By Columba Stewart
This ebook is a learn of the lifestyles, monastic writings, and religious theology of John Cassian (c., 360-435). His Institutes and Conferences are a notable synthesis of previous monastic traditions, in particular these of fourth-century Egypt, educated all through by means 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 recommend of the subtle religious theology of Evagrius of Ponticus (360-435), Cassian was once really a theologian of willing perception, realism, and creativity. His educating 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 value for the western monastic culture. the one Latin author integrated within the vintage Greek collections of monastic sayings, Cassian used to be the foremost religious impression on either the Rule of the Master and the Rule of Benedict, in addition to the resource for Gregory the Great's instructing on capital sins and compunction.
Columba Stewart's publication is the 1st significant research of Cassian to be released in 20 years. It starts off through constructing Cassian's credibility as a instructor at the foundation of his personal event as a monk and his familiarity with the basic literary assets. Stewart then turns to Cassian's religious theology, paying specific awareness to Cassian's view of the monastic trip in eschatological viewpoint, his educating 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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124 Even were this hypothesis true, it would leave the years between 405 and 413 unexplained; as a fervent supporter of Chrysostom's cause, Cassian could hardly have found Antioch an inviting place before Alexander's episcopate. Pope Innocent's letters, the only evidence for this theory, resist precise interpretation. 125 The link with John Cassian also remains uncertain. 128 Pope Innocent's earlier letter and Palladius' Dialogue on the Life of Chrysostom, with their references to both "Germanus" and "Cassianus," are surer ground.
Cassian's emphasis on experience rather than rhetoric, and the profundity and realism of his monastic theology, persuade at least this reader that in the many places he lived and in the many things he did, he was always Cassian the Monk. CHAPTER TWO Cassian the °Writer We will show them to you embodied in their teachings and, better yet, explaining them in Latin. -Conf. Pref. 1 6 Ways of Reading IN THE MONASTIC WRITINGS ONE MEETS SEVERAL JOHN CASSIANS: a young monk dazzled by monastic Egypt and an old man relating youthful experiences; an advisor of church leaders in Gaul and an apologist scarred by battle; a monastic founder concerned that new monasteries learn the right kind of monasticism; a spiritual writer integrating earlier traditions into a theology of the monastic life.
It is apparent from both structural and thematic evidence that those first Conferences form a coherent unit and complete the project begun in the Institutes. Nonetheless, there are topics explicitly deferred to the Conferences that are not addressed in the first ten. 46 As he wrote the first set of Conferences he must have already recognized the need for more; by the time he wrote the far more; preface to the second set (Conf. 11-17), he was ready to announce the third (Conf. Pref. 2 3). In order to understand the interrelationships among the Conferences, one needs an overview, beginning with the first set.