Chapter

Evagrius Ponticus: Ascetical Theory

William, S.J. Harmless

in Desert Christians

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780195162233
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835645 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195162234.003.0010
 Evagrius Ponticus: Ascetical Theory

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Evagrius (c.345–399) grew up in Pontus near the Black Sea, and, after serving as a deacon in Constantinople, embarked on a monastic career, settling in Kellia in Lower Egypt. There he apprenticed under two leading desert fathers, Macarius the Egyptian and Macarius the Alexandrian. Evagrius was one of the first monastic theologians and is best known for two works, the Praktikos and the Chapters on Prayer. These and other works of his are strings of terse and somewhat cryptic proverbs, known as “chapters” (kephalaia). This introduction surveys Evagrius’s life and surviving writings and explores the ascetical side of his theology, especially his brilliant and original psychology of temptation—centered on what he called the “eight evil thoughts” (logismoi).

Keywords: Evagrius Ponticus; Kellia; Macarius the Egyptian; Praktikos; Chapters on Prayer; kephalaia; thoughts; logismoi

Chapter.  14494 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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