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  • 13Monsticism in Erly IslmicPlestine: Contours of Dete*

    Dniel Reynolds(Cetre fr Byzatie, ttma ad der reek Studies, iversity f

    Birmigham, )

    13.1 Context nd Critiqueuest remais a redmiat theme i debates abut early slamic Pales-tie.1 This fcus is artially idebted t the ctiuig aeal f Christia* wuld rst ad fremst like t thak the Arts ad umaities Research Cucil

    fr their geerus surt f my dctral research frm which this discussi artlyderives. y gratitude ges t Prf. Rbert ylad ad Dr arie egedre frallwig me t articiate i the rudtable where these ideas were rst reseted.Prf. eslie Brubaker s surt ad cmmets thrughut my research have rvedivaluable. All faults are aturally my w, but this article wes its existece t hercstat ecuragemet ad guidace. y fried ad clleague Rebecca Darley alsvaliatly read the etire article t esure its clarity. astly, wuld like t thakRbert ylad fr his cmmets a earlier (ad much cruder) versi f thisarticle. is cmmets ad suggestis eabled me t achieve a sese f clarity adhave bee istrumetal i rducig a much mre cheret article.

    1 r the urses f this discussi aalysis will be limited rimarily t sites i theTertia ad Arabia, the area w cmrisig mder srael, the Palestiia territries,rda, suther eba ad the Siai Peisula.regi which frmerly cmrised the Byzatie rvices f PalDestia Prima, Secuda,

    The trajectory f Palestiia Christia cmmuities fllwig the Arab c-

  • 33 Daniel Reynolds

    a 13.1: a f Palaestina and Arabia

  • Monasticism in Early Islamic Palestine 33

    cult buildigs t archaelgists ad architectural histrias sice the rstrelimiary surveys i the regi i the late ieteeth cetury.2 deed,csistet emhasis the excavati f church basilicas ad, ccasially(thugh less systematically), their auxiliary structures, has facilitated theaccumulati f a substatial material crus, which yields evidece frChristia life i the regi ver the curse f the rst milleium. A seriesf well ublished msaic schemes cmmissied after the Arab cuest atmm al-Rasas, adaba, Ramt ad Dayr Ay Abata, has further stim-ulated this iterest ad rved itrisic t the mre recet recgiti fChristia ctiuities thrughut the durati f mayyad rule.3

    asticism has received less atteti as a cmet f this braderst-Byzatie evirmet, desite a arallel iterest i the excavatiad survey f sites as a established academic eld i Byzatie studieswhich has rduced several widely circulated mgrahs.4 rever, urreset uderstadig f the hysical characteristics f the mastic lad-scae is iadeuately deed i terms f the umber ad relative wealth fsites extat by 3. The sectral resece f the Sasaia ccuati (ca.

    2 ailh, Sime. es mastres de la Palestie, Bessarione 3 (19-9), 39-, 209-

    tire alhabtiue des mastres de Palestie [2 ad 3], Revue de lOrient Chrtien3

    efaa i irdaia (19-1991), Liber Annuus 41 (1991), 32-4; idem. saiciDel Cmless Di Sat Stefa, i ichele Piccirill ad ugei Alliata, eds., Ummal-Rasas Mayfaah I. Gli Scavi del Complesso Di Santo Stefano (erusalem: StudiumBiblicum raciscum, 1994), 121-4; Di Segi, eah. The Date f the Church fad Ams ler. A ighth-Cetury astery ear erusalem, Liber Annuus40 (1990), 313-20. r Deir Ai Abata, see Plitis, statis D. xcavatisat Deir Ai Abata 1991, Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 3(1992), 23, ad idem. The astery f Aghis t at Deir Ai Abata i rda,i Daim alk ad erg Drauschke, eds., Byzanz - Das Rmerreich im Mittelalter(aiz: erlag des Rmisch-ermaische Zetralmuseums, 2011), 10-11.

    4of Egyptian and Palestinian Monasticism Under the Christian Empire. xfrd: Stladimirs Semiary Press, 19; Bis, h. Ascetics and Ambassadors of Christ.The Monasteries of Palestine 314-631. xfrd: Clared Press, 1994; irschfeld,Yale iversity Press, 1992.

    2, 334-; Bessarione 4 (19-99), 193-210; idem. Rertire alhabtiue desmastres de Palestie [1], Revue de lOrient Chrtien 4 (199), 12-42; idem. Rer- (1900), 19-4, 22-92.

    14-2), i articular, lms large ver iterretatis f masticism

    See Piccirill, ichele. l Cmless di Sat Stefa a mm alRasas astr

    the irgi at adaba, Liber Annuus 42 (1992), 21-; Arav, Rami, eah Di Segi

    See fr examle Chitty, Derwas. The Desert a City. An Introduction to the Study

    Yizhar. The Judean Desert Monasteries in the Byzantine Period. ew aved:

    The justification seems to have failed here.

  • 33 Daniel Reynolds

    dislcati, desite mre revisiist araches t the erid i cectiwith urba ad ecmic ifrastructures.

    ually challegig are mre cetral uestis f established masticscial rles by the seveth cetury: the rigis ad idetities f rimarymastic atrs, ad the assciati f masteries with istitutialstructures ad the lcal scial etwrks i which they fuctied. Cur-sry bservatis f the cre studies which uderi assessmets f regialmastic develmets i the Byzatie erid (ca. 330-3) reveal heavyreliace a reertire f hagigrahical materials which have rved fr-mative t subseuet assessmets f mastic life i the re-slamic erid.The diversity ad extet f the archaelgical material has yet t rmtmre eergetic uestiig f the use ad value f the literary crus as aadeuate reecti f mastic scial cveti i Palestie, r its asscia-ti with brader sci-ecmic framewrks, at the clse f the Byzatieerid (ca. 3).

