(St.) John Cassian: Pt 3, Legacy

More important than the controversy surrounding him is John Cassian’s legacy.  This legacy can be seen in East and West in the history Christian spirituality and monasticism. In The Institutes, John Cassian presented his adaptation of Evagrius Ponticus’ teaching of the eight thoughts most to be avoided.  Cassian’s eight vices — Gluttony, Fornication, Avarice, Anger, … Continue reading (St.) John Cassian: Pt 3, Legacy

(St.) John Cassian: Pt 2, Controversy

Rehabilitating John Cassian I hope my last post made you more interested in this late antique monastic writer.  By the time I’m through with Cassian, we will have seen the controversy as well as the legacy of this great writer, and hopefully you will take more interest in him and the Desert Fathers who inspired … Continue reading (St.) John Cassian: Pt 2, Controversy

(St.) John Cassian: Pt 1, Life

John Cassian (c. 360-435), whose demonological discourses in Conferences 7 & 8 are the subject of my MA Special Essay, is a character with whom few have any acquaintance.  I hope to change that. Cassian was born either in Gaul (now France) or in Dacia (now Romania).  He seems to have received a Classical education … Continue reading (St.) John Cassian: Pt 1, Life

The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus

John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus My rating: 4 of 5 stars I read this book in Eastertide 2015. I’ve been meaning to write about it for about a year, now! Sorry about that. I felt today would be a good day since yesterday was his commemoration in the Eastern Orthodox … Continue reading The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus

Dispassion: Jesus & Superman (also John Climacus)

Dispassion (Gk apatheia) is one of the harder aspects of traditional Christian spirituality to sell today. I know that I have a hard time with it, and when I first heard John Michael Talbot sing, ‘Prayer is the state of dispassion’, I was greatly concerned. At first glance, this term, whether applied to humans striving … Continue reading Dispassion: Jesus & Superman (also John Climacus)

Cassian & Tradition

Just came from a discussion group on the selections from Cassian in The Philokalia, and found that a while ago, whilst thinking on tradition, I’d typed up this from Augustine Casiday’s Tradition and Theology in St. John Cassian: ‘… Cassian’s writings propagate a teaching that he acquired in Egypt, refined and contemplated over the years, … Continue reading Cassian & Tradition

Tomorrow Night: Fasting with John Wesley

For the next four Tuesdays of Lent, the Classic Christian small group will be looking at four spiritual disciplines: Fasting, Simplicity, Worship, and Service.  Tomorrow night, we begin with Fasting. Fasting is a venerable practice engaged in by many of the luminaries of Scripture, from Moses to Elijah to St. Paul to our Lord Jesus … Continue reading Tomorrow Night: Fasting with John Wesley

Revivifying the tradition

One of the main thrusts of Gabriel Bunge’s book about patristic prayer, Earthen Vessels, is to drive Christians today back to the tradition and its fountainheads for our guidance on prayer. He believes that our faith fails in the West so often because our praxis of the faith — by which he means things spiritual, not naked … Continue reading Revivifying the tradition

The Patristic Middle Ages

It is only natural for the Anglican who becomes interested in pre-Reformation Christianity to turn to the writers, art, customs, liturgy, etc., of medieval England, or of Britain more widely, even encompassing Ireland. Many are thus drawn in the world of Bede and Cuthbert, or of Anselm and the scholastics. The great soaring cathedrals, ars … Continue reading The Patristic Middle Ages

Evagrius and Scripture

I am revisiting my decade-old work on St John Cassian’s reception of Evagrius Ponticus (d. 399) in his demonology. One false conclusion I drew then was that Cassian had a stronger commitment, or a higher view, of Scripture than Evagrius, explaining some of their differences. As soon as I saw that I had written that, … Continue reading Evagrius and Scripture