The life of Saint Anthony was vividly pictured in the narration of his life by no other person than St. Athanasius. In St. Athanasius’ description of St. Anthony, he explored all areas where St. Anthony was modeled as a saint. In light of this, the thesis for this essay states that classical genres to which St. Athanasius modelled the Life of St. Anthony is autobiography/biography, mythology and adventures.
Throughout the description of St. Anthony’s life, he conformed himself to these models. To this end, this essay explores ways in which St. Anthony’s life conformed to these models. One of the first ways St. Anthony’s life conformed to St. Athanasius’ model was his first step into ...view middle of the document...
St. Anthony channeled his entire energy to the continued practice of the ascetic life (Robert 28). It was also quoted that he read and mastered the scriptures and that nothing eluded him. This was just for him to remain spiritually inclined.
Another way in which St. Anthony’s lifestyle conformed to St. Athanasius’ model was when he had conflict with the devil (Robert 29). He first accused the devil that he is a hater of good thing. He then goes on to related instances when the devil deployed his antics against him.
Firstly, he said the devil tried to persuade him to drop his ascetic life by putting in his mind the earthly property, the care of his sister, love of money, fame, pleasures of life and other goodies of life.
Secondly, it was written concerning St. Anthony that the devil also brought to his mind the suffering associated with his chosen style of life and living. The devil impressed it on him the toil and austerity that is implicit with living an ascetic life.
Rather than cave in to the temptations of the devil, St. Athanasius wrote that St. Anthony fought the devil to a standstill. He attributed his victory to the use of weapons which are not physical: the word of God in the holy book; and by fasting and prayer (Robert 29).
In his account of how he fought the devil, he said that the devil used different antics to make him succumb to his fervent and consistent pressures. He said the Devil once masqueraded himself in the form of a woman just to deceive him but St. Anthony filled his mind with the word of God, and with it, he warded off the devil.
At a point, the devil appeared to him physically as the spirit of lust. According to the author, it was a serious battle from which St. Anthony came out victorious. The spirit even told him that it has tempted others and they fell woefully. However, St. Anthony countered the spirit and it fled, never to return to him again because he was steadfast (Robert 31).
St. Anthony also conformed to the model of St. Athanasius by going into solitary life. Implicit in this lifestyle was moving from one location to another within the desert. This time, he set out for the tomb. Meanwhile, he had arranged with one of his acquaintances to come with bread at intervals of an agreed period of time. On gaining entry into the tomb, all the reptiles vacated it but he had to contend with the demons that constantly tormented him (Robert 33).
At a point, St. Anthony instructed his acquaintance to lock him up inside the tomb. This infuriated the demon which later came back with more demons in the night to unleash beatings on him. According to the author, the beating was too much for him to bear that he lost consciousness. This, however, did not deter him. The demons changed tactics. In the night, they came back with more fury. They came like lions, bears, bulls, snakes and wolves (Robert 33). St. Anthony then moved to a new place of abode, a mountain in the desert.
From this location, he communed and prayed...