Blazing Walls, Blazing Brothers: Monks and the Making of the Demon in the Pachomian Koinonia
Blazing Walls, Blazing Brothers:Monks and the Making of the Demon in the Pachomian KoinoniaSidney Robert Banks, Jr., Ph.D.Director: Philip Rousseau, D.Phil. This dissertation contributes to the study of late antique demonology and the development of Christian monasticism in fourth century Egypt. In particular, I explore the relationship between the development of the Pachomian Koinonia and the belief its members held about demons. While there has been no previous publication devoted to this relationship, David Brakke has included a chapter on Pachomian demonology in his book Demons and the Making of the Monk: Spiritual Combat in Early Christianity. I differ with Brakke in two general ways. First, I place greater emphasis upon the fact that demons in Late Antique Egypt were not only threats to a person's thoughts, but also to physical bodies. Second, I place greater emphasis upon what communal life added to a monk's struggle against demonic attacks both upon his body and upon his mind. In order to carry out this task, I have made a close examination of Coptic, Greek, and Latin Pachomian texts, clearly identified in the first chapter. I have also made an analysis of other texts to place the Pachomian material in the wider cultural context of fourth century Egypt. Using this material, I describe what demons were believed to be and what they were believed to be capable of doing by people living in that time and place. I then explore what role communal life played in the Pachomian attempt to resist the demons.I conclude that the communal life shared by the Pachomian monks was a source of protection against demonic attack. In the third chapter, I show that the presence of experienced monks protected the less experienced from violent demonic attack. In the fourth chapter, I show that communal life also protected the monk from demonic assaults upon his thoughts.
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