Den tidiga Jesusbönen och meditation i grekisk-romersk filosofi

  • Henrik Rydell Johnsén Stockholms universitet


It is well-established that the Jesus prayer basically takes form in early monasticism. Just a few scholars have very briefly suggested a possible connection with late antique philosophy. This article examines the early development of the Jesus prayer in the Collationes by John Cassian, the Gnostic chapters by Diadochus of Photike and The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus, over against two well-known practices in late antique philosophy: meletē or meditation (a repetitive recitation of short sayings) and mnēmē tou theou or dei memoriam (a practice aimed at a constant remembrance of God). From the considerable correspondence in form and purpose, the article argues for a clear impact from late antique philosophy on the gradual development. The main differences are the type of text that is the object of the practice, and the inner attitudes that the practice is aiming at. Homer and Greco-Roman wisdom sayings are replaced by bible verses, and humility and repentance are new monastic inner attitudes not that prevalent in ancient philosophy.


Henrik Rydell Johnsén, Stockholms universitet

Institutionen för etnologi, religionshistoria och genusvetenskap; Stockholms Universitet, 106 91 Stockholm