OS (Commentary) -- 14
67 The road towards gnosis—dispassion and humility, without which things no one will see the Lord.
Fourth Century on Charity, Chapter 58.
If we exclude the word ‘humility’ from this brief chapter, then we have a summary of the Evagrian doctrine of the practical life:
Although the transformations are numerous, we have received the gnosis of four only… The first is … the passage from vice to virtue [i.e. the practical life]; the second is that from dispassion to the second natural contemplation; the third is [the passage] from the latter to the gnosis that concerns the logikoi [i.e. rational beings]; and the fourth is the passage from all to the gnosis of the Holy Trinity.
St Maximos has altered Evagrius’ schema slightly. Evagrius would say: ‘The road towards gnosis—the practical life. The flower of the practical life and the beginning of gnosis—dispassion.’ If we were to take St Maximos to mean ‘Head for dispassion by way of the practical life and you will reach gnosis,’ then his sense would be exactly the same as that of his source, Evagrius.
St Maximos has added humility to this schema. We shall see immediately below that in St Maximos, at least in the chapters here quoted by St Hesychios, humility sometimes plays the role of spiritual charity (TPL) or meekness (OTT) as the basic therapy of passions of the soul. In other words, St Maximos seems here to have substituted humility for the spiritual charity or meekness of Evagrius.
Hence, the significance of the addition by St Maximos of ‘humility’ to this summary of the Evagrian system is that it is here for St Maximos the basic means to cure the passions of the soul.
This should also throw into relief St Hesychios’ own emphasis on humility such as we have seen it in the preceding chapters: he has undoubtedly been influenced on the matter by St Maximos’ version of the Evagrian system.
68 He who unceasingly makes his occupations round those things which are within is continent; and not only, but he also contemplates, theologizes and prays. And this is what the Apostle says: ‘Walk in the Spirit and do not accomplish the desire of the flesh.’ [Gal. 5, 16.]
CC IV, 64.
69 He who does not know how to travel the spiritual way does not take care for the impassioned mental representations, but he has all his employment round the flesh, and either he commits gluttony and is licentious, or he is sorrowed and grows angry and harbours rancour. And, hence, he darkens the mind (nous), or he makes use of an immoderate ascesis and clouds the intellect (dianoia).
CC IV, 65.
Let us first of all note that in both chapters, St Hesychios’ text—again for unknown reasons—differs somewhat from the text of the Centuries on Charity in the Philokalia. In regard to OS 68, above, St Maximos’ own text, CC IV, 64, as we have it in the Philokalia, reads: ‘He who unceasingly makes his occupations round those things which are within is continent, is long-suffering, is good and kind, is humble…’ St Hesychios’ text retains only ‘continent’ from this list of virtues; we have italicized the virtues that are omitted from his text.
In OS 69, this chapter, St Hesychios’ text differs somewhat from the text of CC IV, 65 in the Philokalia, without for all that having a different meaning. The text in the Philokalia of CC IV, 65 is this:
IV, 65 He who does not know how to travel the spiritual way does not take care for the impassioned mental representations; but he has all his employment round the flesh; and either he commits gluttony and is licentious, is sorrowed and grows angry and harbours rancour, and hence darkens the mind (nous), or he immoderately makes use of ascesis and clouds the intellect (dianoia).
What is St Maximos, as St Hesychios understands it, saying?
These two chapters are a defence of the immaterial war—Evagrian praktike, Hesychian sobriety—over a mere bodily asceticism. In the first chapter, we can take this basic sense: by cutting off the thoughts at their root, at their inception in the intellect as impassioned mental representations of objects of sense or as impassioned recollections of such objects, then we necessarily cut off the whole process of temptation and sin. Hence, we ‘automatically’ acquire the virtues that St Maximos—and Evagrius and St Mark and all the ascetics of this school—list. Evagrius, recall, has in TPL 81 defined the practical life, praktike, as the keeping of the commandments. And the immaterial war is for Evagrius precisely the keeping of the commandments in thought.
