Saturday, 21 March 2015

Yuliia Rozumna: “‘Be Angry and Do Not Sin’. Human Anger in Evagrius of Pontus and Gregory of Nyssa”

The creation of a positive theology of human anger has never been an easy task. Gregory of Nyssa (335-395) and Evagrius of Pontus (345-399) are two important witnesses from the early Church who made distinctive contributions to this problem. This paper compares their different approaches to the nature of anger with a look at the ancient philosophy: Evagrius discusses specifically the use of anger in accordance with nature, anger in fighting the demons, anger and prayer, and apatheia; Gregory discusses anger in the context of passions, human freedom and desire for God, and has a different view on the future of the human body. The paper, however, argues that both theologians agree on the possibility and necessity of the righteous human anger. For both of them the irascible part of the soul which produces anger was created by God in His image. Anger therefore could never be just an evil passion; whatever evil was attached to it was to be explained solely as a result of humanity’s fallen condition. In the scheme of Christian asceticism to which both authors subscribed, the primordial goodness of anger could be restored when the irascible part of the soul was subjected to reason (Gregory) or used “according to nature” (Evagrius). Indeed it could even become praiseworthy as a genuine virtue when transformed into courage against evil, the common enemy of humankind.

No comments:

Post a Comment