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Emotion and Peace of MindFrom Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation$
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Richard Sorabji

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256600.001.0001

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Christians On Moderation Versus Eradication

Christians On Moderation Versus Eradication

(p.385) 25 Christians On Moderation Versus Eradication
Emotion and Peace of Mind

Richard Sorabji (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Stoic apatheia was accepted as an ideal for certain humans by Philo the Jew and many leading Christians: Clement of Alexandria, Origen, the Cappadocians (Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus), as well as Evagrius; although even Evagrius agrees with the others that it requires the grace of God. For ordinary people the Cappadocians write consolation letters about bereavement which urge no more than moderation of emotion (metriopatheia), as Seneca also had done, in spite of being a Stoic. Although Evagrius was followed by the Latin-writer Cassian, some Latin-writing Christians opposed apatheia: Lactantius, Jerome, and Augustine. The last two were attacking Pelagius, who denied original sin, and they lumped him with supporters of apatheia. For Augustine, even unpleasant emotions have been needed since man left the Garden of Eden, and pleasant ones were enjoyed in Eden and will be in heaven.

Keywords:   apatheia, metriopatheia, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Cappadocians, Evagrius, Cassian, Jerome, Augustine, Pelagius

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