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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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Conclusion: John Climacus’ Achievement

Conclusion: John Climacus’ Achievement

Chapter:
(p.224) Conclusion: John Climacus’ Achievement
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/9780198724940.003.0008

The book concludes that John Climacus not only drew upon a variety of ideas of memory and practice of death from earlier ascetic literature, but that he drew these ideas together to make of them a unifying and generative principle of the ascetic life. For him the great inheritance of Desert and Gazan literature becomes the point on which he exercises his own genius: death becomes the means of contouring, cultivating, and communicating a Christian identity. It is also concluded, in light of this, that the Ladder is an eminently creative work, precisely by being so traditional. It is the ways in which John harmonizes formerly dissonant claims about ascetic spirituality that allow him to craft something new and profound, an existential vision of ascetic life founded in death.

Keywords:   John Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent

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