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Bibil Identifier bibil:223114
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) Child Sacrifice in Egyptian Monastic Culture: From Familial Renunciation to Jephthah's Lost Daughter
Author Schroeder, Caroline T.
Journal Journal of Early Christian Studies (Volume: 20, Issue: 2)
Year (Publication) 2012
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2012
Year (Copyright) 2012
Year (Reference) 2012
Language English
Pages 269-302 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract The Apophthegmata Patrum tells the story of a man who, wishing to join a monastery, reenacts Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac by proceeding to throw his son in the Nile River on the command of the monastic father. Like Isaac, the boy is spared. This account of extreme familial renunciation in the service of the ascetic life is not the only account of a child killing or attempted killing in monastic literature. Nor does the biblical prefigurement of ascetic renunciation exhaust these narratives' significance. This essay examines accounts of child killings in Egyptian monastic culture through the lens of various textual and visual sources: the Greek Apophthegmata Patrum, paintings of the sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter and the averted sacrifice of Isaac at the monasteries of Saint Antony on the Red Sea and Saint Catherine at Sinai, and exegesis of the same biblical narratives in the writings of the Egyptian monk Shenoute and other ascetic authors. What we will see is that powerful moments or rituals of transition and transformation accompany these stories. Thus the textual and visual representations of these killings or attempted killings are theologically, politically, and even socially generative. They reaffirm priestly authority and theological orthodoxy in the monasteries at the same time as they invite male monks to identify with both male and female exemplars. As these paintings and texts reveal, child sacrifice in monastic culture represented not merely an ascetic injunction to abandon family, but, perhaps more radically, an ascetic reproduction of monastic community and genealogy.
DOI DOI:10.1353/earl.2012.0010
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Themes : Asceticism
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Near East : Egypt : History and Civilization : Roman Period : Coptic Culture
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Ancient Christian Literature : Texts and Authors (Church Fathers) : Texts and Authors : Apophtegms of the Desert Fathers
Thesaurus BiBIL : Unbound Keywords : Human Sacrifice
Thesaurus BiBIL : Unbound Keywords : Iconography
Thesaurus BiBIL : Bible (as a whole) : History of Interpretation and Reception : Important Persons : Antiquity (-> 7th cent.)
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Ancient Christian Literature : Texts and Authors (Church Fathers) : Texts and Authors : Shenoute
Pericopes Genesis 22,1-22,19
Judges 11,34-11,40
Last modification 2017-10-27