Monastica -

Monastica – a dynamic library and research tool


Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
  • Religious Studies

Type of infrastructure

  • Digital collections

Degree of recognition

  • International


  • Monasticism, Wisdom literature, Sayings, Manuscript study, Fluid texts


Monastica is an open access digital platform for research on the transmission of the so called Sayings of the Desert, known in Greek as the Apophthegmata Patrum and in Latin as the Verba Seniorum, which are among the most widely transmitted texts in the history of Christianity and which have played a fundamental role in the history of education in pre-modern Christian culture. It thus constitutes a unique collection of crucial classical texts as well as tools developed for future research on these. Monastica is a dynamic library of texts as well as a complex relational database with advanced tools for scholarly collaboration in gathering, analysing, publishing and sharing the complex fluid textual tradition of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers in multiple languages. As such it also provides an example for the use of digital methods in the study of texts characterized by a fluid transmission in different cultures and languages. Through the easily accessed interactive platform, collaborative work on input and revision as well as display and analysis of texts and data is facilitated.The infrastructure is also used in teaching.

Digital and physical collections

Digitized registers of metadata and content for hundreds of manuscripts in ten languages, transcribed texts of large sections of dozens of manuscripts and full text of all important editions in and translations from the various languages, as well as indices and concordances of individual sayings, names and places.

Services provided

Monastica provides interactive reading of and searches in the registered texts, analyses of their structures and relations, use of indices, and export of texts as well as tables of structural relations and of texts. Metadata on the sources as well as links to images of the manuscripts are also provided. For registered users Monastica further provides resources for registration of texts, relevant data and comments. The data can be re-used and disseminated in a customized TEI format.

Management of the infrastructure

The infrastructure is presently managed by the research team of FOWIS under the direction of the editor. An editorial board, as well as an international advisory board, will be appointed when the research project ends.

Available for loan

Available for loan - internal and external

Terms of access:

Monastica gives is open access to all texts that are not copyrighted or work in progress. These, as well as tools for and material in progress can be accessed by registration.

Recent research outputs

Samuel Rubenson, 2019, Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online. Hunter, D. G., van Geest, P. J. J. & Lietaert Peerbolte, B. J. (eds.). Brill Academic Publishers, (Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online ).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Samuel Rubenson, 2019, More Sayings of the Desert Fathers : An English Translation and Notes. Wortley, J. (ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. xiii

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript

Samuel Rubenson, 2018, Monastic Education in Late Antiquity: The Transformation of Classical Paideia. Rubenson, S. & Larsen, L. (eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 13-32

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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