Conferences, Issue 54

Front Cover
Paulist Press, 1985 - Religion - 208 pages
...clearly a must for all libraries...and for all readers interested in spirituality. Religious Studies Review John Cassian: Conferences translation and preface by Colm Luibheid introduction by Owen Chadwick I f you wish to achieve true knowledge of scripture you must hurry to achieve unshakable humility of heart. This is what will lead you not to the knowledge that puffs a man up but to the lore which illumines through the achievement of love. John Cassian (c. 365-c. 435) At the turn of the sixth century the Mediterranean world was witnessing the decline of Roman rule that had formed the bedrock of its civil order. During the chaos of those years, there arose in the deserts of Egypt and Syria monastic movements that offered men and women a radical God-centered alternative to the present society. Among the most eloquent interpreters of this new movement to western Europe was John Cassian (c. 365-c.435). Drawing on his own early experience as a monk in Bethlehem and Egypt, he journeyed to the West to found monasteries in Marseilles and the region of Provence. Included in this volume is Cassian's masterpiece, the Conferences, which is a study of the Egyptian ideal of the monk. The new translation by Colm Luibheid is coupled with an insightful introduction by the distinguished Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern History, Cambridge University, Owen Chadwick, who writes of Cassian's achievement: Like the Rule of St. Benedict, his work was a protection against excess and a constant recall to that primitive simplicity where eastern spirituality met western. +
 

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Contents

THE GOAL OR OBJECTIVE OF THE MONK
37
ON DISCERNMENT
60
THE THREE RENUNCIATIONS
81
ON PRAYER
101
ON PRAYER
125
ON PERFECTION
141
ON SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE
155
THE GIFTS OF GOD
174
THE THREE KINDS OF MONK
183
Index to Introduction
202
Index to Texts
204
Copyright

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Page 25 - Let not sorrow dim your eye ; Soon shall every tear be dry : Let not fears your course impede ; Great your strength, if great your need. Onward then to battle move ; More than conquerors ye shall prove : Though opposed by many a foe, Christian soldiers, onward go...
Page 44 - For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in. Naked and you covered me; sick and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.

About the author (1985)

John Cassian, an important figure in the early history of monasticism, can be considered one of the principal architects of the western monastic system. He joined a monastery at Bethlehem but left soon after to study monasticism in Egypt. Eventually he found his way west, spending a short time in Rome and settling in Marseilles, where he founded two monasteries. He collected much of his knowledge of monasticism in his Institutes and Conferences. Benedict of Nursia used Cassian's work in his famous monastic Rule. Cassian's theological importance and legacy comes in his disagreement with the Augustinian views of grace and predestination. He maintained that "the first steps towards the Christian life were ordinarily taken by the human will and that Grace supervened only later." His views, traditionally described as semi-Pelagianist, received widespread support in the monasteries in the West.

William Owen Chadwick was born in London, England on May 20, 1916. He received a degree in history in 1938 and a degree in theology in 1939 from St. John's College in Cambridge. He attended Cuddeson, a theological college, to study for holy orders. The Church of England ordained him a deacon in 1940 and a priest in 1941. He was master of Selwyn College, Cambridge University, for almost 30 years, beginning in the mid-1950s and retiring in 1983. He was chancellor of the University of East Anglia from 1985 to 1994. In 1966, he was put at the head of a commission to redefine Parliament's role in church affairs. When put into effect, the recommendations of the Chadwick Report, retained the ties between the Church of England and the state but gave the church greater control over the appointment of bishops. It also ended Parliament's nominal control over changes in doctrine and ritual. He wrote numerous books during his lifetime including John Cassian: A Study in Primitive Monasticism, The Reformation, The Secularization of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century, Victorian Miniature, The Victorian Church, The Christian Church in the Cold War, and A History of Christianity. He oversaw the publications of a 16-volume work entitled The Oxford History of the Christian Church. He also wrote three volumes himself: The Popes and European Revolution, A History of the Popes, 1830-1914, and The Early Reformation on the Continent. He died on July 17, 2015 at the age of 99.

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