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The Origins of the Christian Mystical TraditionFrom Plato to Denys$
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Andrew Louth

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291403

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291403.001.0001

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The Monastic Contribution

The Monastic Contribution

(p.95) VI The Monastic Contribution
The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition

Andrew Louth (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Monasticism — a life devoted above all to prayer — makes a special contribution to mystical theology in the patristic period. However, it is also in the monastic tradition itself that a pronounced anti-mystical strand is found: an insistence that man is utterly remote from God, and in this world must live a life of repentance and ceaseless struggle against the powers of evil. The life of contemplation, the search for a sense of kinship with God, continues to call men, and so the two strands — mystical and anti-mystical — are woven together in the history of Christian monasticism and are the source of endless tensions. At the outset of this history, both were embodied in a state of perfect development in one man, Evagrius of Pontus.

Keywords:   monasticism, anti-mystical, prayer, mystical theology, patristic period, Evagrius of Pontus

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