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Desert Fathers: Early Christian Monks

Desert Fathers: Early Christian Monks


The escape of these men to the desert was not because of a purely individualistic character. They did not rebel against society. It is true that they were to some extent "anarchist," and it would be wrong to consider them in this light. They were men who did not believe to be monitored and controlled passively by a decaying state, and who believed in the existence of life not linked to the submissive acceptance of conventional values. The Desert Fathers themselves refused to be controlled but had no desire to command. “Two hermits lived together for many years without a quarrel. One said to the other, ‘Let’s have a quarrel with each other, as is the way of men.’ The other answered, ‘I don’t know how a quarrel happens.’ The first said, ‘Look here, I put a brick between us, and I say, That’s mine. Then you say, No, it’s mine. That is how you begin a quarrel.’ So they put a brick between them, and one of them said, ‘That’s mine.’ The other said, ‘No; it’s mine.’ He answered, ‘Yes, it’s yours. Take it away.’ They were unable to argue with each other.” ? Benedicta Ward, The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks

[1] Axial Man/Axial Age: The Axial Age or Axial Period, as it's sometimes called, was the period of antiquity circa 800 B.C. to 200 B.C. characterized by human thought directed toward understanding man’s place in the world.


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