Friday, 8 May 2015

Robin Young: The Use of the Kephalaia in Evagrius of Pontus

Antoine Guillaumont’s 1962 monograph on the transmission of the KephalaiaGnostika eastwards among Syriac speakers established Evagrius of Pontus’ Gnostic Trilogy as the crux interpretationis of Evagrius’ entire literary corpus.  Guillaumont concluded that the substance and style of the three constituent books – Praktikos,Gnostikos and KephalaiaGnostika – reflected the thought of Origen and presented it in an esoteric way.  Evagrius created the kephalaiaon to hint at a teaching also – like Origen’s – rooted in the sapiential tradition and in certain philosophical insights.  Evagrius crafted the instrument of the kephalaiaon to train ascetics toward contemplation.

Based on a new translation of the entire KG made from its Greek and Syriac versions (with comparanda from the Armenian), the papers in this workshop address the purpose, structure and content of various kephalaia.  Together they argue for the coherence and for the centrality to Evagrius’ work of the Gnostic Trilogy, and explore how Evagrius linked the kephalaia of each book to connect all three in an elaborately-worked pedagogy.  The S2 KG not only reflects Evagrius’ intricate and coherent system of thought; its teachings are also anticipated and reinforced in the kephalaia of the Praktikos and the Gnostikos.

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