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Cassian the Monk : Oxford Studies in Historical Theology - Columba Stewart

Cassian the Monk

Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

Paperback Published: 16th September 1999
ISBN: 9780195134841
Number Of Pages: 304

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This book is a study of the life, monastic writings, and spiritual theology of John Cassian (c., 360-435). His Institutes and Conferences are a remarkable synthesis of earlier monastic traditions, especially those of fourth-century Egypt, informed throughout by Cassian's awareness of the particular needs of the Latin monastic movement he was helping to shape. Sometimes portrayed as simply an advocate of the sophisticated spiritual theology of Evagrius of Ponticus (360-435), Cassian was actually a theologian of keen insight, realism, and creativity. His teaching on sexuality is unique in early monastic literature in both its breadth and its depth, and his integration of biblical interpretation with the ways of prayer and teaching on ecstatic prayer are of fundamental importance for the western monastic tradition. The only Latin writer included in the classic Greek collections of monastic sayings, Cassian was the major spiritual influence on both the Rule of the Master and the Rule of Benedict, as well as the source for Gregory the Great's teaching on capital sins and compunction.
Columba Stewart's book is the first major study of Cassian to be published in twenty years. It begins by establishing Cassian's credibility as a teacher on the basis of his own experience as a monk and his familiarity with the fundamental literary sources. Stewart then turns to Cassian's spiritual theology, paying particular attention to Cassian's view of the monastic journey in eschatological perspective, his teaching on continence and chastity, the Christological basis of biblical interpretation and prayer, his method of unceasing prayer, and his integration of ecstatic experience with an Evagrian theology of prayer.

"In addition to chastity, Stewart has good chapters on prayer and the use of the bible in Cassian. Although he cannot cover every aspect of Cassian's massive teaching, these three topics are probably the key ones. And Stewart has mastered them as completely as anyone I have read. This is a tour de force."--Terrence G. Kardong, O.S.B., THe Catholic Historical Review "The major contribution of the book is its use of Cassian's two major treatises for the monks under his instruction: his Institutes and his Conferences. Stewarts's knowledge of these texts, the details of monastic life, and the theological themes of the time are outstanding."--Ashland Theological Journal "Though eight years have elapsed since its publication, this remains an important book." --Theology "The major contribution of the book is its use of Cassian's two major treatises for the monks under his instruction: his Institutes and his Conferences. Stewarts's knowledge of these texts, the details of monastic life, and the theological themes of the time are outstanding."--Ashland Theological Journal "Nothing in English offers a fuller appreciation of Cassian than Cassian the Monk....[Stewart's] study is a model of fruitful penetration and wise appropriation of a classical Christian writer. The depth of Stewart's insights and the tremendous wealth of information he has economically tucked away in the notes make it unlikely that his book will be surpassed any time soon."--The Thomasist "In addition to chastity, Stewart has good chapters on prayer and the use of the bible in Cassian. Although he cannot cover every aspect of Cassian's massive teaching, these three topics are probably the key ones. And Stewart has mastered them as completely as anyone I have read. This is a tour de force."--Terrence G. Kardong, O.S.B., THe Catholic Historical Review "...Stewart's eagerly awaited, erudite and engaging study of Cassian will not disappoint...there is much to be learned from reading Stewart and, because of that, much to be gained from reading or re-reading Cassian himself."--ABR "...ideal for those seeking greater understanding not only of Cassian, but also of fourth-and fifth-century monasticism in general."--Relgious Studies Review

Preface 1: Cassian the Monk 2: Cassian the Writer 3: Cassian the Theologian 4: Flesh and Spirit, Continence and Chastity 5: The Bible and Prayer 6: Unceasing Prayer 7: Experience of Prayer Appendix: Cassian on Monastic Egypt Notes Bibliography Index

ISBN: 9780195134841
ISBN-10: 0195134842
Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 16th September 1999
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 16.0  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.43