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Texts, Practices, and Embodied Experiences: Religious Experience in the White Monastery of 4th Century Upper Egypt
This research aims to identify and analyze influences on the religious experience within Upper Egypt’s White Monastery, primarily as found within Apa Shenoute’s Monastic Rules, which may be applicable to the larger landscape of the 4th-century monastic federation. Particular focus is given to examining the relationship between experience and texts, as well as religious practice and embodied experiences in the context of prayer, ritual, societal structure, and cognitive and sensory experiences evident within Shenoute’s canons, as these contribute to what is a unique moment in the development of cenobitic monasticism and that generation of religious commitment and ideas in late antiquity. Potential parallels and influences from groups in the late antique Mediterranean world outside of Coptic Egypt are also considered, including sources from the Dead Sea Scrolls corpus, Greco-Roman voluntary associations, and Late and Ptolemaic Period Egyptian animal cults. Ultimately, this research provides a contextual and multifaceted view of 4th-century Egyptian religious practice, Coptic written tradition, and cenobitic monasticism.
Religious Studies/Theology
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