Om at bede og kende sig selv

Et studium af fire før-nikænske skrifter om bøn

  • Maria Louise Munkholt Christensen Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen


This article is a study of the four earliest Christian texts on prayer, dating from the third century, written by Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Cyprian. The concept “self” is employed in the analysis in order to show how, in the discourse on prayer, the inner being of a person, viz. heart, mind, soul, was thought to be influenced by prayer, as well as responsible for praying in an appropriate way. A paragraph in the article is dedicated to the Christian perception of the Delphic principle, “Know yourself”, in order to illustrate the early Christian understanding of Christian self-awareness. Hereafter, the article focuses on how this “self” is thought to be involved in and changed by prayer. It would seem that the discourse on prayer was used to raise con- siderations about both sinfulness and possibilities of the praying individual. Prayer as such and prayer theology expressed certain expectations to Christ- ians and helped integrate certain practices in Christian life, as such prayer contributed to early Christian self-formation.


Maria Louise Munkholt Christensen, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen

Sonderforschungsbereich 1136; Nikolausberger Weg 23; 37073 Göttingen, Germany