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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: Mystical Theology

Evagrius Ponticus: Mystical Theology

(p.345) 11 Evagrius Ponticus: Mystical Theology
Desert Christians

William, S.J. Harmless (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Evagrius Ponticus was one of the great pioneers of Christian mystical theology. He spoke of prayer as “the ascent of the mind to God” and argued that “pure prayer” must be unceasing, imageless, and wordless. At the peak of the mystical journey, the monk encounters what Evagrius called the “sapphire light of the mind,” both an interior illumination and a glimpse of the uncreated light of the Trinity. This chapter sets out both Evagrius’s map of the mystical journey to God and the controversy that it provoked after his death, the so-called Origenist Controversy.

Keywords:   Evagrius Ponticus, mystical theology, pure prayer, imageless prayer, unceasing prayer, wordless prayer, sapphire, mind, Trinity, Origenist Controversy

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