Date of Award

Spring 7-13-2021

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Owen Ewald

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Richard Steele

Keywords

Evagrius, John Cassian, Monastic, Constantine, Kant

Abstract

In the fourth and fifth centuries CE, the monastic movement of Christian individuals to remote and deserted places coincided with Christianity’s increasing popularity and legality in the Roman hegemony of the Mediterranean. The very surprisingness of the movement reveals that the monastics sought something even, and especially, Christian society could not provide. While seeking hēsychia, or stillness, in the deserts, the monks developed a system of morality. This system, as expressed in the collections of stories and the codifications which have come down to us, provides perspective on the dominant moral systems introduced in the modern era. Drawing on Biblical and Aristotelian vocabulary, the monastic moral system distinguishes between different forms of time (chronos, kairos, and aiōn) and different types of goals (skopoi and telē). As contrasted with utilitarian or deontological moral systems, the monks located morality in the person, and consequently incorporated emotion, vocation, and kairotic timing in the discernment of just action.

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