The Infantile Adam and Asceticism as an Inherent Part of Creation
This chapter considers the theological milieu that informs Isaac’s protological narrative, which in turn, informs his eschatology. Isaac’s protology is influenced by the infantile Adam tradition begun by Theodore of Mopsuestia, but preserved in the extant Syriac tradition by Narsai. According to both Theodore and Narsai, God intentionally created Adam in a mortal state so that Adam could pursue immortality through a process of maturation from infant to adult. Isaac repeats this position and cites Theodore as a source, but he also adds a unique ascetical component from Pseudo-Macarius. In particular, he says that the bodily labor assigned to Adam as a consequence of the fall has become the primary means by which human beings undergo the maturation process. Since the time of Christ, this bodily labor has taken on the form of monastic asceticism, which Isaac describes with “cultivation” language inspired by the Syriac version of the Pseudo-Macarian corpus.
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