Stoic Monasteries, request for help!


Stoic communities have been an interest of mine, and I came across this reference that ‘monasteries’ were firstly a Stoic development. I chased down the following lineage of this info, but ran into a wall. If anyone is interested, please feel free to help.

Dr. Olson, in her book “Daily life in a Medieval Monastery” makes this claim:dllm

“Monasterium is the Latinized version of a Greek word (monos, alone; monachos, one who dwells alone, whence the word “monk”) that was coined by pre-Christian Stoic philosophers to denote a place set apart where the lover of wisdom could retreat from worldly distractions to study and meditate.”

But, there was no source. So I wrote her, and she referred me to her immediate source for that statement that was Maxwell Staniforth’s introduction to his translation of Marcus Aurelius’ ‘Meditations’ (Penguin Classics, translation first published 1964), p. 26, which reads:

“A notable Stoic contribution, too, to the manners of the Church, and one which has had a lasting influence, was the practice of asceticism. Christians who desired to follow counsels of perfection took the Stoic sage and his way of life as their formal exemplar. The coarse garment, the untrimmed locks and beard, were adopted as the badges of aspiration to sanctity. Just as the Stoic professor was accustomed to withdraw from society and meditate in solitude, his Christina imitators not only followed his example but appropriated his terminology. In the Stoic vocabulary one who went into retreat was an ‘anchorite’; one who practiced self-discipline was an ‘ascetic’, those who lived apart from their fellows were ‘monachi’, and the place of their retreat was a ‘monasterium’. Each of these borrowed expressions has retained its place and significance in the language of the Church to this day.”

But there the trail ends, as that is also not cited. So, any further help would be awesome. Anyone feel like doing some sleuthing?

This is from another thread in our BookFace Group:

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