Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



Death of the Desert begins and ends with a single incident: Theophilus of Alexandria’s raid on the monks of Nitria and the expulsion of the Tall Brothers in 401 c.e. In the pages between, we are guided through an exploration of multiple modes of violence: prayer and psalmody as weapons against demonic powers, memory sanctions as violent erasures toward others and toward the self, and the Roman discourse of “barbarians” and the boundaries of empire as real and rhetorical violence toward the imagined Other. All these modes coincide in Theophilus’s raid and in the ways it was later remembered; in Luckritz Marquis’s reading, this moment was the real end of any monastic Golden Age and the beginning of a selective rehabilitation of memory that in itself did violence to the monastic past.


Originally published in Journal of Early Christian Studies. 2023. Volume 31. Issue 2. Pages 259-261.