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Ascetic Pneumatology from John Cassian to Gregory the Great$
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Thomas L. Humphries, Jr.

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199685035

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685035.001.0001

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The Spirit in Contemplation and Allegory

The Spirit in Contemplation and Allegory

(p.178) 8 The Spirit in Contemplation and Allegory
Ascetic Pneumatology from John Cassian to Gregory the Great

Thomas L. Humphries

Oxford University Press

This chapter closes the arguments about Gregory as an Augustinian theologian who follows Cassian’s ascetic pneumatology. Gregory modifies some elements of Augustine’s theology (like the low expectation for experiencing contemplation in this life) to allow it to supplement Cassian’s system (like the teaching that Christian ascetics can regularly experience ecstatic contemplation). Gregory’s ascetic pneumatology teaches that the Holy Spirit is the special guide for reading scripture and the giver of ecstatic contemplation. Furthermore, Gregory makes a pneumatological connection between contemplation and reading scripture. Since both allegorical interpretation of scripture and contemplation of God are special gifts of the Spirit given to advanced Christian ascetics, Gregory’s ascetic pneumatology synthesizes Cassian’s and Augustine’s theology.

Keywords:   Gregory the Great, interpretation of scripture, contemplation, Augustine, Cassian, desire

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