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Evagrius Ponticus;Early Christian Asceticism;Body;Ambivalence
|Issue Date: ||2020-06-22 14:31:29 (UTC+8)|
The present study explores the notion of the body in the ascetic work of Evagrius Ponticus, a key figure of early Christian asceticism, who was also known as a desert father in the fourth century Egypt. A notable ambivalence toward the body is evident in Evagrius’ writing. On the one hand, Evagrius sees the body that is dominated by passions, also referred to by Evagrius as “flesh,” can obstruct the goal of the monk (i.e., prayer and contemplation). Carrying negative bodily connotations, “flesh” is to be dealt with by the bodily and spiritual ascetic disciplines (i.e., fasting, prayer, vigil…etc.) so that passions can be eliminated. Ultimately, based on the Platonic scheme, Evagrius’ ascetic practice is to help the monk detach from the influence of the body and the material world in order that the monk may concentrate on prayer and contemplation. On the other hand, within the context of Evagrius’ cosmology, the body is also construed positively as part of God’s creation according to the biblical tradition. Evagrius also describes the body as an instrument through which a human may work out salvation. That is to say, the body was created by God with the purpose of helping human beings return to the original, unfallen state. It is only through the body that human beings can learn to overcome passions, make progress in establishing virtues, and ultimately advance to the level of contemplation and acquire the knowledge of God. Furthermore, in accordance with the Greek ideal of moderation, Evagrius’ cautions and exhortations to the monks against extreme forms of asceticism disclose a fundamental care for the body. As such, Evagrius’ ascetic thought demonstrates an ambivalence towards the body, which also reflects his double heritages of both Greek philosophy and Christian faith.
|Relation: ||臺灣宗教研究, Vol.17, No.2, pp.1-40|
|Data Type: ||article|
|Appears in Collections:||[歷史學系] 期刊論文|
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