In Search of the Desert: New Observations on the Late-Medieval Revival of the Eremitic Life
54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, May 9 – 12, 2019
Deadline: Oct 15, 2018
Organizers: Denva Gallant (University of Delaware) and Amelia Hope-Jones (University of Edinburgh)
In the third and fourth centuries AD, the barren deserts of Egypt, Syria and Palestine witnessed the birth of Christian monastic life among saints who came to be known as the Desert Fathers. The heroic self-discipline and devoted ascetic endeavors of St Antony the Abbot, St Paul of Thebes and St Macarius, among others, became emblematic of an original and authentic form of the religious life. This eremitic tradition, transmitted to the west through hagiography and ascetic literature, exerted a profound influence over the formation of western monastic life in the fifth and sixth centuries, and continued to function as an ideological authority well into the late medieval period and beyond.