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Evagrius of Pontus: Talking Back--A Monastic Handbook for Combating Demons
Liturgical Press / Paperback
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How did the monks of the Egyptian desert resist temptation and fight against the passions of gluttony, fornication, and pride that assailed and obstructed their contemplation of God? According to Evagrius of Pontus (345-399), the monk should "talk back" using relevant passages from Scripture. In his book Talking Back, Evagrius, one of the greatest spiritual directors of ancient monasticism, lists over 500 thoughts or circumstances in which the monk might find himself being tempted. In addition to this list, Evagrius provides the corresponding biblical passages by which the monk should respond. Fully translated into English for the first time, this popular book of late antiquity and the Byzantine East helps us to explore the central aspects of early monastic spirituality. Paperback.
How did the monks of the Egyptian desert fight against the demons that attacked them with tempting thoughts? How could Christians resist the thoughts of gluttony, fornication, or pride that assailed them and obstructed their contemplation of God? According to Evagrius of Pontus (345-399), one of the greatest spiritual directors of ancient monasticism, the monk should "talk back" to demons with relevant passages from the Bible. His book Talking Back (Antirrhetikos) lists over 500 thoughts or circumstances in which the demon-fighting monk might find himself, along with the biblical passages with which the monk should respond. It became one of the most popular books among the ascetics of Late Antiquity and the Byzantine East, but until now the entire text had not been translated into English. From Talking Back we gain a better understanding of Evagrius's eight primary demons: gluttony, fornication, love of money, sadness, anger, listlessness, vainglory, and pride. We can explore a central aspect of early monastic spirituality, and we get a glimpse of the temptations and anxieties that the first desert monks faced.
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