MSCP 80500 Foundations of Monasticism  W, 4:15-6:15pm, Room TBA, Prof. Jennifer Ball, 3 credits. Cross listed with ART 83000 & HIST 70800
This course will explore the beginnings of Christian monasticism in Egypt and Palestine and the later divisions into Western monastic orders and early Byzantine foundations. The course will be arranged both geographically, as well as by the various types of monasticism practiced (hermetic, coenobitic, etc.). Texts, especially early monastic rules and saints’ lives, alongside architectural and archaeological remains will be used to piece together the everyday life and development of these communities, and their relationship with the secular world around them, which was sometimes fraught with tension. Special attention will be paid to issues of gender and sexuality, as groups ranged from those based on sexual renunciation to communities in which entire families took up the monastic life. The body as a site of monastic practice is of special interest to me. Additionally, the involvement of monasteries in cultural production will be examined, as monastics were generally literate and often housed scriptoria, textile producing workshops or artist workshops of other kinds.
THE FOLLOWING COURSES WILL FULFILL PROGRAM REQUIRMENTS: