Patristic Spirituality

Classical Perspectives on Ascent in the Journey to God

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How does one grow holy in such times? This question drove the early Christian imagination no less than it does today. Patristic Spirituality: Classical Perspectives on Ascent to the Divine features numerous studies offering an “itinerary” for early Christian believers wishing to enter into the divine presence. Readers will discover an array of perennial early Christian wisdom into the practical challenges of ascent, “a work of God in Christ, transforming and incorporating us,” says Lewis Ayres. See how early Christians cultivated the life of grace with hospitality, silence, almsgiving, and other ascetic practices for human elevation into mystical union with God.

Contributors are: Benjamin D. Wayman, John S. Bergsma and Luke Iyengar, Hans Boersma, Stanley E. Porter, Gregory Vall Don W. Springer, Bogdan G. Bucur, Amy Brown Hughes, Sean Argondizza-Moberg, Stephen M. Hildebrand, Brian Matz, Anna Silvas, Ann Conway-Jones, Sandy L. Haney, Despina D. Prassas, Gerald Boersma, Brian E. Daley, Andrew Louth, Jonathan L. Zecher, Kevin M. Clarke, Lewis Ayres.

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Don W. Springer, Ph.D. (2019), McMaster Divinity College, is Patristics Assistant at that college and a former faculty member at the Pappas Patristic Institute’s summer patristics program. He has published several articles and book chapters on early Christian theology and spirituality.

Kevin M. Clarke, Ph.D. (2018), Ave Maria University, is Dean of the Institute of Lay Ministry and Associate Professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. He has published or has forthcoming essays on Maximus, patristic Biblical exegesis, Scripture, Mariology, and spirituality.
Contents
List of Contributors

Introduction: The Patristic Understanding of Ascent in the Economy of God
Don W. Springer and Kevin M. Clarke

Part 1: Backgrounds and Sources


1 Ascent in the Psalms
Benjamin D. Wayman

2 Liturgical Ascent at Qumran: The Essenes and Early Christianity
John S. Bergsma and Luke Iyengar

3 Plotinus and the Ascent to Beauty
Hans Boersma

4 Ascent in the New Testament
Stanley E. Porter

Part 2: From Nascent Church to Nicaea


5 Attaining God: The Spiritual Theology of Ignatius of Antioch
Gregory Vall

6 Irenaeus on Divine Ascent
Don W. Springer

7 “Ever Reaching for Higher and Higher Places”: Clement of Alexandria on Spiritual Ascent
Bogdan G. Bucur

8 Scito te ipsum: Ascent and Encounter in Origen of Alexandria’s Commentary on the Song of Songs
Amy Brown Hughes

Part 3: From Nicaea to Chalcedon


9 Ascent in the Apophthegmata Patrum: The Greek Systematic Collection as a Spiritual Itinerary
Sean Argondizza-Moberg

10 Spirit-Bearing Souls Illuminated by the Spirit: St. Basil on Ascent
Stephen M. Hildebrand

11 Silence, Speech and Ascent to God: Gregory Nazianzen’s Letters and Poems on His Lenten Silence of 382
Brian Matz

12 St. Macrina the Younger: The Mystagogy of Ascending Descent in Christ
Anna M. Silvas

13 Anagogical Exegesis: Gregory of Nyssa and Moses’ Ascent of Mount Sinai
Ann Conway-Jones

14 Married Women and Ascent
Sandy L. Haney

15 Evagrius and the Re-ascent of the νοῦς to Union with God
Despina D. Prassas

16 Incarnational and Theophanic Anagogy in De Trinitate
Gerald P. Boersma

Part 4: Post-Chalcedonian Perspectives


17 The Divinization of the Theotokos: Fifth-Century Christological Controversy and the Figure of Mary
Brian E. Daley, SJ

18 Divine Ascent in Dionysius the Areopagite
Andrew Louth

19 Doctrine’s Role in the Ascent to God according to John Climacus
Jonathan L. Zecher

20 Biblical Love, Insatiable Satisfaction, and Deification in Maximus the Confessor
Kevin M. Clarke

Afterword
Lewis Ayres

Index
Academic libraries, specialists, institutions, graduate and post-graduate students. Subject areas: Theology, patristics, early Christianity, Christian spirituality, mysticism, philosophy.
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