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Publisher's Summary

These are the words or sayings (Apophthegmata), of various monks (the abbas, i.e. fathers) who lived in the deserts of Egypt between 250 A.D. and 400 A.D. They cover topics such as love, poverty, fasting, humility, and prayer, and there is usually a short story that gives the context of the sayings. These sayings are one of the few surviving records of the first monks such as St. Anthony the Great and St. Pachomius, who followed a strict way of life that usually consisted of plaiting baskets from palms leaves, singing psalms and rarely eating while living in the harsh Scete desert of Egypt.

Their sole aim was to draw closer to God through their labours. Their sayings became a classic throughout the Eastern and Western Christian world, and are still regularly read in monasteries at mealtimes. This volume is made up of two books of sayings, as well as an appendix of questions posed by desert monks to their spiritual fathers.

©2016 London: Chatto & Windus (P)2021 Steven Burger

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