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Dorotheos of Gaza and the Discourse of Healing in Gazan Monasticism


Kyle A. Schenkewitz

Serving as a dynamic figure in the monastic school, Dorotheos of Gaza transformed the traditional understanding of healing in the spiritual life. Gazan monastic teachers, Isaiah of Scetis, Barsanuphius, John, and Dorotheos, utilized this discourse of healing to instruct and guide their followers in the monastic life.
As a predominant part of human existence, sickness and suffering were sought to be understood and interpreted. For some teachers, healing was purely a metaphor for spiritual renewal brought about through illness and pain. For others, physical distress was instructive for renewed endurance and trust. Driven by a new distinction, Dorotheos pursued the concept of healing as an extension beyond the metaphor and into the physical reality experienced in the body. Encouraging his followers to pursue this idea, he further developed the importance of healing in his tradition by emphasizing the significance of physical and spiritual well-being. The life of healing he envisioned was a life full of virtue, carefully navigating all disruptions of life, and strengthening the soul and the body.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Schenkewitz, Kyle A. Title: Dorotheos of Gaza and the Discourse of healing in Gazan monasticism / Kyle A. Schenkewitz. Description: New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2016. | Series: American University studies VII. Theology and religion, ISSN 0740-0446; Vol. 357 | Includes bibliographical references. Identifiers: LCCN 2015033944 | ISBN 9781433132216 (hardcover: alk. paper) | ISBN 9781453917091 (e-book) Subjects: LCSH: Dorotheus, of Gaza, Saint, active 6th century. Discourses and sayings. | Monasticism and religious orders. | Healing— Religious aspects—Christianity. Classification: LCC BR65.D757 S24 2016 | DDC 271.00953/1—dc23 LC record available at Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

Cover image: St. Dorotheus of Gaza. Mount Saint Dionysius, Mount Athos, 1547 © 2016 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York 29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006 All rights reserved. Reprint or reproduction, even partially, in all forms such as microfilm, xerography, microfiche, microcard, and offset strictly prohibited.

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