As for the remainder of the sentence—‘and not only, but he also contemplates, theologizes and prays’—it is clear that St Maximos is following the basic Evagrian schema of the spiritual life. To contemplate here clearly means to engage in natural contemplation. To theologize here means to speak of God on the basis of experience of God. To pray here means to engage in pure and immaterial prayer, which is how St Maximos presents Evagrius’ Theology, unitive prayer towards the Holy Trinity. Hence, we here find the three stages of the Evagrian spiritual life (the practical life, natural contemplation and Theology), along with the capacity to discourse on God that Evagrius implies in Gnostic 27 to be a characteristic of the gnostic, of him who has attained to dispassion, of him who has entered into natural contemplation and undertaken to teach others. These stages, however, have been telescoped by St Maximos into virtually simultaneous activities. Surely this is a matter of style or even rhetoric. On does not reach, or teach, Theology on the first day or even week and we do not think that St Maximos thought so.
The second chapter throws the meaning of the first chapter into relief. For ‘He who does not know how to travel the spiritual way does not take care for the impassioned mental representations…’ clearly indicates two things: First, whatever his terminology, St Maximos, in referring to being occupied with the things within, clearly intends the immaterial war of the rebuttal of demonically sown thoughts at the stage of the impassioned mental representation. Second, much of St Hesychios’ terminology has been influenced by St Maximos. The use by St Maximos of ‘spiritual way’ for the practical life shows that. One need only recall OS 1.
The second chapter continues with what might be considered an acerbic, realistic comment by St Maximos on the condition of monks in his own time: either they commit gluttony and are licentious—in Evagrius’ doctrine these are the two passions of the body, and indulging the first excites the second—or they are sorrowed, grow angry and harbour rancour—these are the passions of sorrow and anger—or they make immoderate use of bodily ascesis and cloud their minds. Here, we should understand sorrow in this sense: ‘Sorrow, then, sometimes occurs as a result of the deprivation of desires and sometimes follows on anger.’
The first half of St Maximos’ remark is clear enough. Not pursuing the immaterial war, these monks are subject to the passions. The second part—the immoderate ascesis—needs some clarification, however. What St Maximos has in mind is the case where bodily ascesis—fasting, thirst, sleeping on the ground, wearing chains or hair shirts, lack of sleep, prostrations, hard physical labour—is not connected to any practice of the rebuttal of the demonically sown thoughts. The bodily ascesis is seen as in and of itself leading to God.
It is important for the reader to grasp this Evagrian distinction: Bodily ascesis or continence—seen primarily as hunger, thirst and lack of sleep—is useful only for passions of the body: gluttony and fornication. (Later Fathers also grant fasting a more spiritual role.) The passions of the soul must be cured by spiritual charity or meekness, or, in St Maximos and St Hesychios, by humility. Moreover, all these things must be done in the context of the waging in the intellect of the immaterial war against the demonically sown thoughts—Hesychian sobriety as we have been discussing it.
Hence, the objection of St Maximos to this bodily asceticism divorced from the immaterial war can be seen as arising from this Evagrian analysis: an exclusively bodily asceticism can only, at best, cure the bodily passions. It will do nothing for the passions of the soul: avarice, sorrow, anger, accidie, vainglory and pride. Moreover, because of its excessive nature, this bodily asceticism clouds the intellect. What does this mean? On the one hand, it has its common-sense meaning: the ascetic no longer can think straight: his mind wanders; he cannot think about practical affairs; he is confused and disoriented. On the other hand, it has a deeper spiritual meaning: this ascetic is far from spiritual gnosis.
Moreover, an exclusively bodily ascesis does not attack the problem at its root, in the demonically sown mental representation which gives rise to the thought which is at the origin of sin. It should be evident that this is Evagrius’ program, St Mark the Ascetic’s program, St John of Sinai’s program, St Hesychios’ program—and, now, St Maximos the Confessor’s program.
Therefore, St Hesychios’ method of sobriety can be seen in sharp contrast to a merely bodily asceticism—for otherwise why would he quote St Maximos on the matter? We begin to see the full import of the Hesychian system in this quotation.
St Maximos remarks that the monk either darkens his mind through indulging the passions or clouds his intellect through immoderate bodily ascesis. This is in clear contrast to the monk in the previous chapter of St Maximos quoted by St Hesychios who engages in the immaterial war—let us use the original Evagrian term—and who is able to contemplate, theologize and pray. The contrast is striking: the whole argument of St Maximos, and a fortiori of St Hesychios, is that our concern must be for the immaterial war and that our bodily ascesis must be subordinated to, and integrated into, the practice of the immaterial war—Hesychian sobriety.
