Concept

Cenobitic monasticism

Summary
Cenobitic (or coenobitic) monasticism is a monastic tradition that stresses community life. Often in the West the community belongs to a religious order, and the life of the cenobitic monk is regulated by a religious rule, a collection of precepts. The older style of monasticism, to live as a hermit, is called eremitic. A third form of monasticism, found primarily in Eastern Christianity, is the skete. The English words "cenobite" and "cenobitic" are derived, via Latin, from the Greek words koinos (κοινός), "common", and bios (βίος), "life". The adjective can also be cenobiac (κοινοβιακός, koinobiakos) or cœnobitic (obsolete). A group of monks living in community is often referred to as a cenobium. Cenobitic monasticism appears in several religious traditions, though most commonly in Buddhism and Christianity. The word cenobites was initially applied to the followers of Pythagoras in Crotona, Italy, who founded a commune not just for philosophical study but also for the "amicable sharing of worldly goods." In the 1st century AD, Philo of Alexandria (c. 25 BC – c. 50 AD) describes a Jewish ascetic community of men and women on the shores of Lake Mareotis in the vicinity of Alexandria, Egypt which he calls the Therapeutae. Members of the community lived apart from one another during six days of the week, studying the Hebrew Bible during the daytime and eating during the evening, whereafter on the Sabbath they hoped to dream visions informed by their studies. Members of the community composed books of midrash, an allegorical method of interpreting scripture. Only on the Sabbath would the Therapeutae meet, share their learning, eat a common, albeit simple, meal of bread and spring water, and listen to a lecture on the Torah given by one of the venerable members of the community. Every seventh Sabbath, or High Sabbath, was accorded a festival of learning and singing, which climaxed in an egalitarian dance. The 3rd-century Christian writer Eusebius of Caesarea (c.
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