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The Role of Death in the Ladder of Divine Ascent and the Greek Ascetic Tradition$
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Jonathan L. Zecher

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198724940

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198724940.001.0001

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Introduction: Approaching the Ladder as a Text in Tradition

Introduction: Approaching the Ladder as a Text in Tradition

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: Approaching the Ladder as a Text in Tradition
Source:
The Role of Death in the Ladder of Divine Ascent and the Greek Ascetic Tradition
Author(s):

Jonathan L. Zecher

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198724940.003.0001

The Introduction sets out the need for this book, by demonstrating the Ladder’s popularity among readers across social strata, as well as its influence on later Byzantine monasticism. This chapter lays out what scholarship there is on the Ladder in terms of two hermeneutical trends, inspired alternatively by the Ladder’s traditionality and influence: to read the Ladder as a precursor of hesychast spirituality, or to reduce it to the sum of its sources. The Ladder, however, allows three models of orientation toward tradition: submission, refusal, and combination. In light of these models, this chapter establishes the hermeneutic that will guide this book: to read the Ladder within the genealogy of its sources and influences, but to look especially for how it differs from those sources, and how it develops them with regard to the particular theme of death.

Keywords:   Evagrian-Macarian synthesis, St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, Philokalia hesychasm, Byzantine literature, Gregory Palamas, monastic formation

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