Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Cristina Ciubotaru - Word and praxis: Cassian’s use of Bible in the fight against evil thoughts

The tendency to seek out biblical roots for monasticism was a common feature of the early ascetic writers. They used Scripture to support their statements about monastic practice. A monk’s daily life was closely related to his worldly human nature, which essentially entailed a fight against evil thoughts. 
John Cassian’s schema of such evil thoughts is considered one of his most obvious borrowings from Eastern monastic writers, particularly Evagrius Ponticus. However, Cassian’s description is much more substantial than previous treatments. In order to depict the struggle against these thoughts, Cassian makes extensive use of the Scriptures. The aim of this paper is to discuss the way in which these biblical quotations contribute to his developed concept of ascetic praxis. It will focus on books 5-12 of Cassian’s Institutes as an example of how early monastic writers approached the Bible.

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