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Title: John Moschus, Sophronius Sophista and Maximus Confessor between East and West
Author: Booth, P. A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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Recent research has suggested the nullification of tensions between monks and the Church following the official subordination of the former to the latter in the legislation of the mid-fifth-century Council of Chalcedon. This thesis argues, however, that potential tensions between the Church and ascetic groups were perpetuated not only by sustained monastic economic independence, but also, more crucially, by the monastic intellectual tendency to associate spiritual attainment primarily with ascetical self-transformation, to the detriment of sacrament and ecclesial mediation. It explores the gradual reconciliation of ascetical and sacramental themes through the seventh-century works of three closely associated Palestinian monks: John Moschus, Sophronius Sophista and Maximus Confessor. In the wake of the early seventh-century Persian and Arab invasions, and in the face of imperial, dogmatic interventionism, the attitudes of the Moschan circle towards the terrestrial Church began to change. The conceptualisation of Persian and Arab invasion as the product of collective sin not only precipitated a redefinition of Christian community and ascetic social responsibility, it also had the more immediate effect of removing Palestinian monks from their previous economic basis. Increasingly alienated from Constantinople both by eastern economic crisis and imperial religious policy, such monks sought their patrons at a papal court equally ill-disposed to imperial doctrine, and in turn dependent upon eastern ascetics not only for the articulation of Roman theology in Greek, but also for the maintenance of the papal chain to ecumenical primacy. Within that context, Moschus, Sophronius and Maximus urgently propounded models of Christian unity which centralised the Eucharist as the pinnacle of Christian life and recognised the necessity of clerical mediation. At the same time, such models acknowledged papal primacy and denied the religious authority of the emperor.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available