"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Evagrius Pontus

Interest in Evagrius of Pontus has exploded. Over a dozen books--and hundreds of articles and reviews--have been published in the last decade alone, and in English alone--with still more works in French and German, inter alia. Andriy Chirovsky wrote a long and lovely review essay on many of these new books, which was published last year in Logos. There he very helpfully looked at the whole controversy that has sometimes attended Evagrius--was he an "Origenist" or not? And was he therefore under the same cloud that some have said hangs over Origen from the Fifth Ecumenical Council onward? (The increasing scholarly consensus is "no" to both questions, based on analysis not merely of the works of Origen and Evagrius, but also of the critical editions of the acta of the council. One good treatment of this question is Augustine Casiday, "On Heresy in Modern Patristic Scholarship: the Case of Evagrius Ponticus, Heythrop Journal 49 [2008].) The books continue pour forth about Evagrius, not merely because of his influence in shaping monasticism and spiritual practices, but also because of his astute and penetrating insights into human psychology 1700 years before Freud et al. (e.g., Evagrius's work on the logismoi).

Now we have yet another book about Evagrius. This one, somewhat oddly titled, comes from one of the great patristic and monastic scholars of our time, Gabriel Bunge:

Gabriel Bunge, Dragon's Wine and Angel's Bread: the Teaching of Evagrius Ponticus on Anger and Meekness (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 2009).

I hope to see this reviewed in Logos next year.

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