This book introduces a beautiful fourth-century Coptic discourse on love and self-control in its first English translation. The text’s heading attributes it to Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, but this attribution is questionable. Exploring issues of authorship and context, this book locates the origins of On Love and Self-Control in the Upper Egyptian Pachomian monastic community of the mid-fourth century. It then traces the various uses of On Love and Self-Control to the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, when the single surviving manuscript was copied as part of an anthology at the Monastery of St. Shenoute of Atripe. A partial reconstruction of this now dismembered codex is provided.
Carolyn Schneider is associate professor of church history at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong, where she serves as a missionary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She teaches courses introducing the history of the global church in every era but specializes in exploring the theologies of Athanasius in his fourth-century Egyptian context and Martin Luther in his sixteenth-century European context.