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The Desert a City: An Introduction to the Study of Egyptian and Palestian Monasticism Under the Christian Empire
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The Desert a City: An Introduction to the Study of Egyptian and Palestian Monasticism Under the Christian Empire

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1 Rating  ·  0 Reviews
A classic study of early Christian monasticsm. Combines detailed scholarship with vivid writing in its description of the golden age of Egyptian monasticism and its founders. It follows the development of monastic life to the end of the fourth century. Includes an account of the monastic history of Mount Sinai.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press (first published July 15th 1977)
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Adam
Apr 29, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
A small but dense overview of the beginnings of Christian monasticism in Egypt through the relative end of that era in the sixth century. Chitty's wife, Mary, acknowledges the unfinished and unpolished nature of the work, noting that her husband died unexpectedly before it could be finished. However, there are ample reasons why this book has served for decades as a foundational text for those interested in the history, lives, and experiences of the early Christian monastics, ecclesiastics, and ...more
[Name Redacted]
First impression: a quick, engaging read. Or it would be if not for the excessive use of endnotes! 200+ for a 19 page chapter? Unnecessary.

Second impression: his way of transliterating some common words (from Greek or Coptic or Latin into English) is perplexing, and I've had to stop and read them out loud several different times before realizing what he meant.

Third impression: There's no question that Chitty knows his material, but he has a difficult time deciding between scholarly objectivity a
...more
Dave O'Neal
Mar 19, 2009 Dave O'Neal rated it really liked it
Brings the odd figures of early Christian monasticism to life: Pachomius, Antony, etc., and sets them in historical and geographic relation to each other. They were indeed real people rather than the mythic figures they seem to be when you read about them in the various Desert Fathers collections. This is based on Chitty's lectures, which gives it a readable, conversational tone you don't often get in books on this subject. My copy's falling apart and held together with rubber bands...
Amos Smith
Sep 23, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing
This an academic yet passionate account of the Egyptian Desert and surrounding areas between the third and fifth century, when the desert became a city of monasteries. James Chitty has spent extended time in the deserts that he writes about, doing archaeological exploration. This time period and geography were the birth place of Christian monasticism. And here is an account of that period written by a native! -Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide)
Steve
Oct 06, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: church-history
I enjoyed this book. However, to be honest, the manuscript is not complete. The author was attempting to turn a series of lectures into a book when he passed away. His widow had the lectures published. A good editor should have been assigned to clean it up into a publishable book. Still it an interesting glimpse into the early years of the monastic movement.
Pat Loughery
Dec 25, 2010 Pat Loughery rated it really liked it
Re reading this to give me a sense of early Christian monastic development
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