iddle Ages, were recognised early as needful to the system. Even the ascetics by the Red Sea and in Nitria did not deprive themselves of all literary solace, although the more fanatical would abjure it, and many would be too poor to have it. The Rule of Pachomius, founder of the settlements of Tabenna, required the brethren's books to be kept in a cupboard and regulated lending them. These libraries are referred to in Benedict's own Rule. We hear of St. Pachomius destroying a copy of Origen, because the teaching in it was obnoxious; of Abba Bischoi writing an ascetic work, a copy of which is extant; of anchorites under St. Macarius of Alexandria transcribing books; and of St. Jerome collecting a library summo studio et labore, copying manuscripts and studying Hebrew at his hermitage even after a formal renunciation of the classics, and then again, at the end of his life, bringing together another library at Bethlehem monastery, and instructing boys in grammar and in classic authors. Basil the Great, when foun
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