Sheepskins, hair shirts and tunics of palm leaves
Charismatic authority and monastic clothing in Egypt in Late Antiquity
The theme is how authority is expressed in monastic clothes in late antiquity. The hypothesis is that different types of monastic garments speak to different types of authority, and that garments especially associated with charismatic authority came under scrutiny and criticism. The point of departure is Claudia Rapp’s tripartite explanatory model, which she uses to discuss the changing dynamics of authority in relation to Christian bishops. The focus in the present article is how monastic texts present charismatic authority by means of clothes. While a melote, sheepskin, tends to express a colonization of ascetic and charismatic authority, other items of clothing reflect charismatic authority more directly and untamed, such as the hair-shirt and the tunic of palm leaves.
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