reason; Gregory of Nyssa; Evagrius of Pontus; passion; late Antiquity
Harrison Kelly (2017), Paul C. Dilley, Monasteries and the Care of Souls in Late Antique Christianity. Cognition and Discipline. Cambridge, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2017, XII-350 p., in Laval théologique et philosophique
, 73(3), 464-466.
Harrison Kelly (2017), Wessel, Susan: Passion and Compassion in Early Christianity. New York: Cambridge University Press 2016, 273 p., ISBN 978-1-107-12510-0., in Revue philosophique et théologique de Fribourg
, 64(1), 274-276.
Harrison Kelly, Panagiotis G. Pavlos, Lars Fredrik Janby, Eyjólfur Kjalar Emilsson et Torstein Theodor Tollefsen (éds.), Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity, London, New York, Routledge, 2019, xviii-315, in Laval théologique et philosophique
HarrisonKelly, Recipes for Passion: Understanding the Role of Representations, Thoughts and Demons in the Event of Passion in Evagrius Ponticus, in Studia Patristica
, Peeters Publishers, Leuven.
Since I started my PhD, I have narrowed the scope of my research to Evagrius of Pontus and Gregory of Nyssa. So far, my research on Evagrius has lead me to hypothesize that sensible-based images play a crucial role in the emergence of passions. They imprint the intellect and inflame the passionate parts of the soul, which either sets the passions in motion or leads the passionate parts to produce passions. Once they have emerged, passions - which hinder rationality and cause the intellect to commit sinful acts - can feed the sensible-based images and finally cause the intellect to become impassioned. But what role exactly does the intellect play in this process? As regards Gregory, free will - which is one of reason's faculties - is central to understanding why and how passions emerge. It appears that either the powers of the soul are transformed into passions when reason does not reign over the soul or that they arise when reason decides not to make use of its faculties of judgement and discernment, which leads it to perceive the good where there is in truth only an illusion of the good. This decision causes reason to seek the satisfaction of desires that lead the soul astray from virtue and God. Passions are thus also the result of rational confusion and error of judgement. But what makes reason decide not to use its faculties as it should? Why should it choose not to rule over the whole soul when this is its natural function?