The compilation and dissemination of “The Life of Antony”

William C. Gruen, University of Pennsylvania


Despite the massive amounts of scholarship on the topic, the scholarly community is still deeply divided on most questions pertaining to the fourth century hagiography, The Life of Antony. Two of these questions, “Which extant linguistic tradition reflects the oldest reading?” and “Under what circumstances (and by whom) was the document written?” can be better understood by examining the use of ethnic and religious identifiers in The Life. What the equivalent terms “Greek” and “Egyptian” mean in the different linguistic traditions and how they are used in the context of the narrative can be used to determine if the work has been translated to a different cultural setting in a different language. Having determined the oldest extant form of the work (the Greek version), I then offer a synthesis which reconstructs how these oldest readings were aimed at a monastic community in the vicinity of Alexandria by the most renowned bishop of that city, Athanasius, and then translated and disseminated around the empire.

Subject Area

Religious history|Ancient civilizations|Classical studies

Recommended Citation

Gruen, William C., "The compilation and dissemination of “The Life of Antony”" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3165686.