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Prayer As Theology

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Chapter Summary

According to the lesson learned in the desert school, the ascetical path to prayer results in a theologian, and a theologian may be defined as someone capacitated to pray. When the desert tradition speaks of the passions, it means those thoughts and states which separate a person from God because they dampen agape. Evagrius bespeaks a long-standing psychological intuition of the ascetical tradition when he observes that it is not in one?s power to determine whether they are disturbed by these thoughts. Not until the passions are under control (apatheia) is it possible to do cosmology or, as Evagrius calls it in the second stage, physike. It is a marvel to see a mediated God in the thousand mirrors of a thousand creatures, but it is penultimate to the third and final stage, the one Evagrius calls theologia. Prayer is the Trinity?s perichoresis kenotically extended to invite one's ascension.

Keywords: apatheia; ascetical tradition; Christian prayer tradition; desert school; Evagrius Pontikus; physike; theologia; Trinity?s perichoresis

10.1163/ej.9789004171220.i-460.37
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