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John Cassian: The Institutes

(Ancient Christian Writers #58)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The first written work of John Cassian in which he shares the wisdom of Egyptian monasticism, especially rules of monastic life and lessons on battling the eight principal vices.
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published December 3rd 2005 by Paulist Press (first published January 3rd 2000)
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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  65 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I only needed to read a few sections from this, having no desire to pursue a career as a monastic. Ramsey's translation was extremely well done, it did not feel like a document written around the year 400 or thereabouts. Cassian is essentially the godfather of the Benedictine order, and one of the big holy rollers of the Egyptian monastic tradition. I was mostly interested in seeing his opinions on what was then the 8, rather than 7, deadly sins. Acedia was dropped from the roster at the behest ...more
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really interesting read about the monastic communities back in the 4th-5th centuries. A couple things that intrigued me. One as a Sabbatarian, that he reports a combined Sabbath and Sunday worship by all the monastic communities 300-400 years after Christ. Sabbath still held a major role in Christian worship. Second, the final chapter contains some of the most beautiful emphasis on the gift of salvation beyond the idea of the Law as gift. He focuses on the idea that unless one realizes that the ...more
Sep 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Cassian gives an overview of Egyptian monastic life for those preparing to begin a monastic society in Palestine. Included is an ancient development of the 8 vices, which eventually came to us in the form of the 7 Deadly Sins. You'll find a lot of repetition, but at least you'll be clear on the purpose of monastic life along with its vices and virtues.
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myth-religion
A sage! A psychologist! Two notes: Jung, and the appendix of The Demons.
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Lovely and wise, but a disappointing descent from the peaks of Mt. Evagrius.
Benjamin Vineyard
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
John Cassian: The Institutes
by Boniface Ramsey

I read this at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky — Merton’s old place. I kept to my cell and read lengthy sections of it with intrigue in early monasticism. I’m currently a vicar in the Lutheran Church who is intrigued by monastic practice. I feel there’s a lot to glean from the ancient way that could help modern families slow down and attend to the present day, as well as give up the illusion that we’re all supposed to be cogs in an economic machi
David Mosley
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Read: 19 August 2010
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Sets down symptoms of the passions (helps us to identify them), the problems they cause, the causes of the passion, and how to possibly remedy them. Very clear, extremely well organized.
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Saint John Cassian was a monk and theologian. Born in the region of Scythia Minor (today's Romania and Bulgaria). As a member of wealthy family he received a good classical education (he was bilingual, knew Latin and Greek). Died in Marseille in 435. Celebrated in both the Western and Eastern Churches for his mystical writings. Cassian is noted for bringing the ideas and practices of Egyptian mona ...more

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Ancient Christian Writers (1 - 10 of 66 books)
  • The Epistles of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch
  • Instructing Beginners in Faith (De catechizandis rudibus)
  • The Enchiridion on Faith Hope and Love (Augustine Series 1)
  • Julianus Pomerius, the Contemplative Life
  • The Lord's Sermon on the Mount (Ancient Christian Writers 5)
  • The Didache: The Epistle of Barnabus, the Epistles and the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, the Fragments of Papias, the Epistle to Diognetus
  • The Case Against the Pagans, Vol. 1
  • The Case Against the Pagans, Vol. 2
  • Concerning the Teacher and On the Immortality of the Soul (De Magistro, De immortalitate animae)
  • The Life of St. Anthony