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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 Greek Sources for Isaac of Nineveh’s Development of Wonder and Astonishment

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

Chapter:
(p.92) 5 The Greek 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/9780198803584.003.0005

This chapter shows that Isaac derives specific definitions for the ecstatic experience of wonder and astonishment from Syriac translations of two sources that were originally written in Greek: Pseudo-Dionysius’s Mystical Theology and a series of Evagrian texts. The first section of this chapter concludes that Isaac uses language from the first chapter of Pseudo-Dionysius’s Mystical Theology in order to establish a connection between language of light and darkness and the theme of the Shekinah, on the one hand, and wonder and astonishment on the other. The second section shows that Isaac explicitly equates either wonder or astonishment with two Evagrian technical terms—“solitary knowledge” and “purity of mind”—and two Evagrian concepts—the joy that occurs during prayer and angelic visitation.

Keywords:   Isaac of Nineveh, Evagrius, Pseudo-Dionysius, Sergius of Reshaina, wonder, astonishment, ecstasy, light, darkness, Shekinah

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