The next chapter that St Hesychios quotes from St Maximos is based on the first two of the three renunciations that Evagrius gives in OTT 26 and that we discussed in detail in Volume II in our commentary on that passage of Evagrius. Evagrius repeats these renunciations in KG I, 78–80, and we also discussed them in Section 6, Chapter III, of Volume I. It is important to realize that the second renunciation, the renunciation of vice, is precisely the practical life. Hence, what St Maximos is doing in the next chapter is rebutting the view that the material renunciation, the first renunciation that is the characteristic of becoming a monk formally through tonsure, is enough.
It is useful to present here the text of the three renunciations from OTT 26:
It is not possible to acquire gnosis, not having renounced the first renunciation, and the second and the third. And the first renunciation, then, is the voluntary leaving behind of worldly things for the sake of the gnosis of God.
The second is the putting aside of vice which comes to one by the grace of our Saviour Christ and by the pains of the man.
The third renunciation is the separation from ignorance concerning those things which naturally become manifest to men in proportion to their condition.
70 He who has renounced the objects, as wife and money and the rest, has made the outer man a monk, but not yet, however, the inner man. He who has renounced the impassioned mental representations of this—that is, the mind (nous)—such a one is a true monk. And one easily makes the outer man a monk if he wish. It is not a little struggle to make the inner man a monk.
CC IV, 50.
First, let us present the text of CC IV, 50 as it is found independently in the Philokalia, for there are significant differences:
IV, 50 He who has renounced the objects, as wife and money and the rest, has made the outer man a monk, but not yet, however, the inner man. He who has renounced the impassioned mental representations of these things, the inner man, which is the mind (nous). And one easily makes the outer man a monk, if he wish only. It is not a little struggle to make the inner man a monk.
The first sentence is identical in both versions.
The second sentence is modified in St Hesychios’ text, by whom and for what reason—whether St Hesychios did it or a copyist, and why—we do not know. The underlying sense of the second sentence in the same in both cases, however.
In St Maximos’ own text, the second sentence is more clearly Evagrian: the monk who renounces the impassioned mental representations of ‘these things’—‘wife, money and the rest’—has made the inner man, that is to say, the mind (nous), a monk. This is clearly the higher stage of the second renunciation of Evagrius, that is, the immaterial war.
In the text of St Hesychios, the second sentence says that he who has renounced the impassioned mental representations of ‘this’—this ‘this’ is ambiguous in its referent and could very well be a copyist’s error for ‘these’—such a one is a true monk. The phrase ‘which is the mind (nous)’ still exists in St Hesychios’ version, but syntactically it floats in the sentence: it is not clear where it is to be attached: we have attached it to ‘this’ because of the identity of gender. Hence, we construe the ambiguous syntax of St Hesychios’ version to say that he who has renounced the impassioned mental representations of this, the mind (nous), such a one is a true monk. However, even if ‘which is the mind (nous)’ is properly to be attached elsewhere—where is not clear—the sense of the sentence still remains faithful to St Maximos’ Evagrian idea of the second renunciation in its higher stage; the matter merely is somewhat more obscure.
In the third sentence, the independent version of CC IV, 50 in the Philokalia has a nuance lacking in St Hesychios’ version: ‘if he wish only’. The ‘only’ adds the idea that even the first renunciation is dependent on an act of will of the person becoming a monk: not even it is automatic.
The fourth sentence is identical in both versions.
Now let us look at the meaning of the passage.
‘He who has renounced the objects, as wife and money and the rest, has made the outer man a monk…’: This is the first renunciation. While St Maximos disparages the first renunciation, it is well to remember that it is a necessary precondition for the second renunciation. The monk who ignored the first renunciation would be fooling himself about the rest of the spiritual journey that he supposed himself to be making.
‘…but not yet, however, the inner man.’: This is St Maximos’ way of introducing the concept of dispassion, which is the consummation of the second renunciation, the practical life. St Maximos evidently introduces the concept in this way so as not to alienate his reader.
