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Siegal, Michal Bar-Asher
Early Christian Monastic Literature and the Babylonian Talmud.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2014. 242 S. Geb. £ 64,99. ISBN 978-1-107-02301-7.
Apart from the old hypotheses about a possible Jewish background for the rise of Christian monasticism, whether the so called Qumran community or the »Therapeutae« of Philo of Alexandria, studies of Christian monasticism and studies of Jewish religious life in late antiquity very rarely touch upon one another. The image of Jewish culture in the late Persian empire does for example not at all fit prevalent ideas about early Syrian monasticism as radically ascetic and anti-social. What connection could there for example be between the monks described by Theodoret of Cyrrhus in his Historia religiosa and the lives of the people producing the Babylonian Talmud? In her thought provoking study Michal Bar-Asher Siegal suggests that there is more here than we are used to think.
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