Besa’s Magical Transformation of Shenoute

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Anne Moore



Early and Late Antiquity Christians adopted and adapted various Roman social types and literary figures. In particular, the figure of the “holy man” was utilized to conceptualize and frame narratives about Jesus Christ, the Apostles, martyrs and ascetics. Through the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, a specific Christian version of the “holy man” emerged. The apostle was an individual who engaged all of the Roman social classes; performed numerous miracles; discerned people’s character and changed the souls of individuals. Vita Sinuthii drew upon this apostolic holy man in the formation of Shenoute as a miraculous savior figure.


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