Gottgefällige TränenZur Askese des Weinens im frühbyzantinischen Christentum

Abstract

Tears, Precious for God: Asceticism of Weeping in Early Byzantine Christianity. Repentance as a basic attitude of the Chistian way of life is often expressed in the form of tears in the early monastic literature. While there are false motivations of weeping according to the early masters of the spiritual life, repentance with tears is understood by the 4th and 5th century as a proof of the person’s orientation toward God. Outstanding patristic theologians (Origen, Gregory of Nyssa) interpet the phenomenon of authentic weeping from an eschatological point of view. The 7th century sees the emergence of the concept of a joy following the shedding of tears, and in the mature Byantine sprituality (Symeon the New Theologican) tears are seen as a luminous reality. The interpretation of weeping as renewed baptism is a constant element of this process.

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