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John Moschos' Spiritual Meadow: Authority and Autonomy at the End of the Antique World Hardcover – 14 Feb 2014


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Review

'John Moschos' perennially popular Spiritual Meadow has received a worthy and thorough examination in this excellent study written by Brenda Ihssen. She has taken up the daunting task of cutting a path through Moschos' rich text, inviting readers to pause and reflect on some of the great themes that sprout up along the way: poverty and almsgiving, health and sickness, death and dignified dying. Especially noteworthy are her insights on how Moschos elaborates the reality of spiritual authority and where it resides. While the Spiritual Meadow has long been valued for its information about early Christian monasticism, Ihssen draws attention to the broader social context reflected in its numerous anecdotes and offers practical guidance on how to read those anecdotes for spiritual profit and delight.' T. Allan Smith, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Canada'Wandering with John Moschos and Sophronios through the cultural and religious landscapes of Eastern Christian monasticism at the end of antiquity, Ihssen uncovers a monastic author who both documents and comments on his world. Ascetic discipline provides not only knowledge of the self but a vantage point from which to observe and to critique inequality and poverty, illness and health care, and to interpret the mortality that defines the human condition. Moschos emerges as much a social critic as a hagiographer.'Derek Krueger, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA

About the Author

Brenda Llewellyn Ihssen teaches courses in early and medieval Christianity and Islam, and specific topics in historical theology and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Her research is focused primarily on the social ethics found in the writing of fourth-century Cappadocian authors and in monastic and spiritual texts of Orthodox Christianity during the age of the Byzantine Empire. Dr. Ihssen's publications include 'Smashing God's Face: Art, Theology and Violence in the Byzantine Empire,' in ARTS: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies, 'Strip the Rich Right Down to Their Shirts': St. John the Almsgiver and the Transformation of the City,' in Ekklesiastikos Pharos, and the forthcoming 'They Who Give From Evil'; the Response of the Eastern Church to Money-lending in the Early Christian Era' (Wipf and Stock, 2012).

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