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Reading John Climacus: Rhetorical Argumentation, Literary Convention and the Tradition of Monastic Formation

Rydell Johnsén, Henrik LU (2007)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Denna avhandling består av en undersökning av den litterära formen och den litterära kompositionen hos Johannes Klimakos Stege, samt en studie av hur författaren använder traditionen för att undervisa sin läsare.



Förutom en kort introduktion och en genomgång av tidigare forskning, omfattar avhandlingen fyra kapitel. I det första kapitlet visas, utifrån ett antal detaljerade textanalyser, att textmaterialet i de enskilda stegen i texten inte är slumpmässigt uppställt, utan ordnat efter litterära konventioner för att leda läsaren genom en specifik undervisning.



I andra kapitlet bekräftas observationerna från kapitel ett genom en jämförelse med litterär praxis.... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Denna avhandling består av en undersökning av den litterära formen och den litterära kompositionen hos Johannes Klimakos Stege, samt en studie av hur författaren använder traditionen för att undervisa sin läsare.



Förutom en kort introduktion och en genomgång av tidigare forskning, omfattar avhandlingen fyra kapitel. I det första kapitlet visas, utifrån ett antal detaljerade textanalyser, att textmaterialet i de enskilda stegen i texten inte är slumpmässigt uppställt, utan ordnat efter litterära konventioner för att leda läsaren genom en specifik undervisning.



I andra kapitlet bekräftas observationerna från kapitel ett genom en jämförelse med litterär praxis. Utifrån en omfattande korrespondens i fråga om litterär komposition mellan Stegen och moraltraktater av Seneca d.y. och Plutarchos från Chaironeia, hävdas att vi bör omvärdera vår förståelse av textens litterära form. Stegen är inte en samling aforismer utan en argumentativ moraltraktat.



I det tredje kapitlet undersöks Stegen i fråga om litterär stil. Det visas att textens komposition i stor utsträckning förefaller var bestämd av litterära stilideal. Textens fragmentariska uttryck är inte osannolikt en effekt av vad som har kallats the jeweled style inom senantik poesi och prosa.



I fjärde kapitlet visas, inte bara att Johannes Klimakos i stor utsträckning arbetar med den monastiska traditionen i form av texter, utan också att han använder texter och textmönster för sitt eget syfte och sin egen argumentation. Det hävdas i motsats till tidigare forskning att Stegen bör förstås, inte som en systematisering eller summering av vad vi finner hos ökenfäderna, utan som en undervisning där traditionen återanvänds med ett specifikt syfte, att förbereda munken i klostret för eremitlivet. Det visas också hur Johannes Klimakos läser arvet från Evagrios Pontikos med nya ögon; fokus i den asketiska kampen har flyttats från vreden och strävan efter ett rent sinne, till det kroppsliga begäret och strävan efter en ren och förvandlad kropp. (Less)
Abstract
This thesis offers an investigation of the literary form and the literary composition of The Ladder by John Climacus, as well as a study of how the author uses the tradition to form his reader.



Besides a brief introduction with a survey of the previous research, the study comprises four chapters. In the first chapter it is shown, from a number of detailed text analyses, that the material in the steps is not arranged at random, but ordered according different literary conventions in order to lead the reader along a specific trail of teaching.



In the second chapter the observations are confirmed by a comparison with literary practice. From the considerable correspondence regarding the literary... (More)
This thesis offers an investigation of the literary form and the literary composition of The Ladder by John Climacus, as well as a study of how the author uses the tradition to form his reader.



Besides a brief introduction with a survey of the previous research, the study comprises four chapters. In the first chapter it is shown, from a number of detailed text analyses, that the material in the steps is not arranged at random, but ordered according different literary conventions in order to lead the reader along a specific trail of teaching.



In the second chapter the observations are confirmed by a comparison with literary practice. From the considerable correspondence regarding the literary composition between The Ladder and the moral treatises of Seneca the Younger and Plutarch of Chaironeia, it is argued that we need to revise our understanding of the literary form of the text. What is at hand is not a gnomic collection, but an argumentative moral treatise.



