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Charisma and Spirituality in the Early Church: A Study of Messalianism and Pseudo-Macarius

Burns, Stuart Keith (1999) Charisma and Spirituality in the Early Church: A Study of Messalianism and Pseudo-Macarius. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The thesis is an investigation into the concept of Charisma and Spirituality in the Early Church with particular emphasis upon the writings of Ps-Macarius, and of a group of ascetics known as the Messalians, evident in the late fourth / early fifth centuries. The Macarian writings are examined to see what they reveal about the experiential pneumatic theology of the Early Church, the relationship between Syrian and Hellenic traditions of Christian Rhetoric, and the relationship between Ps-Macarius and the Cappadocian Circle. The Macarian corpus as a whole is examined to assess its rhetorical influences and style. The rhetoric of the Macarian corpus is seen to illustrate a high degree of sophistication. This study also gives definition to two terms that have become imprecise and diverse in their use: 'enkrateia' (self-control), and `Syrian Christianity'. By isolating the characteristics of enkratefa the definitive stages of an encratic lifestyle are identified. The breaking down of the term into enkrateia, radical enkrateta and exclusive enkrateta enables a much clearer discussion to take place as to the nature of the encratic theology of a group or individual. The final element of this study is a consideration of the distinct Macarian imagery that is evident within the corpus. Two images are considered in detail, the 'flight of the soul' and 'sober intoxication'. Overall this study shows the variety of influences upon Ps-Macarius, and the uniqueness of his expression. The influences upon Ps-Macarius include a context of endemic Syrian spirituality, a radical encratic lifestyle, a Hellenic rhetorical training, and a distinct interpretation of Platonic and Neo- Platonic images, coupled to the wider Judaic / Mesopotamian influences of his Church. It is shown that Ps-Macarius represents an individual voice that is distinct and recognisable amongst the Fathers of the Church.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Humanities (Leeds) > School of Theology & Religious Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2011 14:08
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:47
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1762

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