College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

2. Catholic Christianity and the arrival of asceticism, 100-400

'Catholic Christianity and the arrival of asceticism, 100-400', lecture 2 in Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch's Gifford lecture series on silence and Christianity

Lecture abstract

Counter-strands to silence in the early Church, encouraged by its congregational worship and cult of martyrdom, and the effect of gnostic Christianities in shaping what the emerging Catholic Church decided to emphasise or ignore. The emergence of new positive theologies of silence: negative theology and its sources in the Platonic tradition; the development of asceticism in the mainstream Church in Syria from the second century, and its possible sources: the place of silence in the development of monasticism and eremetical life in Christianity. The importance of the remaking of monasticism in Egypt; the vital role of a forgotten theologian, Evagrius Ponticus.

Lecture video