Evagrius Ponticus: The Praktikos. Chapters on Prayer
“Evagrius Ponticus: The Praktikos. Chapters on Prayer” (Cistercian Studies, 1972)
Evagrius Ponticus (Author), John Eudes Bamberger (Translator)
The living link through whom the ascetic principles of hellenistic philosophers passed into monasticism, Evagrius molded christian asceticism through his own works and through his influence on John Cassian, Climacus, Pseudo ‘Denis’, and Saint Benedict.
Bamberger (background as a psychiatrist, as a monk, and as an erudite historian) gives us a clear view on the work of Evagrius (345-399). Evagrius, an important theologian in the 4th and 5th century, left the upper circles of Byzantine Constantinople, to live a humble and ascetic life as a monk in North African desert. In this period Evagrius wrote a system of guide-lines and psycho-religious support to help monks resisting mental temptations. Bamberger shows us in a clear and understandable way the surprising similarities between Evagrius’ system and modern descriptive psychology. This book offers a fascinating focus on an important early period of European development of spiritual thinking and mental life, and provides help for people that want to take the matter up of serious prayer and contemplation.
Evagrius was an able disciple of Alexandrine theological school, as practiced by the Desert Fathers, as Coenobitic monastic tradition. He creatively transmitted the essence of Coptic spirituality that deeply influenced Oriental and Western Christian thinkers from John Cassian to Simeon the new theologian, and his influence is still felt today.
“Evagrius Ponticus (Greek: Εὐάγριος ὁ Ποντικός, “Evagrius of Pontus”), also called Evagrius the Solitary (345-399 AD), was a Christian monk and ascetic. One of most influential theologians in the late fourth-century church, he was well known as a thinker, polished speaker, and gifted writer. He left a promising ecclesiastical career in Constantinople and traveled to Jerusalem, where in 383 he became a monk at the monastery of Rufinus and Melania the Elder. He then went to Egypt and spent the remaining years of his life in Nitria and Kellia, marked by years of asceticism and writing. He was a disciple of several influential contemporary church leaders, including Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Macarius of Egypt. He was teacher of others, including John Cassian and Palladius.”
Father Gabriel Bunge “Despondency: The Spiritual Teaching of Evagrius Ponticus on Acedia” [St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011]
This ultimately joyful work is one of the few books available in English to deal exclusively with the problem of despondency—acedia—and how it can be overcome. Bunge analyzes the views of Evagrius Ponticus, the famous “philosopher of the desert,” on the dangers of acedia. Evagrius develops a sophisticated psychology which remains beneficial to us today. Indeed, this 4th-century Desert Father writes for Christians everywhere: for those in modern deserts—the city—and for those subject to silent despair.
Father Gabriel Bunge “Dragon’s Wine and Angel’s Bread: The Teaching of Evagrius Ponticus on Anger and Meekness” [St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2009]
Evagrius Ponticus (343-399 AD) spent sixteen years in the desert of Egypt, where he gained the gift of insight into the human soul. His writings influenced the theology of John Cassian, Diadochus of Photike, Maximus the Confessor, and Palladius. Evagrius’ image of the human being, profoundly biblical, allowed for a perceptive understanding of anger, its causes, consequences and cures. His major study on the topic “not ordinarily covered in works of theology” appears here in the English language for the first time and offers timeless wisdom on struggling with this passion.