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728book reviews we learn that, as a rule, prisoners were not killed by the wild animals; these encounters stunned and perhaps wounded the condemned, but the actual killing was done by the sword, as happened in the case of Perpetua and her fellow martyrs. The final chapter,"Aftermath," answers the question people usually ask: "And then what happened?"What happened to Rome? Carthage? The Christian church in Carthage? And what happened to the memory of Perpetua as it is preserved in written form in her Passion How did the text become subject of sermons and interpretations and, perhaps more importantly, how did a Christian church inspired by the Holy Spirit become a church based on the hierarchy?— a crucial development. As an "aftermath" we also receive a brief but subtle reference to the beginning of the veneration of relics and the saints. It is always easier to criticize a book than to write one. So let me try to correct just one possible confusion: "Quodvultdeo" mentioned on pages 172 ff. is Quodvultdeus, a pupil and friend ofAugustine who lived through the barbarian invasion of Carthage but then fled to Italy and died in 453. Readers of the Catholic Historical Review will not learn much new in this book about the history of Rome, Carthage, and early Christianity, but they will enjoy the different viewpoint, the new perspective, and the gentle feminine touch which does not spare even St. Augustine for his treatment of Perpetua and Felicitas. Stephen Benko Sonoma, California Cassian the Monk. By Columba Stewart, O.S.B. [Oxford Studies in Historical Theology.] (NewYork: Oxford University Press. 1998. Pp. xv, 286. $60.00.) John Cassian (c. 365-435) was one ofthe most prolific and influential writers ofearly monasticism. He was also a world traveler. This native ofRomania made his novitiate in a Greek monastery in Bethlehem, but soon he and his fellownovice Germanus went to Egypt, where they spent years sitting at the feet of the great desert hermits. In 400 A.D., Cassian was expelled from Egypt along with the other adherents of "intellectual" monasticism. He went to Constantinople , where he was made a deacon forJohn Chrysostom; then to Rome to report to the pope on Chrysostom's exile. About 415, Cassian moved to Marseilles, where he founded two monasteries and wrote two extensive sets of "reports" on Egyptian monasticism, the Institutes and the Conferences. Because he was bilingual, Cassian was an indispensable bridge between Greek and Latin monasticism. His writings have been regarded through the centuries as a valuable window on the mind of the early monks. And yet only two major studies of Cassian in English have been published since 1950. Probably the reason for this has been the need for a fresh translation BOOK reviews729 and the rambling, sometimes confusing, nature of Cassian's discourses. This situation has now changed, however, with a fine new translation of the Conferences by Boniface Ramsey (Paulist Press, 1997) and this magisterial study by Columba Stewart, O.S.B. Cassian the Monk is not a particularly long book, having only 140 pages of text, but ninety pages of notes and thirty pages of bibliography show that it is massively researched. Although it is accessible to general readers, Stewart makes no effort to entertain them. Adequate comprehension can only be had by following his extensive cross-references within the text of Cassian; those who can do so should pursue his references to European literature. Stewart is one of those scholars who has read everything about his subject and condensed it into a deceptively simple text. Stewart admits that Cassian is a prolix and unsystematic writer, but he has no difficulty in locating the heart of his method. Cassian is resolutely eschatological : everything in the monastic life must lead toward heaven. But since that is too vague a road-map, the monk needs a more detailed itinerary suited to his specific way of life. The intermediate goal of the monk's journey is purity of heart, which is in turn attained by monastic practices such as vigils, fasting, and so on. But Cassian continually insists that all these physical exercises are but means to higher ends. This means that although his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 728-730
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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