Covenant with God and the Making of the Early Christian Monasticism

Starting from the second part of the 3rd century A.D., a wide range of sources testifies to individual covenants which Christian ascetics or ascetic communities made with God. As it seems, at least three independent covenant traditions existed in Upper and Lower Egypt as well as in Syria/Mesopotamia. The function of those covenants was to provide theological basis for proto-monastic and early monastic groups appearing in those regions. Thus, the ascetic covenant theology seems to be one of the central ideas of the early monastic movement in its two most important centers — Syria and Egypt. Despite possible tensions with early Christian understanding of Church as New Israel being in a New Covenant with God, we do not have evidence that ascetic covenanters were opposing themselves to the Church. The rise of the covenant theology might have had to do with the so-called crisis of the 3rd century. Refs 66.

Bumazhnov_Covenant with God and the Making of the Early Christian Monasticism