    This distictive characteristic searates critical araches t Pales-tiia masticism frm cuterarts i gyt ad Syria. ere, mreitegrated araches t the archaelgical, literary ad ayrlgical ma-terial have ctributed t the systematic dismatlig f the mastic imagerjected thrugh hagigrahical mdels ad have geerated further aware-ess f a mre cmlex scial itegrati f mastic gures ad cmmu-ities by the mid-sixth cetury. Studets f Byzatie gyt are mrefrtuate tha thse wh wrk Palestiia euivalets i this resect: r examles f this emerget tred f addressig the chrlgical aws f earlier

    excavatis see agess, di. A Re-examiati f the Archaelgical videce frthe Sasaia Persia Destructi f the Tyre alley, Bulletin of the AmericanSchools of Oriental Research 29 (1992), -4; agess, di. The Archaeology ofEarly Islamic Settlement in Palestine. ia ake, : isebraus, 2003; Avi,ide. The Persia Cuest f erusalem (14 C.) A Archaelgical Assess-met, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research 3 (2010), 3-4.

    ehrig, ames. Ascetics, Society and the Desert. Studies in Early Egyptian Monasti-cism. arrisburg, PA: TT Clark, 1999, 39-2; Bagall, Rger. ks ad Prerty.Rhetric, aw ad Patrage i the Ahthegmata Patrum ad the Payri, Greek,Roman and Byzantine Studies 42 (2001), -24; Richter, Ti Sebastia. The Culti-vati f astic states i ate Atiue ad arly slamic gyt. Sme videcefrm Ctic ad eases ad Related Dcumets, i Ae Budhrs, ames Clack-s, Catherie uis ad Petra Sijesteij, eds., Monastic Estates in Late Antiqueand Early Islamic Egypt. Ostraca, Papyri and Essays in Memory of Sarah Clackson(Ciciati, : The America Sciety f Paylgists, 2009), 201-1.

    in this erid. t is used t assert a arrative f drastic scial ad ecmic

  • Monasticism in Early Islamic Palestine 339

    frtuate i terms f the uatity f material which cuters hagigrahi-cal rjectis ad frtuate i terms f its diversity, which eables fullerrecgiti f the cmlexity f mastic scial trasactis. Palestielacks a similarly sizeable bdy f ayrlgical material which wuld easilyfacilitate a cmarative critical revluti.

    etheless, Palestie is t lackig material reective f a similar cm-lexity t that s well illumiated i ctemraeus gyt. The cleri-cal archives f Petra ad essaa, well ublished, but by meas fullyexlited, are tw such dssiers which evke the uid iterlay betweemasteries ad lcal sci-ecmic framewrks: uidities which cti-ued beyd the Arab cuest ad which rvide the key t uderstadigthe survival f mastic cmmuities beyd 00. hat distiguishes a-raches t Palestiia masticism frm thse twards gyt is the lackf itegrati f this wider material reertire f eigrahy ad ayri itsythetic regial surveys, a reertire that may challege r mdify exist-ig iterretive araches t re-cuest Palestiia mastic life. Thishas led t a smewhat abrasive c-existece betwee the mastic imagerjected thrugh hagigrahy (which ifrms the mst accessible studies)ad that which emerges frm surces exteral t the hagigrahical visi,which rvide alterative, but csistetly verlked, ersectives thisevirmet.

    These divisis have udubtedly bee fstered by the curret lack f aitegrated regial sythesis f archaelgical material which wuld makesuch ctradictis mre acutely aaret ad wuld exse their atag-ism t revailig aalytical mdels. Tw distict ad visibly segregatedgrus f rimary material have thus emerged: the rst cmrised f ma-terial relatig t the hagigrahical crus f the udea Desert ad itsassciated tgrahy, ad ather, which icrrates the brad sec-trum f archaelgical, eigrahic ad literary material relatig t sites ithe remaiig regis f Byzatie Palaestia ad Arabia.

    a recet aalysis f Christia cmmuities arud the ith cetury,ichael cCrmicks study, based the Commemoratorium de Casis Dei,

    rs, aakk, Atti Arjava ad arj ehtie, eds. Petra Papyri I. AmericaCetre f rietal Research Publicatis, . 4. Amma: America Cetre frietal Research, 2002 (P. Petra); raemer, Caser . Excavations at Nessana 3.Non-Literary Papyri. Pricet: Pricet iversity Press, 19, (P. Clt).

  • 340 Daniel Reynolds

    illustrates the rblems f t addressig such discreacies. tably, c-Crmicks accetace that Palestiia masticism was characterised by itsvertly extra-regial character esured that his subseuet exlaatisfr a st-Byzatie declie reiterated the largely usubstatiated -ti that such rcesses may be crrelated with the ge-litical shifts fthe seveth cetury ad the dimiishig level f atr exchage frm theediterraea which (stesibly) esued.9 Such a mdel cat, hwever,icrrate sites which d t aear t have maitaied such extesiveatr cectis, f which there are several ad which are fte ivis-ible withi the textual sce f surces such as the Commemoratorium.The astery f Aar lcated abal r, r the Sergis-Bakkhsmastery f essaa, are tw such cmmuities ivisible i the hagi-grahical material but where a mre


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