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Mr William Jupp 


  • Overview
Position:PhD Religious Studies

Academic History

HND Computing Technology,Slough College 82-4 (distinction)

MSc in Artificial Intelligence, Cardiff 89-90 (prize)

MA in Religious Studies, King Alfred’s College (distinction)

MA in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, Cardiff 2010-11 (distinction)

PhD Research

Working Title: 'The life, writings and reception of Abba Arsenius: A Critical Investigation of fourth century monasticism and its reception.

In this project, I aim to uncover the life, writings, and reception of Abba Arsenius (c. 360-449) a significant – yet neglected – figure in Late Antique history.


Writings: there is evidence that monastic letters give more accurate portrayals than hagiographical sources, but are not fully utilised in ascetic studies. Abba Arsenius, known to us primarily through the Apophthegmata Patrum, has two edited letters attributed to him that have had little attention: Doctrina et Exhortatio and Epistula Beati Patris Arsenii. Arsenius is portrayed in the Apophthegmata as an anti-Origenist, but both letters indicate Origenist tendencies, demonstrating an immediate tension between the letters and the Apophthegmata. The Epistula Beati exhibits exegetical techniques similar to Didymus the Blind, and the Doctrina’s focus on apatheia suggests and Evagrian influence. Arsenius is well known through the Apophthegmata, but it appears there may be a very different person in the letters.


Reception: Arsenius was an exemplar for later eremitic traditions, for example St. Bruno cites him as a model for the early Carthusians. However, academic bibliographical databases (e.g. ATLA) yield a paucity of results for critical studies of Arsenius. He has enjoyed a rich reception in later periods which remains undiminished today, as a Google search for ‘Abba Arsenius’ demonstrates. There are at least five differing Vitae of Arsenius which relate his life as the guardian of Arcadius and Honorius. There are also a number of unedited Arsenien texts in manuscript which will be investigated.

Start Date: October 2011

First Supervisor: Dr Nic Baker-Brian

Second Supervisor: Professor Josef Lossl