‘He who has renounced the impassioned mental representations of these things, the inner man, which is the mind (nous).’: We have here followed the reading of the text of the independent version of CC IV, 50 in the Philokalia since it is far clearer and Evagrian in its explicit identification of the inner man with the mind (nous). This is the higher stage of the second renunciation, equivalent to the immaterial war. This higher stage of the second renunciation is therefore equivalent to the lower stage of Hesychian sobriety. For, as we have already remarked, Hesychian sobriety spans all the stages of the spiritual journey from the immaterial war through natural contemplation to Theology, or, in the language of the renunciations, it spans the final two renunciations.
‘And one easily makes the outer man a monk, if he wish only.’: Again, here we follow the independent version of CC IV, 50 in the Philokalia. While this passage seems to refer to the actual service of tonsure, which takes about an hour, surely St Maximos also means that it is relatively easy to renounce in practice ‘wife and money and the rest’—this is the first renunciation—compared to the struggle of the higher stage of the second renunciation, the immaterial war of the thoughts.
It is well to clarify here the two stages of the practical life. The practical life, praktike, is the putting off of vice and the acquisition of virtue. In its most general conceptualization by Evagrius, it applies to all men, whatever their station in life; it might be considered to be his formulation of the human condition. The practical life can be seen in two stages or aspects: the war of objects and the war of thoughts. In the first stage, a man tries to put off vice and acquire virtue with regard to objects: he is faithful to his wife; he is honourable in his business dealings; he is just and forgiving in his dealings with other men. This stage can apply not only to a secular but also to a tonsured monk living in a cœnobium or even as an unmarried priest in the world. In the second stage, however, a man tries to put off vice and acquire virtue with regard to his thoughts: this is the immaterial war. This applies especially to the tonsured monk who is living as a hermit, although it is possible for the tonsured monk in the cœnobium to apply himself to a certain extent to this aspect of the practical life. We discussed the immaterial war in detail in Volume II since it is the topic of TPL and OTT.
Now what St Maximos the Confessor is discussing in the passages under consideration is what happens to the monk after his tonsure. In his tonsure, the monk renounces marriage and personal property; to use St Maximos’ terminology, he has made the outer man a monk. St Maximos then ignores the lower stage of the practical life, the war of objects, and turns to the higher stage, pointing out that a refusal of the tonsured monk to prosecute the immaterial war of thoughts leads either to a darkening of his mind (nous) from the passions or to an immoderate bodily asceticism which clouds his intellect, whereas the prosecution of the immaterial war leads to his making the inner man a monk.
It is well to recall here Evagrius’ distinction in TPL 48 between the war fought through objects and the immaterial war of the thoughts:
48 The demons wrestle with seculars more by means of objects; with monks, for the most part, by means of the thoughts. For the monks are deprived of objects because of the desert. And as much as it is easier to sin in thought than in action, so much more difficult is the war in the intellect from that which is joined by means of objects. For the mind is an easily moved sort of thing and hard to restrain from the lawless imaginations.
The distinction that Evagrius is drawing in this passage of TPL is precisely the distinction between the lower and higher stages of the practical life.
In the passage of OS under consideration, St Maximos is drawing the following distinction: The renunciation of objects corresponds to the monastic tonsure and constitutes the first renunciation. St Maximos ignores the lower stage of the second renunciation, the war fought by the tonsured monk through objects. He proceeds directly to the renunciation of sin in thought, the higher stage of the second renunciation. The higher stage of the second renunciation—the immaterial war of the intellect—is a matter of a years-long struggle. It leads to the benefits that St Maximos has listed in the passages that St Hesychios has already quoted.
By quoting the present passage of St Maximos, St Hesychios has endorsed the point of view of St Maximos. Even if we suppose that St Hesychios himself made the changes we noted to the passage, the underlying meaning is still the same. Presumably, St Hesychios was well aware of the Evagrian foundation of this chapter of St Maximos, for later we will see that he makes direct quotations from TPL. By means of these passages from St Maximos, St Hesychios is introducing much clearly Evagrian material into his treatise.
71 Who, therefore, is there in this generation who has been entirely freed of impassioned mental representations and who has been found worthy of pure and completely immaterial prayer (proseuche), which very thing is the token of the inner monk?
CC IV, 51.
