Aaron HollanderMonday, April 7, 2014 12:00 noon-1:25 pm Swift Hall, Room 200

Join us for a special joint session of the Theology Workshop and the Workshop on Late Antiquity and Byzantium for Aaron’s Hollander’s paper, “A Heart Like Bright Water: Contemplating and Cultivating Holiness with the Theological Metaphor of Evagrius Ponticus”.

No less than the narrative or iconic depiction of saints, ascetic discourse is “hagiographical” in that it accounts for the designation of holy people on the basis of anthropology, psychology, and theology. By way of demonstration, this paper analyzes the contemplative pedagogy of Evagrius Ponticus, lifting from it a particularly coherent and influential vision of holiness and its impediments. Evagrius distinguishes between registers of spiritual violence by way of metaphorical reasoning, depicting such distortions as forms of watery disturbance with qualitatively different countermeasures. Not only his diagnoses but also his prescriptions are metaphorically aqueous: cleaning and irrigating the soul, and breaking it open as a fountain of the Holy Spirit. The ingenuity of Evagrius’ hagiographical vision is here the basis for constructive uptake, rearticulating in contemporary idiom the relationships he identifies between human interiority and the “demonic” disordering that corrupts and captivates our dispositional-institutional life in the world.

A light lunch will be served.

We recommend that participants read the paper in advance.  It can be accessed using your CNetID credentials here:


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