- By John Wortley

The Book of the Elders: Sayings of the Desert Fathers The Systematic Collection

  • Title: The Book of the Elders: Sayings of the Desert Fathers The Systematic Collection
  • Author: John Wortley
  • ISBN: 9780879072018
  • Page: 186
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Book of the Elders Sayings of the Desert Fathers The Systematic Collection In the early part of the fourth century a few Christians mostly men and some women began to withdraw from the world to retreat into the desert there to practice their new religion seriously The pe

    In the early part of the fourth century, a few Christians, mostly men and some women, began to withdraw from the world to retreat into the desert, there to practice their new religion seriously The person who aspired to renounce the world first had to find an elder, a person who would accept him as a disciple and apprentice To his elder whom he would addressIn the early part of the fourth century, a few Christians, mostly men and some women, began to withdraw from the world to retreat into the desert, there to practice their new religion seriously The person who aspired to renounce the world first had to find an elder, a person who would accept him as a disciple and apprentice To his elder whom he would address as abba father the neophyte owed complete obedience from his abba, he would receive provisions as it were for the road to virtue In addition to the abba s own example of living, there was the verbal teaching of the elders in sayings and tales, setting out the theory and practice of the eremitic life In due course, these sayings or apophthegmata were written down and, later, collected and codified The earliest attempts to codify tales and sayings are now lost As the collection grew, they were first organized alphabetically, according to the name of the abba who spoke them, in a major collection known as the Apophthegmata Patrum Alphabetica A supplementary collection, the Anonymous Apophthegmata, followed Later, both collections were combined and arranged systematically rather than alphabetically This collection was created sometime between 500 and 575 and later went through a couple of major revisions, the second of which appeared sometime before 970 This second revision was published in an excellent new critical edition, with a French translation, in 1993 Now, in The Book of the Elders, John Wortley offers an English translation of this collection, based entirely on the Greek of that text.

    1 thought on “The Book of the Elders: Sayings of the Desert Fathers The Systematic Collection

    1. The saying of the desert monastics is one of the greatest classics of early monastic literature. Not every saying seems to be on target for living Christian life to the fullest. That just shows that these are sayings of men & women struggling to live a full Christian life. Most of the time, they challenge are paltry efforts. A slow meditative reading or two or three will probe the heart where God is working in us.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *