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By Conrad Leyser

Whilst barbarians invaded the Roman Empire within the years round four hundred advert, Christian priests concealed of their cloisters--or so it is usually assumed. Conrad Leyser indicates that clergymen within the early medieval West have been, in reality, pioneers within the production of a brand new language of ethical authority. He describes the making of this practice over centuries from St. Augustine to St. Benedict and Gregory the nice.

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Extra info for Authority and Asceticism from Augustine to Gregory the Great (Oxford Historical Monographs)

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Jahrhundert (Bonn, ); R. Mathisen, Ecclesiastical Factionalism in Fifth-Century Gaul (Washington, DC, ); C. ), The Limits of Ancient Christianity, –. , ‘Barbari, senso della fine e teologia politica: Su un passo del De contemptu mundi di Eucherio di Lione’, Romano Barbarica  (), –. 5 On otium, see J. M. André, L’otium dans la vie morale et intellectuelle romaine (Paris, ); Matthews, Western Aristocracies, –; and on its possible Christian adaptation, J. Fontaine, ‘Valeurs antiques et valeurs chrétiennes dans la spiritualité des grands propriétaires terriens à la fin du IVe siècle occidental’, in J.

13 Cassian’s first appearance in the historical record is as a loyal disciple of John Chrysostom at the moment of his deposition as bishop of Constantinople in : see Palladius (above, n. ). Over twenty-five years later, Cassian himself explicitly acknowledged his discipleship to Chrysostom in his condemnation of his master’s successor as patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius. See De Inc. . . -A. Vannier, ‘L’influence de Jean Chrysostome sur l’argumentation scriptuaire du De Incarnatione domini de Jean Cassien’, RSR  (), –.

The consternation apparently caused by the arrival of the treatises at the monastery and in North Africa and across the Mediterranean in southern Gaul would seem to give some historical warrant to the instinctive distaste for these late treatises experienced by Augustine’s modern readers. In tracing the reception of these texts, however, we ought not to assume that Augustine’s own mood was one of unremitting disappointment. The very absence of moral expectation on those in power could in fact represent a source of liberation.

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