Egypt is revered as the home of the famous Desert Ascetics, who first embraced a monastic life and established homosocial communities on the borders of their urban centres in the Nile Valley. Regarded as angels and warriors, the wisdom of the Desert Ascetics formed part of the oral and literary tradition of wonder-working saints whose commitment to asceticism was legendary and inspirational. This book grounds the mythologized stories of Desert Ascetics in the materiality of the desert, demonstrating the closeness of the desert, the connections between non-monastic and monastic communities, and the exciting insights into lived monasticism through the archaeology of monasticism in Egypt.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Desert Ascetics as Early Christian Celebrities
Chapter 3: What Did the Desert Ascetics Teach and How Did They Live?
Chapter 4: The Problem of a Saintly Reputation: Antony and Athanasius
Chapter 5: Other Desert Ascetics and Other Sources
Chapter 6: Grounding the Desert Ascetics in Archaeology
Chapter 7: Archaeology of Place: Where Desert Ascetics Lived
Chapter 8: Monastic Archaeology and Monastic Things
Chapter 9: Conclusion: Reassembling the History of Desert Ascetics