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Document Details :

Title: Crossing Rivers, Confronting Crocodiles
Subtitle: Aquatic Space, Ambiguous Creatures, and Ascetic Life in Late Antiquity
Author(s): GILHUS, Ingvild Sælid
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 97    Issue: 3   Date: 2021   
Pages: 411-426
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.97.3.3289712

Abstract :
The theme of this article is how aquatic space was produced, imagined, and experienced by ascetics and monastics in Christian Egypt. I apply a wilderness perspective to the Nile in order to see how the imagined space of the river shifted character, depending on how it was conceived and experienced. The article, which discusses various types of aquatic space and their role in creating ascetic identity, distinguishes between several aspects of the River Nile: the life-giving river; the river seen through the ascetic gaze as a negative image of life in this world; the river as a wilderness embodied in crocodiles; and the river as a life-threatening watery wilderness, which envelops different types of geophysical aquatic spaces. A special focus is how wilderness is present and sometimes lies dormant in other types of space.

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