Author Topic: "A Theologian is One who Prays"  (Read 11675 times)

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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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"A Theologian is One who Prays"
« on: January 29, 2007, 08:42:05 PM »
I am looking for primary references to all the Fathers who have advocated one form or another of the "a theologian is one who prays" maxim, as well as the exact form of that maxim as explicated by each respective Father. As far as I am aware, Evagrius of Pontus, Neilos the Ascetic, and Gregory the Theologian, in addition to Philoxenus of Mabbugh of the OO tradition and Gregory Palamas of the EO tradition, all purported one form of the maxim or another, though the secondary sources I have consulted do not give primary references to any of their quotations, and tend to quote them inconsistently. Any quick help (as in within the next week, preferably) in this regard would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: "A Theologian is One who Prays"
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2007, 11:29:29 PM »
One passage comes to mind for Gregory the Theologian, though this may not be what you (or the people you were reading) were thinking of...

"Next, on what subjects and to what extent may we philosophize? On matters within our reach, and to such an extent as the mental power and grasp of our audience may extend.  No further, lest, as excessively loud sounds injure the hearing, or excess of food the body, or, if you will, as excessive burdens beyond the strength injure those who bear them, or excessive rains the earth; so these too, being pressed down and overweighted by the stiffness, if I may use the expression, of the arguments should suffer loss even in respect of the strength they originally possessed.

Now, I am not saying that it is not needful to remember God at all times;...I must not be misunderstood, or I shall be having these nimble and quick people down upon me again.  For we ought to think of God even more often than we draw our breath; and if the expression is permissible, we ought to do nothing else.  Yea, I am one of those who entirely approve that Word which bids us meditate day and night, and tell at eventide and morning and noon day, and praise the Lord at every time; or, to use Moses' words, whether a man lie down, or rise up, or walk by the way, or whatever else he be doing--and by this recollection we are to be moulded to purity.  So that it is not the continual remembrance of God that I would hinder, but only the talking about God; nor even that as in itself wrong, but only when seasonable; nor all teaching, but only want of moderation." - Oration 27, 4-5

The only reference for Evagrius I could find was the following, which I found in an online copy of The Orthodox Church by Bp. Kallistos:

"Theology, mysticism, spirituality, moral rules, worship, art: these things must not be kept in separate compartments. Doctrine cannot be understood unless it is prayed: a theologian, said Evagrius, is one who knows how to pray, and he who prays in spirit and in truth is by that very act a theologian (On Prayer, 60 (P. G. 79, 1180B))."

Offline Salpy

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Re: "A Theologian is One who Prays"
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2007, 11:58:41 PM »
I have the exact quote from St. Evagrius.  It is from his Chapters on Prayer.  It's Chapter 60.  (Actually, the "chapters" are more like little sayings.)  Here it is:

"If you are a theologian you truly pray.  If you truly pray you are a theologian."

This is the book I got it from:

By the way, is anyone here really familiar with St. Evagrius?  I have a question about him I would like to ask and discuss.  It has to do with what he had to say about images during prayer.  He was very against having any image in your mind during prayer.  I understand that idea, but his language seemed so strong one almost gets the impression he would not have liked icons.  If anyone knows about St. Evagrius and wants to discuss that, just say so and I'll start a new thread with the actual quotes or "chapters" that I am concerned about.  I don't want to get this thread off track.  Thanks

Offline serb1389

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Re: "A Theologian is One who Prays"
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2007, 12:01:25 AM »
I've done some work on Evagrius.  I'd love to take another look at his writings.  Just link the new thread, if you're going to start one, here on this thread so that I can find it easier. 

I'm just being lazy now.  Just start the new thread if you want.  I'll try to contribute whatever I can. 

Offline Salpy

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Re: "A Theologian is One who Prays"
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2007, 01:34:27 AM »