“Oral teaching for the guidance of others has many forms, varying in accordance with the diverse ways in which it is put together from different sources. These sources are four in number: instruction, reading, ascetic practice, and grace…. Instruction molds the moral character; teaching by reading is like ‘still waters’ that nourish and restore the soul [viz., Ps. 22:2-3, LXX]; teaching through ascetic practice is like ‘green pasture,’ strengthening it [cf., Ps. 22:2, LXX]; while teaching imparted through grace is like a cup that intoxicates it [cf., Ps. 22:5, LXX]…. Then the soul is disciplined by instruction, nourished by reading, graciously escorted to her wedding by the deeply rooted teaching that derives from ascetic practice, and receives the illuminative teaching of the Holy Spirit” (St. Gregory of Sinai; On Commandments and Doctrines, Warnings and Promises; On Thoughts, Passions, and Virtues; and also on Stillness and Prayer).
This extant work, Noetic Jerusalem, draws upon a variety of sources – e.g., Fathers of the Church (multiple volumes), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (fi rst and second series), Patrologiae Graecae (J.P. Migne; Paris, 1865), et. al – however, the cardinal reliance for our nourishment and restoration of soul via reading exists as The Philokalia, originally published in 1782 at Venice before several other editions issued. The fi rst of these was in Athens, in 1893, followed by a fi ve volume set between 1957- 1963 (also in Athens) – this Athenian pentad functions as the version from which the currently utilized printing emerged [vols. 1-4; Faber and Faber Limited; London, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1995].
Several translations of The Philokalia have also been published, beginning with the Paisii Velichkovskii translation of partial texts from The Philokalia into Slavonic (Dobrotolubiye; Moscow, 1793; reprinted, Moscow, 1822); the pursuer of Christ’s grace in the well-known The Way of a Pilgrim carried this version. The initial Russian translation was by Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov (Dobrotolubiye; Moscow, 1857), a second Russian edition was released by Bishop Theophan the Recluse, in fi ve volumes – the fi rst volume was issued in 1877.
Noetic Jerusalem intends to diagram inner space by examining our interior construct and exposing demonic obstacles to union with God. The Philokalian Fathers serve as the pivotal and indispensable spiritual physicians who push us along on our entodelic voyage. Having illumined realms such as the soul, heart, and other inner components, these theological adepts equip us with a knowledge which enables our routing of Gehenna’s infernal legions throughout our struggles toward Paradise.
We should note that the concluding section (Prayer) exists as a continuance of the penultimate chapter (Virtues). While a virtue, prayer dwells as our supreme medicant and an expansion of sources accompanies it’s residency herein. Speaking of supplemental coverage, a word is in order regarding scriptural references. A version of the Septuagint Bible (i.e., the long canon of Scripture) has been employed – The Orthodox Study Bible (St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology; 2008). This entails several fundamental differences from contemporary editions (e.g., NKJV, NIV, etc.), such as, variant numeration of the Psalms, and the books of Samuel and Kings being, in the LXX, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Kingdoms. Apologies are offered for any confusion or inconvenience. Additionally, references to cited works will initially carry the full title while ensuant citations incorporate an abbreviated manifestation; for example, St. John of Karpathos’ For the Encouragement of the Monks in India Who had Written to Him, in subsequent displays this appears as Texts for the Monks in India.
Finally, two other brief comments. Orthodox Christians in the West have adopted the term “intellect” rather than the correct use of “nous.” This distinction tends to infect discourse with a confusion in regards to intellect as nous or as mistaken for the intelligent power of the soul and can also be misidentifi ed as inferring intellectual capacity. Consequently, nous will be used (nous indicating the highest power, or energy, of the soul… the eye of the soul, as distinct from mind/reason). And, occasionally Church Fathers can appear to be in conflict, such as when asserting that varied virtues are the chief of them all. This is no way evidences dissenting teachings, but rather simply demonstrates interchangeable methods for pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ’s grace.
Any errors in this work are ours and we pray for your forgiveness.
Sarah & Anthony Atwood
Florence, AZ (USA)