Date of Award

5-7-2007

Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology

Department

School of Theology • Seminary

First Advisor

Columba Stewart, OSB

Abstract

Ascetical practices and theological disputes, in particular the Christological controversy initiated by the teaching of Arius, came to divide the ascetic groups of Asia Minor from the orthodox institutional church during the fourth century. Witnessing and experiencing the ascetical conflicts and theological divisions within the church was distressing for St. Basil. In the course of time, Basil would offer himself as an example of harmonizing the ascetic life with an orthodox union with the church. In order to demonstrate Basil as such a worthy example, I will show how Basil domesticated the ascetical currents of his locality by providing a Scriptural foundation for the ascetical life and encouraging ascetics to live in communities separated from the world. The use of Scripture gave Basil a universal alphabet in which to base his teaching. At the same time, separation from the world would lend itself to having a settled mind, the fruit of which would be pure prayer.

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