Christian culture

Evagrius Ponticus on the Evil of Anger

Author: XU Qinqin, Lecturer, School of Marxism Studies, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University

 

Abstract:

Evagrius Ponticus was an influential theologian of the late fourth-century who has received little attention in Chinese academia. He was the first desert father to synthesize and develop the system of eight evil thoughts (or temptations), which later developed into the seven deadly sins of the medieval ages. This article introduces Evagrius by focusing on his ideas on anger, the fourth (sometimes fifth) evil thought on his list. Evagrius regarded anger as the most dangerous thought that monks had to deal with in struggling to maintain peace of mind and converse with the Creator. Based on Evagrius’ texts, this essay shows that Evagrius’ serious evaluation of anger lies in his understanding of the human soul. Unlike other philosophers, Evagrius considers the irascible part of the human soul the most demonic power in the soul, arising from perverted activities and being very difficult to appease. Because anger disturbs the contemplative life, darkening the mind and making pure prayer, “the mind’s highest act of intellection,” impossible, it is particularly important to overcome anger, and Evagrius’ text introduces therapies for anger to his readers.

 

Keywords:

Evagrius Ponticus, logismoi, anger, desert fathers, prayer

 

Full Text (International Version):

XU QinqinSCN JSCC.pdf

 

Full Text (Simplified Chinese Version): 

XU QinqinSCN JSCC.pdf