Discernment in the Desert Fathers
Diakrisis in the Life and Thought of Early Egyptian Monasticism
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
"Through tracing the evolution of discretio from biblical culture to monastic practice during the patristic era, Dr Rich's excellent study presents in its complexity the cultivation of discernment as a charismatic element in the Christian striving for moral, intellectual, and theological integrity. His exposition of the writings of Evagrius Ponticus, John Cassian, and the 'Sayings of the Desert Fathers' is as skilled as it is clear. There is much to be learnt from these pages."
--Augustine Casiday, Lecturer in Historical Theology, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter
"I am delighted that this thorough and careful thesis has been reworked for publication. To many scouring a catalogue the theme of this book may appear obscure--Evagrius is hardly the most familiar personality of the early church, and the detailed examination of the significance of a particular word (in Greek and in Latin) may too easily be dismissed as scholastic and irrelevant--but such dismissals would be deeply misguided. In a church that is rediscovering the disciplines of the Christian life, an exploration of that gift of spiritual perception and judgment that, for these early disciples, lay at the heart of the spiritual life, could not be more pertinent. And to a church that too easily reduces the ethical commitment of the gospel to arid legalism the reminder is timely that Christian commitment is an issue of character and the means through which, and the manner in which, that character is developed. This is a fascinating, detailed, and engaging study that will greatly benefit those who hear the challenge of these 'saints' across the centuries."
--John E. Colwell, Tutor in Christian Doctrine and Ethics, Spurgeon's College, London
"In this book, Dr Rich has explored with exemplary thoroughness the place of discretion in the early Christian monastic world, showing how it was understood and applied, by detailed reference to early monastic texts. . . . He has given an illuminating picture of the content and outworking of discretion, which can be as useful today as it was in the fourth century."
--Benedicta Ward, SLG, from the Foreword