Conversion and Self-Transformation in Christian Monasticism: A Cognitive Perspective

  • Inbar GraiverEmail author
Original Paper


Religious conversion involves changes in the convert’s way of thinking and behaving. This paper focuses on the unique form that this transformative process took within the Christian monastic movement in late antiquity. Treating monastic conversion as a gradual process in which the convert is an active participant, it examines the ways in which monastic converts were able to intentionally promote such a change and influence its direction. This study draws on research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience on the cognitive underpinnings of self-transformation in order to reconstruct from the literary sources of Near Eastern monasticism the strategies and training methods that late antique monks employed in order to facilitate and sustain the transformation implicated in conversion.


Conversion Self-transformation Christian monasticism Cognitive science Attention 




Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tel AvivIsrael

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