The <i>Apophthegmata Patrum</i>: Themes

William, S.J. Harmless

in Desert Christians

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780195162233
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835645 | DOI:
 The Apophthegmata Patrum: Themes

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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

Chapter.  21252 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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