"Breaking Rules and Telling Tales: Children and Childhood in Earliest Monasteries"
4:00 pm Social and Refreshments
4:15 pm Lecture
Medieval and Byzantine monasteries and convents were teeming with children. From orphans deposited on their doorsteps to become monastics, to pupils studying in their schools before moving on to an uncloistered adult life, to sick children seeking care from church hospitals, monastic institutions for men and women, in the East and the West sheltered scores of children. Monasteries and convents continued to serve as important institutions for the education and welfare of children in later history, and the role of celibate adults in the lives of children continues to be debated today. Despite the prominent role the church has played in the lives of children, we know little about boys and girls in the very earliest Christian monasteries, institutions crucial to the development of Christian charitable institutions and church orders. This lecture will illuminate the lives of children in early Christian Egypt, one of the birthplaces of monasticism. It will examine how children were educated to become monks, how monastic rules either applied to children or protected them, and the consequences for children when they or the adults around them broke the rules.
Caroline T. Schroeder is Associate Professor of Religious and Classical Studies and Director of the Humanities Center at the University of the Pacific. Dr. Schroeder graduated from Brown University and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at Duke University. She is a board member of the North American Patristics Society and recipient of numerous awards, including an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Award for Advanced Researchers, a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, two Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation fellowships, and a United Methodist Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award. Her book, Monastic Bodies (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), examines the asceticism, theology, and material culture of the monastery of Shenoute of Atripe in fourth- and fifth-century Egypt. She is currently working on two books: Melania: Early Christianity through the Life of One Family (co-edited with Catherine Chin of the University of California at Davis), and Monks and Their Children: Family and Childhood in Early Egyptian Monasticism. More information at: http://www.carrieschroeder.com/carrieschroeder/CV.html .