Note that St Maximos’ text as found by itself in the Philokalia has ‘completely’ before ‘pure’, instead of before ‘immaterial’, so that it reads ‘completely pure and immaterial prayer (proseuche)’. This is insignificant.
We see here that the inner monk is none other than the dispassionate monk who has entered into natural contemplation or gnosis, and even, given the phrase ‘completely pure and immaterial prayer’, into Theology. For he ‘who has been entirely freed of impassioned mental representations’ is none other than the dispassionate man. In connection with this passage it is well to recall OTT 40:
40 The mind would not be able to see the place of God in itself not having become higher than all <mental representations>
It seems clear to us that CC IV, 51 is based on the understanding given in this passage of Evagrius. Note that the last part OTT 40 is referring to Theology; that is the meaning of ‘when, during the time of prayer, that light shines upon the mind that works in relief the place which is of God’.
72 Many passions have been hidden in our souls. At that time they are convicted, when the causes appear.
CC IV, 52.
St Maximos’ text as found independently in the Philokalia reads ‘when the objects reappear’ rather that ‘when the causes appear’. We think that the underlying meaning is the same. In general, whatever the causes of the discrepancies between the text of St Hesychios and the text of St Maximos in the Philokalia, the Hesychian text is more unclear.
The sense of this short chapter, which sense is repeated by St Maximos in another chapter, quoted by St Hesychios as OS 74, is that if there is not an occasion of sin present—an external object which corresponds to a passion which we have, say, a good meal, a beautiful member of the opposite sex, a great sum of money to be had, a person against whom we harbour rancour, an opportunity to boast about our attainments and so on—then the passion may well remain hidden in the soul. Recall that, according to Evagrius in TPL 48, this is the war waged through objects, the easier war. The hermit or Hesychast passes to the immaterial war, that of the impassioned mental representations or recollections of such objects. In KG VI, 52, Evagrius says much the same thing that St Maximos is saying in this passage:
VI, 52 Many passions are hidden in our souls which, although they escape us, lively temptations reveal to us; and we must ‘guard our hearts in all vigilance’ [Prov. 4, 23], for fear lest when the object for which we have a passion arrives unexpectedly, we suddenly be swept away by the demons and do something of the things which are abominable to God.
In the following quotation, St Hesychios brings home what St Maximos’ point is:
73 Do not have all your occupation round the flesh, but lay down for it an ascesis according to its strength and turn your whole mind (nous) round those things that are within. ‘For bodily exercise is beneficial to a certain extent; piety, however, is beneficial in everything.’ [1 Tim. 4, 8.]
CC IV, 63.
Note that St Maximos’ text as found independently in the Philokalia reads ‘but lay down for it the ascesis according to its strength’ and ‘“…is beneficial in everything, and the following.”’ We have put the differences in italics. These differences are insignificant.
‘Flesh’ here simply means the body; it is referring to a merely bodily asceticism.
The contrast that St Maximos is presenting in this chapter is that between a strictly bodily ascesis and the immaterial war to which is joined a bodily ascesis in accordance with the body’s strength. This chapter might be considered to be a summary of St Hesychios’ theological understanding of ascesis. For to ‘turn your mind (nous) round those things that are within’ for St Hesychios clearly means to engage in Hesychian sobriety. Hence, the opinion he is endorsing here is that the ascetic should practise a bodily ascesis in proportion to his bodily strength and should put all his weight on St Hesychios’ own system of sobriety: humility, attention, rebuttal, the continual invocation of our Lord Jesus Christ and the memory of death.
The next quotation from St Maximos, OS 74, returns to the case where the passions are inactive, but not because of dispassion: either the occasions of sin are not present or the demons have craftily withdrawn. This is clearly Evagrian: see, for example, TPL 57 and OTT 20. Here is the relevant part of TPL 57:
There are two peaceful conditions of the soul, the one given forth from the natural seeds, the other, however, coming to pass on account of the withdrawal of the demons. And humility with compunction, tears, limitless yearning after the Divine and measureless zeal towards the work [of monasticism, ascesis, etc.] follow upon the first. Vainglory with pride, dragging the monk down in the elimination of the remaining demons, follows upon the second.
