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p. 41. Definitionslocked

  • Stephen J. Davis


The word ‘monasticism’ derives from the Greek adjectives monos (‘solitary, alone’), or its cognate monachos (‘solitary, deserted’). The first evidence for the use of monachos to refer to a Christian monk comes from an Egyptian papyrus dated to June 324 ce. ‘Definitions’ considers the terms monastic, apotactite, anchorite, cenobite, and ascetic that have been used throughout history, which capture five important characteristics relevant to our understanding of monasticism as it developed in the Greek-speaking world of early Christianity: solitude, the status of being set apart, withdrawal, community, and discipline. It also discusses the history of Buddhist monasticism in India with reference to the Vinaya Piṭaka, part of the Buddhist scriptural canon.

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