The dissertation thesis focuses on the ascetic discourse that can be traced back to the philosophy of the pagan antiquity. Through ascetic practices and concepts – considering mostly Plato, Middle Platonists and Neoplatonism as well as Stoicism and Cynicism – it tries to display the pagan roots of Christian asceticism, which is inseparably intertwined with the origins of monasticism. The differentia specifica of Christian asceticism turns out to be physical isolation – the retreat of Christian ascetics into the desert. In its second part the thesis thus takes into consideration two later founders of the ideology of the desert. Discussing Jerome's views on asceticism and presenting Eucherius of Lyons' In Praise of the Desert (De laude eremi), it aims at shedding light on the most primary feature of Christian asceticism – the »philosophy of the desert«.