Asserting authority: Power structures and self-care in the "Apophthegmata Patrum"

Zachary Bill Smith, Fordham University


The composition of the Apophthegmata Patrum (AP) has long puzzled scholars. This dissertation argues that the compiler of the Greek alphabetic AP produced his text in part to give monks an authority system based on Greco-Roman philosophical self-care, providing an alternative to episcopal control. Examining character presentations in the AP alongside other texts by or about monks establishes the AP compiler's skeptical viewpoint on the power dynamics between monks and bishops. Next, the dissertation examines Greco-Roman philosophical and religious sources to uncover the late antique intellectual milieu of self-care. Finally, it reads the AP in this context to demonstrate how the compiler wrote self-care into the text as an alternative to episcopal authority.^

Subject Area

Religion|Religious history|Theology

Recommended Citation

Smith, Zachary Bill, "Asserting authority: Power structures and self-care in the "Apophthegmata Patrum"" (2015). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3715011.