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Robin Darling Young

“Training Philosophers: The Circle of Evagrius and the Dispute with Porphyry”

Robin Darling Young.

Byzantine Studies Fellow

It has been the habit of most scholars to treat the works of the ascetic, philosopher, and biblical interpreter Evagrius of Pontus (345–399) as primarily monastic and theological. This project instead focuses on Evagrius’s efforts to answer and rebut the philosophy of Porphyry and other fourth-century Hellenic writers by adapting the Alexandrian tradition in combination with revived Platonic-Aristotelian philosophy in ethics and metaphysics. It also reexamines Evagrius’s understanding of the role of the gnostikos, or sage, in guiding and shaping a projected politeia conceived as a nonimperial form of life—all communicated in coded kephalaia, letters and treatises shared with his circle.

Robin Darling Young received her PhD from the University of Chicago. She has served on the faculty at Wesley Seminary, the Catholic University of America (1987–2003 and 2013–present), and the University of Notre Dame (2003–2013); and as visiting faculty at the University of Chicago (Armenian Studies) and the University of Virginia.