This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of St John Cassian's profile in historical theology. It argues that Cassian was a creative and synthetic thinker who was perfectly capable of developing the themes that he learnt in one place, in order to deploy them in a subtly different form somewhere else; as such, he was an adept promoter of a monastic tradition of theology. Cassian's advocacy of the ascetic cultivation of Christian understanding, the problem of anachronistic interpretation of Cassian, and allegations for anti-Augustinianism and the consequences for reading Cassian are discussed. An overview of the chapters included in this volume is presented.
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