The Betä Ǝsraʾel (Ethiopian Jews) have a unique history and religious tradition, one of the most fascinating aspects of which are the mäloksočč, commonly referred to as monks in scholarly and popular literature. The mäloksočč served as the supreme religious leaders of the Betä Ǝsraʾel and were charged with educating and initiating Betä Ǝsraʾel priests. They lived in separate compounds and observed severe purity laws prohibiting physical contact with the laity. Thus, they are the only known example in medieval and modern Jewry of ascetic communities withdrawing from the secular world and devoting themselves fully to religious life.
This book presents the results of the first comprehensive research ever conducted on the way of life and material culture of the ascetic religious communities of the Betä Ǝsraʾel. A major part of this research is an archaeological survey, during which these religious centres were located and documented in detail for the first time.
Introduction: What Is Betä Ǝsraʾel (Ethiopian Jewish) Monasticism?
Chapter 1. The Roles and Practices of Betä Ǝsraʾel Monks
Chapter 2. Betä Ǝsraʾel Monasteries: General Characteristics
Chapter 3. Hoḫʷärwa – The First Betä Ǝsraʾel Monastery
Chapter 4. The Monasteries of the Səmen Mountains and Wägära
Chapter 5. The Monasteries of Dämbəya and Säqqält
Chapter 6. Betä Ǝsraʾel Monasticism and Ethiopian Orthodox (Christian) Monasticism: Shared Heritage, Different Concepts