In the third chapter The Ladder is investigated in terms of literary style. It is shown that the composition of the text, to a great extent, seems to be determined by stylistic ideals. The fragmentary impression of the text, it is argued, is not unlikely the effect of what has been called the jeweled style of late antique poetry and prose.



In the fourth chapter it is demonstrated, not just that John Climacus to a great extent is working with the monastic tradition in terms of texts, but also that he uses texts and textual patterns to suit his own purpose and argument. It is argued in contrast to previous research that The Ladder ought to be understood, not as a systematisation or a summary of the doctrines of the desert fathers, but as a teaching where the tradition is reused with a specific aim: to prepare the monk in the monastery for solitude. It is also shown how John Climacus rereads the heritage from Evagrius Ponticus; the focus in the ascetic struggle is changed from anger and the attainment of a pure mind, to lust and a purified and transformed body. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Ass. Prof. Høgel, Christian, Institut for Historie, Kultur og Samfundsbeskrivelse, University of Southern Denmark
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Hermogenes, Late Antiquity, Early Christianity, Sinai, rhetoric, cardinal vices, moral formation, John Climacus, monasticism, Religious Studies and Theology, Evagrius Ponticus, progymnasmata, Seneca, Apophthegmata Patrum, Plutarch, Religion och teologi
pages
303 pages
publisher
Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University
defense location
sal 118, Centrum för Teologi och Religionsvetenskap, Allhelgona kyrkogata 8, Lund.
defense date
2007-12-08 13:15
ISBN
978-91-977212-1-9
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8a0fd427-6292-45f4-8475-cf86f0e1a4c9 (old id 599320)
date added to LUP
2007-12-03 16:34:06
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:09
@phdthesis{8a0fd427-6292-45f4-8475-cf86f0e1a4c9,
  abstract     = {This thesis offers an investigation of the literary form and the literary composition of The Ladder by John Climacus, as well as a study of how the author uses the tradition to form his reader.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Besides a brief introduction with a survey of the previous research, the study comprises four chapters. In the first chapter it is shown, from a number of detailed text analyses, that the material in the steps is not arranged at random, but ordered according different literary conventions in order to lead the reader along a specific trail of teaching.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In the second chapter the observations are confirmed by a comparison with literary practice. From the considerable correspondence regarding the literary composition between The Ladder and the moral treatises of Seneca the Younger and Plutarch of Chaironeia, it is argued that we need to revise our understanding of the literary form of the text. What is at hand is not a gnomic collection, but an argumentative moral treatise.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In the third chapter The Ladder is investigated in terms of literary style. It is shown that the composition of the text, to a great extent, seems to be determined by stylistic ideals. The fragmentary impression of the text, it is argued, is not unlikely the effect of what has been called the jeweled style of late antique poetry and prose.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In the fourth chapter it is demonstrated, not just that John Climacus to a great extent is working with the monastic tradition in terms of texts, but also that he uses texts and textual patterns to suit his own purpose and argument. It is argued in contrast to previous research that The Ladder ought to be understood, not as a systematisation or a summary of the doctrines of the desert fathers, but as a teaching where the tradition is reused with a specific aim: to prepare the monk in the monastery for solitude. It is also shown how John Climacus rereads the heritage from Evagrius Ponticus; the focus in the ascetic struggle is changed from anger and the attainment of a pure mind, to lust and a purified and transformed body.},
  author       = {Rydell Johnsén, Henrik},
  isbn         = {978-91-977212-1-9},
  keyword      = {Hermogenes,Late Antiquity,Early Christianity,Sinai,rhetoric,cardinal vices,moral formation,John Climacus,monasticism,Religious Studies and Theology,Evagrius Ponticus,progymnasmata,Seneca,Apophthegmata Patrum,Plutarch,Religion och teologi},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {303},
  publisher    = {Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Reading John Climacus: Rhetorical Argumentation, Literary Convention and the Tradition of Monastic Formation},
  year         = {2007},
}