Introduction to Early Monasticism

This undergraduate unit introduces students to the historical context of an important movement in church history that continued to shape Christian spirituality and theology, particularly in the Christian East until present. The unit will look at monastic origins and motivations, monastic settlements and their ways of life, key monastic figures who helped shape monastic spirituality, monastic text and archaeological sites in light of its historical context and monastic spirituality.

Study Level



Humanities in the Christian Tradition

Sub Discipline

Church History

Credit Points




Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Trace the major elements of the cultural background that gave rise to the monastic movement
  2. Explain the role of various monastic settlements, figures, texts, and spiritual teachings in shaping the monastic movement in the first seven centuries.
  3. Engage with primary sources in light of their historical context
  4. Utilise a broad and coherent number of secondary sources that deal with early monasticism
  5. Apply knowledge and skills in diverse aspects of monastic spirituality in personal and contemporary parish life.
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