Crislip, Andrew T. 1973- (Andrew Todd Crislip)

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Crislip, Andrew T. 1973- (Andrew Todd Crislip)


Born September 6, 1973. Education: Yale University, Ph.D., 2002.


Office—University of Hawaii, Religion Department, Sakamaki Hall A311, 2530 Dole St., Honolulu, HI 96822. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, historian, and educator. University of Hawaii, Manoa, began as assistant professor, became associate professor of religion.


From Monastery to Hospital: Christian Monasticism and the Transformation of Health Care in Late Antiquity, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals and journals, including the Journal of Biblical Literature, Harvard Theological Review, and Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik.


An associate professor of religion at the University of Hawaii, writer and historian Andrew T. Crislip is a scholar of Christian monasticism. In addition, he focuses his research in areas such as Biblical studies, the religions of late antiquity, and the history of Christianity, noted a biographer on the University of Hawaii Religion Department Web site. Crislip pursues further academic interest in the history of sickness and healing in late ancient Christianity.

Crislip's scholarly studies of early Christian monasticism have taken him throughout the world to explore the history and experience the modern-day activities at these enclaves of religious faith. In an article in Mālamalama, writer Jennifer Crites reported that Crislip identifies Egypt as the geographical origin point of monasticism. "Christian holy men left the cities around 300 A.D., possibly to avoid religious persecution," Crites stated. "They found shelter in the burial tombs and temples of ancient pharaohs, erecting interior walls and adding towers, storehouses and fortified exterior walls." Many of these early holy men opted to live alone. However, Crites wrote, an early monk named Pachomius established a thriving religious community on the site of an abandoned military camp. This group established a new type of social functioning, in which nonrelatives worked together for the good of the entire group, shared property, and lived in close proximity to each other. Thus, Pachomius and his group were responsible for establishing the first monastery. Crislip further told Crites how monasteries evolved to encompass medical care and the rudiments of the first hospitals and orphanages.

Crislip relates how Christian monasteries flourished and thrived under Constantine after he took control of the Roman Empire in 313 A.D., declaring Christianity the official religion and generously supporting the system of monasteries under his reign. Some three centuries later, when Muslims invaded in 642 A.D., they allowed Christians to retain their religion if they could afford to pay a poll tax, Crites wrote. Those who could not afford the tax converted to Islam. These remaining Christians were called Copts by their new rulers. The Coptic monasteries were later closed, but in modern times, they have been revived, and the Coptic groups thrive anew, representing between ten and fifteen percent of Egypt's population, Crites reported. In the article, Crislip pointed out to Crites that within this atmosphere, Christians and Muslims coexist and interact harmoniously, seeking aid and counsel from each other, and cooperating in a way wholly removed from the religious conflicts of the early twenty-first century.

As a result of his studies of monasteries, Crislip wrote From Monastery to Hospital: Christian Monasticism and the Transformation of Health Care in Late Antiquity, which is derived from Crislip's doctoral dissertation. In the book, he traces the evolution of hospitals from what he sees as their origins in fourth- and fifth-century Egypt. He notes that during this time, medical treatment was generally provided within the family, but that monasteries evolved to take on the role of caring for the sick and providing medical treatment. Crislip "traces the origin of the hospital to the monastic activities of Basil the Great (ca. 330-79), who served as Bishop of Caesarea (Cappadocia)," noted Hector Avalos, writing in Church History. Basil's hospital possessed three defining characteristics that made it the first true hospital, according to Crislip. It had inpatient facilities, offered professional medical care, and provided medical treatment as a form of charity to those who could not afford it. In addition, "Basil's hospital also reflected the idea that monastic communities should be engaged with the world around them," Avalos reported.

"This book provides a useful, exhaustively referenced survey of late antique monastic health care," commented Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History. Avalos concluded, "This is a welcome and refreshing volume that should be read by all those interested in the relationship between monasticism and Christian health care in late antiquity."



Church History, September, 2006, Hector Avalos, review of From Monastery to Hospital: Christian Monasticism and the Transformation of Health Care in Late Antiquity, p. 656.

Journal of Ecclesiastical History, April, 2006, Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe, review of From Monastery to Hospital, p. 320.

Journal of the American Academy of Religion, December, 2007, Lillian Larsen, review of From Monastery to Hospital, p. 1016.

Mālamalama, November, 2003, Jennifer Crites, "Monastery Man," profile of Andrew T. Crislip.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2005, review of From Monastery to Hospital, p. 18.


University of Hawaii Religion Department Web site, (May 22, 2008), author biography.