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Repentance and confession: Teaching in ancient philosophy and early monasticism
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
2018 (English)In: Studi medievali (1928), ISSN 0391-8467Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

It is well known that monasticism was crucial to the development of repentance in early Christianity. With monasticism followed a renewal of the earlier practice with great importance for later Christian traditions. But were these changes just an internal development of earlier Christian teaching adjusted to new circumstances? Or were there also new impulses from external sources? In this paper, the teaching on repentance and confession in the Institutes and the Conferences by John Cassian (d. 435) and the Apophthegmata Patrum (from 5th/6th century), is compared with teachings related to the tendency towards the “care of the self” in late antique philosophy. In contrast to scholars who often have underscored the difference between the two traditions, this essay argues that the new monastic contribution to the earlier Christian practice of repentance can to a large extent be explained as adaptions of well-known practices or “technologies of the self” within late antique philosophy. Clement of Alexandria and Origen seems to have been crucial pioneers in this adaption, but traditions of philosophy were also filtered directly into the monastic tradition independently from these earlier Christian authors. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
repentance, confession, early monasticism, Greco-Roman philosophy, Apophthegmata Patrum, Seneca the Younger, Plutarch, Michel Foucault, technologies of the self, Care of the self
National Category
History of Religions
Research subject
History of Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154141OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-154141DiVA, id: diva2:1191133
Funder
Riksbankens JubileumsfondAvailable from: 2018-03-16 Created: 2018-03-16 Last updated: 2018-06-21

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