A revered instructor of the eremitic monks of Nitria, Sketis and Kellia, Evagrius Ponticus is a fascinating yet enigmatic figure in the history of fourth-century mystical thought. This historical and theological re-evaluation of the teaching of Evagrius brings to bear evidence from the Greek and Syriac Evagriana. Focusing on Evagrius' concept of perfection as the acquisition of spiritual knowledge, this book revisits current perceptions of Evagrius's thought and character by comparing and contrasting him with his contemporaries and predecessors, both Christian and pagan. Ideas of the three 'Cappadocians' and the author of the Macariana, as well as Stoic, Neo-Platonic and earlier Christian writers such as Alcinoos, Plotinus, Clement and Origen, are all explored. Konstantinovsky draws attention to a lack of uniformity in the fourth-century views on the origin of the soul, the body-soul relation, and the eschatological destiny of humankind.
’… brings a shaft of light to the often dark and contentious world of Origenist scholarship. The very clarity with which Dr Konstantinovsky presents Evagrius’ teaching makes this book exceptionally valuable for exploring his influence… This is an important work that merits an attention as careful as the attention the author has brought to her sources.’ Journal of Theological Studies ’This book provides a critical and well-devised argument for understanding Evagrius as a Gnostic and would certainly prove to be very useful and stimulating for scholars of both ancient studies and spirituality.’ Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Evagrius in situ: the making of a gnostic; Knowledge through mental faculties in relation to spiritual knowledge; Natural contemplation versus knowledge of God's essence; The intellect's vision of light; Christology; The last things; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.