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These pioneering lives are central sources for the major Christian monastic figures from St. Anthony, who died in 356, to St. Benedict (c. 480-c. 547). Shedding light on the men who were the founding fathers of monasticism in both the eastern and western areas of the Roman Empire, these accounts -- Athanasius's Life of Antony; St. Jerome's Life of Paul of Thebes, Life of Hilarion, and Life of Malchus; Sulpicius Severus's Life of Martin of Tours; and Pope Gregory the Great's Life of Benedict -- also illuminate the beliefs and values of their celebrated authors. Full of vivid incidents and astonishing miracles, all these works proved hugely popular and influential, and also inspired much of the visual imagery of the Middle Ages.
Written between the mid-fourth and late sixth centuries to commemorate and glorify the achievements of early Christian saints, these six biographies depict men who devoted themselves to solitude, poverty and prayer. Athanasius records Antony's extreme seclusion in the Egyptian desert, despite temptation by the devil and visits from his followers. Jerome also shows those who fled persecution or withdrew from society to pursue lives of chastity and asceticism in his accounts of Paul of Thebes, Hilarion and Malchus. In his Life of Martin, Sulpicius Severus describes the achievements of a man who combined the roles of monk, bishop and missionary, while Gregory the Great tells of Benedict, whose Rule became the template for monastic life. Full of vivid incidents and astonishing miracles, these Lives have provided inspiration as models for centuries of Christian worship.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Carolinne White divides her time between research projects and tutoring in patristic and medieval Latin at Oxford University. She has worked on the supplement to the Liddell and Scott Greek Lexicon and the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources and has published a translation of the correspondence between St Jerome and St Augustine of Hippo (1990) alongside other work.