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Isaac of Nineveh's Ascetical Eschatology$
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Jason Scully

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803584

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803584.001.0001

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The Syriac Sources for Isaac of Nineveh’s Development of Wonder and Astonishment

The Syriac Sources for Isaac of Nineveh’s Development of Wonder and Astonishment

Chapter:
(p.73) 4 The Syriac Sources for Isaac of Nineveh’s Development of Wonder and Astonishment
Source:
Isaac of Nineveh's Ascetical Eschatology
Author(s):

Jason Scully

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198803584.003.0004

This chapter shows that Isaac derives his conceptual framework for the concept of ecstasy, along with the technical terms wonder and astonishment, from sources that were originally written in Syriac. In particular, both Ephrem and John the Solitary situate wonder and astonishment within the framework of the future world, which means that Isaac’s desire to frame wonder and astonishment in terms of the mind’s ability to wander into heaven and acquire knowledge of the future world demonstrates his dependence on a trajectory of thought that arises from these two authors. Isaac, however, offers the distinct contribution of describing this connection between wonder and knowledge of the future world with the language of itinerancy. According to Isaac, perfect Christians obtain heavenly knowledge during the moment of prayer, when their minds become itinerant and wander into heaven in order to receive a pledge of the heavenly mysteries from the Holy Spirit.

Keywords:   Isaac of Nineveh, John the Solitary, Ephrem, wonder, astonishment, ecstasy, itinerancy, pledge, Holy Spirit

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