The one difference is that Evagrius, dealing in TPL and OTT exclusively with the immaterial war, does not occupy himself systematically with the case where the passions are merely dormant because of a lack of the material objects which might excite them. Evagrius does refer to this case in KG VI, 52. However, he does not, as far as we ourselves are aware, ever say that this dormancy of the passions due to an absence of external causes leads to pride.
Moreover, in TPL 57, Evagrius rather emphasizes vainglory (‘with pride’) and not merely pride, as St Maximos has it. This is an insignificant difference.
This is quite an Evagrian passage:
74 When the passions are inactive either because the causes have been cut off or because the demons have craftily withdrawn, pride occurs.
CC IV, 40.
‘Because the causes have been cut off’: This should be understood not as the attainment to dispassion, in which the inner causes, the passions, have been cut off, but as a physical absence of external objects which correspond to the passions. We saw this same idea in CC IV, 52, quoted by St Hesychios as OS 72.
The sense of this passage is that when the passions have not truly been eradicated, when there is not truly dispassion, then the inactivity of the passions—arising from either of the two causes given—leads to pride.
The next and last quotation by St Hesychios from St Maximos in this set is OS 75. In part, it is St Maximos’ restatement of TPL 35, which reads as follows:
35 The passions of the soul have their occasions or starting-points from men; the passions of the body, from the body. And continence cuts off the passions of the body, while spiritual charity cuts off those of the soul.
St Maximos substitutes ‘humility’ for ‘spiritual charity’ and ‘ascetical hardship’ for ‘continence’. Later in OS 75, St Maximos is seen to revert to the terms ‘love’ and ‘continence’. The reason is that in OS 75 St Hesychios has concatenated two separate chapters of St Maximos into one.
Moreover, we can see here that it may well be from St Maximos that St Hesychios drew the term ‘purity of heart’ as a substitute for ‘dispassion’—see our remarks in the commentary on OS 1, above, concerning the provenance of this term in St Hesychios.
The restatement of TPL 35 stops with the first sentence of OS 75. Then, in the other chapter of St Maximos quoted by St Hesychios in OS 75, St Maximos gives a succinct description of dispassion (‘purity of heart’) as the door to Theology (‘him’) and natural contemplation (‘the treasures in him’).
An interesting thing in St Maximos’ presentation is that St Maximos might see a more dynamic relation between purification and contemplation than Evagrius did with his rather schematic presentation of the stages of the spiritual life. We mentioned in Volume II Evagrius’ tendency to schematize the spiritual life in the interests of clarity. St Maximos might believe that partial dispassion can support partial natural contemplation and partial Theology. As the dispassion is augmented by purification through spiritual charity and continence—but also through the immaterial war, surely!—then natural contemplation and Theology also are augmented. However, in his own works Evagrius himself also has the concept that the dispassionate man increases his gnosis in the measure that he purifies his mind (nous), and it may be that this is what St Maximos means here. We see this idea of Evagrius in KG V, 75 and V, 57:
V, 75 The more the nous divests itself of the passions, the more it approaches the [intelligible] objects and according to its order [it] receives also the gnosis; and it knows the contemplation of each order in which it stands as its very own.
V, 57 Just as now, by the senses, we draw near to sensible objects, and just as, in the end, when we will have been purified, we will also know their mental representations, so at the beginning we see the objects [i.e. bodiless powers], and when we will be purified more, we will know also the contemplation which concerns them, after which it is possible to know henceforth also the Holy Trinity.
75 Humility and ascetical hardship free the man of every sin, the former cutting all round the passions of the soul, the latter the passions of the body.
This passage is the first half of CC I, 76. The second half of CC I, 76 is a quotation from a psalm of David which is irrelevant to St Hesychios’ purposes here and he omits it.
St Hesychios’ text is identical to the text of St Maximos as found independently in the Philokalia.
This passage explains, inter alia, St Hesychios’ qualification in OS 63, above, where he says that humility is ‘destructive of almost all those things in us which are evil and hated by God’. Since humility has taken the place of spiritual charity or meekness as the therapy of the passions of the soul, it does not play a role in the therapy of the passions of the body, which are treated by ascetical hardship, or continence. ‘Ascetical hardship’ here has the meaning ‘bodily ascesis’ and corresponds to continence in the Evagrian system.
