Ascetic Discourses

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Abba Isaiah of Scetis
Translated, with an Introduction and Notes, by John Chryssavgis and Pachomios (Robert) Penkett
Publication Data: Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2002
Format: softcover
Number of Pages: 282
Dimensions (l × w × h): 21.5 cm × 13.9 cm × 1.6 cm
ISBN: 0‒87907‒750‒6

Abba Isaiah of Scetis
Translated, with an Introduction and Notes, by John Chryssavgis and Pachomios (Robert) Penkett

Number One Hundred Fifty of Cistercian Studies Series

“The Discourses are full of interest in terms of information about the monastic life and rules of the time. They are also full of insight in terms of theological and spiritual doctrine. They are marked by a faithfulness to tradition, drawing as they do on the former and formative generations of egyptian asceticism; yet they are equally marked by a note of originality, founding as it were a current of thought that becomes distinctive of the Gaza region. [...T]he Discourses is not a systematic exposition of monastic thought. It should be added here that they are also not a scholastic treatment of ascetic theology. The work is intellectual, even at times creative, and it does have a sense of unity in its basic structure and theme. Nevertheless, it does not contain any explicitly philosophical speculation or exclusively doctrinal elaboration. [...]Abba Isaiah is described by his biographer, Zacchariah the Rhetorician as a praktikos, and this term appropriately and succinctly summarizes the character of the Discourses. They constitute a practical guide for the monk on the life of ascesis, the way of prayer, the discipline of work, the fulfillment of the commandments, and the attainment of accordance with the nature of Jesus.”


   Table of Abbreviations
1 Rules for the Brothers who Live with Him
2 On the Natural State of the Intellect
3 On the Condition of Beginners and Anchorites
4 On the Conscience of Those who Stay in Their Cells
5 Faithful Commandments for the Edification of Those who Wish to Live Peacefully Together
6 On Those who Desire to Lead a Life of Good Silence
7 On Virtues
8 Sayings
9 Commands for Those who have Renounced [the World]
10 Another Discourse
11 On the Grain of Mustard Seed
12 On Wine
13 On Those who have Struggled and Reached Perfection
14 Acts of Mourning
15 On Detachment
16 On the Joy that Comes to the Soul that Desires to Serve God
17 On Thoughts about Renunciation and Exile
18 On Forgiveness
19 On Passions
20 On Humility
21 On Repentance
22 On the Conduct of the New Person
23 On Perfection
24 On Tranquillity
25 To Abba Peter, his Disciple
26 Recorded by Isaiah’s Disciple, Abba Peter, who had Heard it Spoken by his Master
27 In which he says, ‘Attend Diligently’
28 The Branches of Malice
29 Lamentations
   Patristics Index
   Scripture Index
   Index of Names
   Subject Index
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