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The Philokalia: corrugating the texture of Christian-inspired literature

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


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The Philokalia is a title of large anthologies of Christian spiritual texts from the fourth to fifteenth centuries, first published in print at the end of the eighteenth century. The literary form of most philokalic texts adopts the kephalaia‐genre, which was popular in the Byzantine literature and has its historical roots in the works of Greek and Latin antique literatures. As a Christian spiritual text, the Philokalia continues the tradition of Paterica and has the Christian virtue of love as its central subject. The Russian translation known as Dobrotolubiye and the book The Way of the Pilgrim significantly contributed to the popularization of the Philokalia, which became one of the most widely read and translated works of Christian spiritual literature today. Providing an expression of a living tradition, the Philokalia remains a dynamic textual corpus transcending linguistic, chronological, and geographical boundaries and exercising considerable impact on various religious, literary, and cultural developments.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA companion to world literature
EditorsKen Seigneurie, Ilaria L.E. Ramelli, Christine Chism, Christopher Lupke, Frieda Ekotto, B. Venkat Mani
ISBN (Electronic)9781118635193
ISBN (Print)9781118993187
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Anthology, Ascetic, Beauty, Byzantine literature, Christian literature, Christianity, Greek literature, Hesychasm, Latin literature, Love, Monastic, Mysticism, Prayer, Russian Literature, Spiritual literature, Translation

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