For this reason, the Lord says ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,’ [Matt. 5, 8]: him and the treasures in him, when by charity and continence they purify themselves; and by that much more as much as they augment the purification.
This passage is the whole of CC IV, 72.
The differences with the independent text of CC IV, 72 in the Philokalia are as follows: St Maximos’ text in the Philokalia has ‘Saviour’ instead of ‘Lord’. There is a slight difference in the form of the verb ‘purify’ that has the air of being a copyist’s error. These differences are insignificant. Somewhat more significant is that St Maximos’ text in the Philokalia reads: ‘…for they shall see God,’ [Matt. 5, 8]: then they shall see him and the treasures in him, when by charity…’ We have put the difference in italics; the phrase is missing in St Hesychios’ text. It is a better, clearer reading but hardly essential to the underlying sense of the passage.
These passages of St Maximos are undoubtedly Evagrian, but with the small provisoes that we gave in the commentary just before this chapter of OS.
We have closed St Hesychios’ set of quotations from St Maximos the Confessor, to whose name St Hesychios makes no reference, as, indeed, he does not to the name of St Mark the Ascetic.
It is quite evident that the material quoted by St Hesychios from St Maximos is very Evagrian. St Hesychios will introduce other Evagrian material in a more direct way later. We cannot, of course, not even knowing who he was, be certain to what extent St Hesychios consciously knew that he was introducing Evagrian material when, for example, he was quoting St Maximos. However, given that he does make direct quotations from TPL, such a theory is not farfetched. Although St Hesychios expresses himself in a simpler fashion than Evagrius and St Maximos, he himself seems to have had a good understanding of the Evagrian theory of asceticism and of the immaterial war.
The result, in any event, is that OS constitutes an adaptation of Evagrian praktike to Hesychasm; that is, OS constitutes an adaptation of the Evagrian theory of the practical life to the use of a repetitive formula, quite Christ-centred in OS, which repetitive formula is prayed in the heart. The quotations from St Maximos have introduced in a quite direct way much of the Evagrian doctrine of the practical life.
The reader who wishes to ponder the question whether St Hesychios is actually producing his own adaptation of Evagrius to Hesychasm, or whether he is merely witnessing to a pre-established tradition of Evagrian, or even Egyptian, spiritual asceticism, should compare On Sobriety to St John Cassian’s treatment of the use of a repetive formula in the Conferences 10, 10 ff. The tone of St John is strikingly similar to that of St Hesychios, and even to that of St Diadochos of Photike in GC.
St Hesychios now has a series of three short chapters of his own authorship concerning attention, after which he turns to quote seven chapters from St Mark the Ascetic that discuss the keeping of the commandments and the relation between wages and grace.
 Henceforth: CC IV, 58. The Centuries on Charity can be found in Volume II of Philokalia D, E or G, or in Volume I of Philokalia F. We have taken the references to the passages of St Maximos quoted by St Hesychios from Philokalia E.
 TPL 81.
 KG II, 4.
 Philokalia G.
 OTT 1.
 Cf. OTT 1; TPL 10–11, etc.
 TPL 10.
 This is not the same thing as the night vigil of prayer; we include lack of sleep because Evagrius quotes St Makarios the Alexandrian to that effect in TPL 94.
 See the commentary on OTT 26 in Volume II.
 The third renunciation is the one which leads from dispassion to natural contemplation or gnosis and then to Theology. It would apply to the ascetic who was exercising the guard of the mind.
 For the foundations of this point of view in Evagrius’ cosmology, see Chapter III of Volume I, especially Section 6, ‘Anthropology’.
 St Hesychios also makes direct quotations from OTT, but the frequent attribution of that work to St Neilos the Ascetic in the manuscript tradition makes weaker the argument that St Hesychios was aware that he was introducing specifically Evagrian material into his work by means of quotations from that work. This problem of dual attribution does not exist, as far as we ourselves know, with TPL.
 Quoted just above in the commentary on OS 70.
 In the passage of St Maximos quoted below as OS 74, this case is covered by the phrase ‘because the causes have been cut off’.
 We have just quoted KG VI, 52 in the commentary on OS 72, above.
 See the commentary on TPL 36.
 Cassian C.