Holy Man versus Monk—Village and Monastery in the Late Antique Levant: Between Hagiography and Archaeology

In this essay I set out to offer a new interpretation of rural monasticism in Late Antiquity. The commonsensical understanding of the monk is of a holy man who played a key role in shaping the rural landscapes of Late Antique Levant. I want to suggest a distinction between the holy man, usually presented as a living saint in hagiographic literature, and the monk, who was a product of rural society and an integral part of the human landscape in the countryside. As a result, I offer a fresh look at monasticism as an organic component of the rural landscape and at the rural monk as a domestic villager rather than a revered role model for society.

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