|Life of Anthony
|This business of saying, as you do, that the monk is in the same boat with the Manichaean but just refuses, out of a Christian instinct and good sense, to be logical about it, is I think wrong. About early monastic literature, two things have to be observed first of all:1. There are several different traditional blocks of texts. The Syrian tend to be very negative, gnostic, Manichaean (exception made for Ephrem, who is utterly different). But note for instance the development in the ideas of Chrysostom, for example. Then there is the reaction of Basil and the Cappadocians (blending Syrian with Egyptian-Greek lines). The Greek-Egyptian hermit school, Origenist and Evagrian, less negative than the Syrians, more balanced. Here in the Life of Anthony, a classic source if ever there was one, Athanasius goes to great pains to have Anthony say that all creation is very good and nothing is to be rejected, even the devils are good insofar as they are creatures, etc. etc.
|The Hidden Ground of Love: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Experience and Social Concerns.; Selected and edited by William H. Shannon. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1985, p. 504
|Rosemary Radford Ruether
|Link to Merton's Copy
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