By Columba Stewart

This e-book is a learn of the existence, monastic writings, and religious theology of John Cassian (c., 360-435). His Institutes and Conferences are a outstanding synthesis of past monastic traditions, in particular these of fourth-century Egypt, expert all through by way of Cassian's know-how of the actual wishes of the Latin monastic stream he was once supporting to form. occasionally portrayed as easily an recommend of the subtle non secular theology of Evagrius of Ponticus (360-435), Cassian was once 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 instructing on ecstatic prayer are of primary significance for the western monastic culture. the one Latin author incorporated within the vintage Greek collections of monastic sayings, Cassian used to be the foremost 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 instructing on capital sins and compunction.

Columba Stewart's e-book is the 1st significant examine of Cassian to be released in two decades. It starts 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 religious theology, paying specific recognition to Cassian's view of the monastic trip in eschatological standpoint, his educating on continence and chastity, the Christological foundation of biblical interpretation and prayer, his approach to unceasing prayer, and his integration of ecstatic adventure with an Evagrian theology of prayer.

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Cassian writes in order to spare Eucherius the perils of the journey (Conf. Pref. 168 Cassian singles out the the fourth, Theodore, for having established cenobitic life in Gaul along traditional lines. Theodore later became bishop of Frejus, succeeding Leontius (ca. 169 These prefaces with their impressive range of addressees show Cassian to be a monastic authority very much involved with the direction and expansion of monasticism in southern Gaul. He came to know all of the key players in the growing eastern-oriented monastic movements and influenced their work through CASSIAN THE MONK 19 his writings.

3) may also be another critique of Martin's monks, many of whom, reports Sulpitius, wore camel-hair garments. 155 18 CASSIAN THE MONK Cassian's scornful description of the Sarabaites in Conference 18, though inspired by Jerome's portrayal of the monks he calls remnuoth,156 serves as a reprise of his own remarks in the Institutes about those who lack any rule or guidance from the elders and devalue manual labor; in this case, however, the sarabaites overwork to satisfy their avarice (Conf. 7). Despite the Egyptian setting for Conference r8, Cassian is, of course, writing for Gaul.

In book 1 Cassian alludes to a subsequent phase,24 and in both books 2 and 5 he postpones certain topics until the "conferences of the elders . "25 It is more difficult to determine how he actually understood the relationship between the two parts of his monastic writings. The complex interconnections between the two parts immediately present one of the major problems facing any interpretation of Cassian's monastic theology, the relationship between the "cenobitic" and "anchoritic" forms of monastic life.

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