different from what's happening in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Syria's the most off the wall in some ways. We'll be doing Syrian too far down the line. They have lots of colorful characters and groups of characters. Basilian monasticism is the most, to us, from a Western point of view,


it would be the most recognizable today. We can look around and find monasteries and say, oh, this could be a Basilian monastery. With some exceptions, of course. Here we have a kind of monasticism that develops where the local spirituality becomes very erudite, very learned, very high quality of learning going into forming that monasticism. It isn't that the monasticism itself became a group of erudite do-nothings. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that they took into their monasticism the erudite education they had and their approach to life into forming a new type of monasticism up in that area.


Basically, they were originists out there. We aren't going to call them that anymore. We don't use that word anymore. But they're really coming from that tradition of Origen and Evagrius and John Cashin. So this is the turkey wing of that. Nice pun, eh? This is the turkey wing of the Origen phenomenon. So here, what you've got with Saint Basil of Caesarea, Caesarea or Basil the Great, the great Saint Basil, his good friend, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, and his brother, that is, Basil's brother, and Saint Gregory of Nyssa, those three are the three main Cappadocian fathers. What you get with them


is a rethinking of the whole Origen thing, that is, Origen the person, his theology, his modalities, to rethink that and then form it again and make things right, the things that went wrong or things that were attacked, gloss them over, polish them up, give them a shape, and bring it out in their own theology, in their own spiritual life. And there's a lot that comes through the writings of Basil and the Saint Gregory's. People have read any of the Cappadocians? Anyone read the Life of Moses by Gregory of Nyssa? We did it in choir last year. And you've probably read something of Basil. One thing about having our vigils is that you certainly do run into bits and snippets, no, snips and divots? What is snippets? Snippets, thank you. Snippets of these great documents of the Church. Basil isn't really boring to me.


You can get some great stuff out of it. There's this Volume 9 in the Fathers of the Church series, the Aesthetical Words. It's a great volume. Some of this stuff is wonderful, wonderful. A lot of the stuff we read is just like sermons, parts of sermons. But to read some of these treatises, like on virginity or on charity or whatever, there's just marvelous stuff in these early church forms. You can get Don Elrod weeping if you just ask him about any of the church fathers. He's just getting started and he gets tears for them. Of course, his whole life has been dedicated to the fathers. This is really the treasure of the Church, in patristic sources. All three of these were men of learning. And what develops is a new intellectual approach


to monasticism. We're not talking about fellow human here. We're talking about eggheads. Not in a pejorative sense. We're talking about real high intellectuals forming a monastic life. And very, very word-centered, scripture-centered. A lot of their approach will be an intellectual approach to the scriptures, to Lectio and the word proclaimed through their type of monasticism, which is going to develop. Yeah? Do they rehabilitate origin? Is that what you're saying? Are you rethinking it? Yeah. At base, that's what it would be. I mean, not that they didn't bring their own stuff, too. But I mean, they're real origin.


They follow that tradition. This is an after-the-hull origin-fashioning phenomenon. Well... Anti-origin. It's derning it. They just didn't call themselves that. Right, right. We're not using the word anymore. Even in the controversy, they wouldn't have said they're originists as such. That's sort of like a retrospective thing. A couple of his texts were really primary works in the early church. Very Origins, Treats of Prayer. Oh, that's beautiful. But the originists that we were talking about a little earlier, they actually were not the 11th-century, right? Well, that's debatable. See, it was very political. They grabbed on to a couple of things where origin was a bit extreme. And I don't mean cutting and mutilating itself, but even in his theology, you know, origin's


one of the most important doctrines of the church in the first five centuries. And the thing is, a lot of what went into making originism as such had nothing to do with origin or had nothing to do with theology. It had more to do with basic paranoia and political alliances and petty differences. But I mean, Basil was dead 20 years before the originists were expelled, actually expelled from the desert, Egyptian desert. So it's the same. He lives within the time that in Egypt the whole originist thing is up in the air, is going on. So it's the same time as such. And they're all using origin. We have a crisis going on


at this time also, one of the worst heresies we ever had to deal with in the history of Christianity, which was the Aryan controversy. And the Cappadocians are going to get very, very involved fighting arrogance for the church. Because of that, it becomes very, very important in the early formulation of church doctrine. You know, going through all these controversies and having to be defined by councils and fight over and having saints and theologians on both sides, you know, really brings the church to the place of having a body of doctrine, of having to articulate, well, what do we mean when we say it? And if we say that, doesn't that mean that it? So, of course, it took centuries for Basil's work,


especially Gregory and his, a lot of their work is early root dogmatic work for the church in order to fight off this whole Aryan thing that's going on. What was Arianism? What was Arianism? Oh, that's, okay. For your homework, I didn't know. I don't want to get into Arianism. I'll look it up. Yeah, look it up. Look it up and put Arianism into five sentences. And that's what we'll start with next time. Okay. I'd rather you could just also do it. You don't get it. You don't get it.