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Date of Award

7-13-2004

Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology

Department

School of Theology • Seminary

First Advisor

Columba Stewart OSB

Abstract

This paper offers and introductory approach to understanding better the spirituality of Christian monks living in the Egyptian desert during the fourth century. Its primary focus is the identification and analysis of the role of fear as a potentially positive emotive catalyst for the withdrawal and subsequent asceticism practiced by these monks. Specifically, this study traces the spiritual stages of development in the lives of desert fathers and mothers as they evolve from an initial fear of an imminent and eternal judgment to a final realization of a present and pervasive divine love. This transformative process serves to clarify the vital and favorable part fear can play in spiritual progress.

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