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Document Details :
Title: The City a Desert
Subtitle: The Case of Jerome's Paul the First Hermit
Author(s): BREMMER, Jan N.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 97 Issue: 3 Date: 2021
Jerome used or, perhaps more correctly, abused, the Life of Antony in his Life of Paul to promote his own ideas about the uses and functions of the wilderness. The Life of Paul concentrates on the youth and death of Paul, but the middle part of his life is occupied, so to speak, by the visit of Antony. Consequently, we first look at the latter’s youth, middle life and death and analyse the way Jerome lets Paul trump Antony by his brief biography of the former. Subsequently, we show that for Jerome the physical wilderness was clearly not populated by demons and did not have the same terrifying characteristics as it had for Athanasius, but that for Jerome the 'real' wilderness was constituted by the city. We conclude with some observations on Jerome’s position in the development of Christian wilderness ideas and practices in the course of antiquity, in which we argue, against Clifford Ando, that Greek, Jewish and Christian traditions all played a role in the development and representation of ascetic practices in late antiquity.