The Pauline Epistles. The Didache. The Epistle of Clement. The Epistle of Barnabas. The Shepherd of Hermas. The First Epistle of John. De principiis of Origen. Vita Antonii. Conferences of Cassian. The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter of Macarius. Moralia in Job and Dialogi of Gregory the Great.
Based upon a comparative analysis, this book argues that early notions of `discernment of spirits' are not superior to later ones. Discernment of spirits is not a matter of an apostolically fixed ideal that should be traditionally cleaved to, but, above all, is a continual re-shaping and restructuring of this tradition. Christians were not expected to imitate the discernment of others, but rather were encouraged to make judgments for themselves.
Dr. Elisabeth Hense is Assistant Professor for Spiritual Theology at Radboud University Nijmegen (NL).