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Title: The emergence of Basil's social doctrine: a chronological enquiry
Contributor(s): Silvas, Anna M  (author)
Publication Date: 2009
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Abstract: Not for nothing was Basil of Caesarea surnamed "the Great" in the Christian tradition. Theodoret of Cyrrhus called him the "shining light of the world". I might add to that and call him "the bright shooting star". The entire period in which Basil realised his adult vocation lasted barely twenty years, from 358, when he retired definitively to his retreat by the river Iris, to his death, probably in late September of the year 378. Usually anyone embarking upon the monastic life might expect many years of obscurity, prayer, discipline, and effort before attaining spiritual and human maturity, and perhaps leadership. But within about five years of 358, Basil had acquired such self-command and spiritual maturity, and so comprehensive a theoretical grasp of the Christian ascetic life, that he was its teacher and preceptor in Pontus. He was well on the way to becoming something like the father of canonical cenobitic monasticism in the universal church. Basil soon moved more and more on the larger stage of the great church. A mere ten years after his ascetic retirement found him a senior priest in Caesarea, already organising the neo-Nicene coalition of Christian leaders in eastern Anatolia, Armenia, and Syria, which was to triumph over Arianism in the great council of 381. Eleven years after his retirement, in 369, an unusually severe drought and famine beset central Anatolia. This launched Basil's remarkably successful efforts to raise the consciousness of lukewarm wealthy Christians and implement a kind of social revolution in the metropolis of Caesarea in the early 370s.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church, v.5: Poverty and Riches, p. 133-176
Publisher: St Pauls Publications
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISBN: 9780975213896
Field of Research (FOR): 220401 Christian Studies (incl Biblical Studies and Church History)
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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