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Demons Without And Within: The Representation Of Demons, The Saint, And The Soul In Early Christian Lives, Letters And Sayings

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses one aspect of the way in which demons are portrayed and interpreted in early Christian texts, namely the extent to which they are seen as representative of external or internal forces. It presents two case-studies based on two sets of early Christian texts. It discusses a hagiographical text and compares the stylized image of the vita with the more direct voice found in other sources, such as letters and sayings. Thus, it juxtaposes the Life of Antony by Athanasius and the Life of Macrina by Gregory of Nyssa. The chapter discusses the contributions of various authors concerning demons and the conceptualization of the soul. It concludes that a connection exists between the way in which demons figure in the lives of saints and the way in which the progress of the saint is measured. Finally, it explains how this relates to the position of the reader.

Keywords: Athanasius; Christian texts; demons; Gregory of Nyssa; letters; Life of Antony; Life of Macrina; saint; sayings; soul



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