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Desert ChristiansAn Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism$
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William, S.J. Harmless

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162233

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195162234.001.0001

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Evagrius Ponticus: Ascetical Theory

Evagrius Ponticus: Ascetical Theory

(p.311) 10 Evagrius Ponticus: Ascetical Theory
Desert Christians

William, S.J. Harmless (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Evagrius (c.345–399) grew up in Pontus near the Black Sea, and, after serving as a deacon in Constantinople, embarked on a monastic career, settling in Kellia in Lower Egypt. There he apprenticed under two leading desert fathers, Macarius the Egyptian and Macarius the Alexandrian. Evagrius was one of the first monastic theologians and is best known for two works, the Praktikos and the Chapters on Prayer. These and other works of his are strings of terse and somewhat cryptic proverbs, known as “chapters” (kephalaia). This introduction surveys Evagrius’s life and surviving writings and explores the ascetical side of his theology, especially his brilliant and original psychology of temptation—centered on what he called the “eight evil thoughts” (logismoi).

Keywords:   Evagrius Ponticus, Kellia, Macarius the Egyptian, Praktikos, Chapters on Prayer, kephalaia, thoughts, logismoi

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