You are here

7 IV: Delphine Lauritzen (Sorbonne Université), Monasticism as the dreamlife of Angels: a twist of perspective

The ideal of monks is to live the life of angels, so that to become isangelikoi, as similar as angels as it is possible for a human being to be. But what if the other way around was true? As Late Antiquity progresses towards Byzantium, the line which defines the ontological precedence of the angelic host over mankind appears more and more blurred. The Christology expressed in the ecumenical councils  together with philosophical and theological trends of thoughts about the metaphysics and the aesthetics of the image are tipping the balance in favour of an anthropological perception of the celestial creatures. Monks are men, like Christ, which makes them ethically superior to angels. As they are not perfect, holiness is not given, but something to be gained. Angel is definitely Monk’s theology but Monk might also be Angel’s teleology.