By Columba Stewart

ISBN-10: 0195113667

ISBN-13: 9780195113662

This e-book is a research of the existence, monastic writings, and religious theology of John Cassian (c., 360-435). His Institutes and Conferences are a awesome synthesis of past monastic traditions, specially these of fourth-century Egypt, trained all through by way of Cassian's know-how of the actual wishes of the Latin monastic circulation he was once aiding to form. occasionally portrayed as easily an suggest of the subtle non secular theology of Evagrius of Ponticus (360-435), Cassian used to be really a theologian of willing perception, realism, and creativity. His instructing on sexuality is exclusive in early monastic literature in either its breadth and its intensity, and his integration of biblical interpretation with the methods of prayer and educating on ecstatic prayer are of basic significance for the western monastic culture. the one Latin author integrated within the vintage Greek collections of monastic sayings, Cassian used to be the main non secular impact on either the Rule of the Master and the Rule of Benedict, in addition to the resource for Gregory the Great's educating on capital sins and compunction.

Columba Stewart's e-book is the 1st significant research of Cassian to be released in 20 years. It starts off by means of constructing Cassian's credibility as a instructor at the foundation of his personal adventure as a monk and his familiarity with the basic literary resources. Stewart then turns to Cassian's non secular theology, paying specific awareness to Cassian's view of the monastic trip in eschatological viewpoint, his instructing on continence and chastity, the Christological foundation of biblical interpretation and prayer, his approach to unceasing prayer, and his integration of ecstatic event with an Evagrian theology of prayer.

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About the time Cassian wrote Conference 13, a lay enthusiast of Augustine's views living in Marseilles, Prosper of Aquitaine, wrote to Rufinus, another layman, about those who were undermining Augustine's teaching by their "many conferences. 181 These "servants of Christ" were surely Cassian and his monks. A similar letter sent to Augustine by an otherwise unknown disciple named Hilary describes the anti-Augustinian ideas circulating among those "in Marseilles and other places in Gaul. 184 Cassian's stance on free will, as expressed throughout the Institutes and Conferences, joined with Prosper's later attack on Conference 13 confirm the hints.

In beginning the Institutes with a spiritual interpretation of monastic clothing, he establishes the agenda he will follow right through to the very last Conference. The physical aspect of some monastic practice or the literal sense of a text may be "true, " but other tracks of meaning, equally "true, " have a much greater bearing on spiritual growth. In Conference 14, following the lead of Origen, Cassian sketches four kinds of contemplative knowledge to be found in the Bible: historical (past and evident), allegorical (prefigured and enduring), tropological (moral and practical), and anagogical (foreshadowing and heavenly) .

Gregory, like many others, elaborated Cassian's teaching on the active and contemplative aspects of life. 238 Material from the Institutes found its way into the Alphabetical Collection of the Apophthegmata; 239 Cassian is the only Latin so honored by inclusion among the great fathers and mothers of the desert tradition. 240 Sometimes his work even circulated under the name of a famous eastern monk. Thus the passage in book 4 of the Institutes (Inst. 4. 241 It is ironic, given Cassian's silence about Evagrius, that his own words came to be attributed to his teacher.

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Cassian the Monk by Columba Stewart


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