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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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The Apophthegmata Patrum: Themes

The Apophthegmata Patrum: Themes

(p.227) 8 The Apophthegmata Patrum: Themes
Desert Christians

William, S.J. Harmless (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Apophthegmata Patrum has come down to us in two basic forms: the Alphabetical Collection and the Systematic Collection. The Systematic Collection contains many of the same sayings and stories as the Alphabetical but gathers them under twenty-one different headings or themes, such as “discernment” and “unceasing prayer.” Two Roman clerics, Pelagius and John, translated this from Greek into Latin, and so it passed to the Latin West under the title Verba Seniorum (Sayings of the Old Men) and as such would powerfully influence the spirituality of medieval monasticism. This chapter focuses on seven key themes from the Apophthegmata: interior stillness (hesychia), thoughts (logismoi), sexuality, anger, compunction (penthos), visions, and the use of scripture.

Keywords:   Apophthegmata Patrum, Systematic Collection, Verba Seniorum, hesychia, logismoi, sexuality, anger, penthos, visions, scripture

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