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The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible A richly illustrated account of the story of the Bible written by leading scholars.

Monastic Life with the Bible: John Cassian

Characteristic of Christian monasticism is an intense life with the Bible. The cradle of monasticism is Egypt. John Cassian (c.360–432), later founder of his own monastery in Marseilles, about 392 visited the Egyptian monks in the desert and described their life and traditions. Each monk had a biblical codex in his cell during the day which was collected and locked away during the night. Many hours a day were dedicated to biblical ‘meditations’: reading aloud from the Bible and memorizing the texts. Handicraft and work on the fields were also accompanied by Bible recitations; psalm-singing attended the work. Several times during day and night the monks would gather for prayer, psalm-singing, and reading a text of the Old and the New Testament respectively. So they knew most of the Bible by heart. Bible-teaching mostly had a moral and spiritual purpose; the use of commentaries was suspect.

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