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Apatheia in the teachings of Evagrius Ponticus

By M. Tobon


This thesis is to my knowledge the first full-length examination of Evagrian apatheia. Chapter One contextualises Evagrian apatheia by outlining Evagrius' cosmology and anthropology. Attention is drawn to the centrality within them of the distinction be-tween unstable and stable movement and to Evagrius' characterisation of apatheia and empatheia in these terms. Apatheia, as the stable movement of the soul, is noted to be the foundation for the transformative contemplation by means of which the fallen nous re-ascends to union with God. The anthropology section describes Evagrius' understanding of the nous, soul, body and heart. Chapter Two examines the psychology and phenomenology of empatheia. Section One focuses upon the logismoi, discussing what Evagrius means by the term logismos, noting the inherence of pathos to the logismoi, explaining his concept of the 'matter' of the logismoi and discussing his eightfold classification of 'most generic logismoi'. Section Two focuses upon pathos, discussing the meaning of the term within Greek philosophy, how Origen understands it and how Evagrius himself understands it. It then discusses the cognitive 'building blocks' of the logismoi, the empathē noēmata and the arousal of pathos. Section Three describes the phenomenology of empatheia. Chapter Three establishes that the subject of apatheia is the tripartite soul in its entirety, then adduces evidence for apatheia's being the stable movement of the soul. It then dis-cusses Evagrius' spiritual characterisations of apatheia – first as death and resurrection and then as love and knowledge, the latter including practical moral knowledge as well as knowledge of transcendent realities. The holistic, embodied nature of spiritual knowledge as understood by Evagrius is emphasised, as is the inseparability of knowledge from love. His understanding of apatheia is shown to be profoundly Christian, and in particular Pauline. Following a discussion of how apatheia is attained, the chapter concludes with a summary description of apatheia as understood by Evagrius

Publisher: UCL (University College London)
Year: 2010
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Provided by: UCL Discovery

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  3. (2005). Steps to Spiritual Perfection:
  4. (1987). The Hellenistic Philosophers, 2 volumes,

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