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Renouncing the World Yet Leading the Church: The Monk-Bishop in Late Antiquity
by Andrea Sterk
Although an ascetic ideal of leadership had both classical and biblical roots, it found particularly fertile soil in the monastic fervor of the fourth through sixth centuries. Church officials were increasingly recruited from monastic communities, and the monk-bishop became the dominant model of ecclesiastical leadership in the Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantium. In an int ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published February 27th 2004 by Harvard University Press
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The book was interesting but I didn't learn a lot new from it. Monasticism early on became a powerhouse within Christianity. Though its original goal was to flee the imperial church, eventually monasticism was incorporated into the church, subordinated to the bishops and then became the source for the episcopal leadership of a hierarchical church. Though the Orthodox Patrisitic writers and bishops of that era often praised the monks, it is also true that the monks especially in the Christian Eas ...more
Mar 03, 2014 James rated it 4 of 5 stars
A solid introduction to the evolving thoughts on Christian leadership during the fourth century. Each chapter or two chapters focuses on a particular thinker (ch. 2-3 is on Basil, ch. 4 on Nyssa, ch. 5 on Nazianzus, etc.) and analyzes his influences, writings, and actions to discern how that individual conceived of Christian leadership. This primarily focuses on the bishop, but also on the monastic and, in particular, on how the ascesis of the monastery came to influence the vision of episcopacy ...more
Andrea Sterk’s Renouncing the World Yet Leading the Church profiles fourth-century monk-bishops in the Eastern Roman Empire, paying particular attention to their unique qualifications and their struggles between a life of contemplation and a life of service. Sterk’s argument for the suitability of monk-bishops is well-stated and easy to follow, but it suffers from a lack of diversity of sources.