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The Early Jesus Prayer and Meditation in Greco-Roman Philosophy

  • Henrik Rydell Johnsén
  • Halvor Eifring
Publiceringsår: 2013
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 93-106
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Meditation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Cultural Histories
Dokumenttyp: Del av eller Kapitel i bok
Förlag: Bloomsbury publishing


This article deals with the early development of the Jesus prayer in Early Christian monasticism of the 4th to the 7th century. It proceeds in two steps. First, a quite uniform matrix of practices and aims related to three early monastic authors (John Cassian, Diadochus of Photike, and John Climacus) is discerned. It is evident that the practice is not clearly defined in this period. It is also apparent that the practice evolves in conversation with other similar practices, like the meditation (melétê / meditatio) of short verses from the Bible, and the practice of remembrance of God (mnêmê Theoú). Secondly, from a comparison with meditative practices in Greco-Roman philosophy (Seneca the Younger), it is argued that it is very likely that the early practice of the Jesus prayer, to a large extent, evolves from these philosophical practices. Despite such a probable dependency, there are also apparent changes in the transmission into the new monastic context, like the use of Christian texts as objects of meditation or prayer, an intensified attitude of prayer involved in the practice, and new sorts of attitudes that are to be implanted in one's soul, as effects and aims of the practices.


  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
  • Breathing
  • Diadochus of Photike
  • Early Christianity
  • Greco-Roman Philosophy
  • Interiorization
  • Jesus Prayer
  • John Cassian
  • John Climacus
  • Late Antique Medicine
  • Melétê
  • Meditatio
  • Meditation
  • mnêmê Theoú
  • Monastisicm
  • Practice
  • Recitation
  • Prayer
  • Remembrance of God
  • Seneca the Younger
  • Stoicism
  • Unceasing prayer


  • Det tidiga klosterväsendet och den antika bildningen
  • ISBN: 9781441126085

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