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Chapter III -- 18

Those who have cultivated their land during the six years of praktike, nourish the orphans and the widows not in the eighth year, but in the ‘seventh’ (Exod. 23, 10–11); indeed, in the eighth year, there are no orphans or widows (V, 8). The interpretation of this chapter is uncertain. This somewhat eschatological passage alludes to the attainment of dispassion (apatheia) in the General Resurrection (the seventh year). In the Restoration (the eighth year), however, all the minds (noes) contemplate the Unity as equals absorbed into the henad. The next chapter is similar:

The Last Judgement will not make known the transformation of bodies but it will make known their destruction (II, 77). In the General Resurrection, the minds (noes) put off their gross bodies, receiving spiritual bodies quite similar to the spiritual resurrection body taught by Evagrius to have been possessed by the Christ after his resurrection, by means of which spiritual bodies the minds (noes) ascend to the contemplation of the Unity in the Restoration, when they put off the spiritual body to become naked minds (noes). The transformation of bodies is what occurs to the minds (noes) in the intermediate judgements that occur until the General Resurrection. This chapter of the Kephalaia Gnostica is quoted almost verbatim by the Fifth Ecumenical Synod in Anathema 11.

Given this chapter and Anathema 11 of the Fifth Ecumenical Synod, the Last Judgement must occur not at the General Resurrection but later, at the Restoration. However, we think that Evagrius is speaking broadly here: the Last Judgement occurs at the General Resurrection when all the gross bodies are destroyed in favour of spiritual bodies. Then in the Restoration even the spiritual bodies are put off.

We now turn to the Restoration:

Just as the destruction of the last world will not be accompanied by a genesis, so the genesis of the first world is not preceded by a destruction (V, 89). The notion that the first world is not preceded by a destruction has to do with the Evagrian doctrine of the Movement.[1] The notion that the destruction of the last world will not be accompanied by a genesis has to do with the notion that in the Restoration, all the minds (noes) will nakedly contemplate the Unity.[2] This chapter states part of the doctrine that was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Synod in Anathema 14.

It can fairly be said that the Evagrian cosmology is a very elaborate system based on Origen that is very difficult to understand in all its detail. It combines certain concepts of Aristotelian and Stoic or Neoplatonic philosophy with a system of reincarnation and multiple worlds together with the possibility of migration from one world or body to another for good or ill; together with the notion of the General Resurrection and the reception then from the Christ of both dispassion (apatheia) and a spiritual body; together with the doctrine that after the General Resurrection all the minds (noes) will ascend to the contemplation of the Unity in the Restoration of All Things, when all the worlds will be destroyed and the minds (noes) will thenceforth nakedly contemplate God, having put off the spiritual body received in the General Resurrection.

We now turn to look at a topic which approaches more closely our concern with anthropology: the nature of the minds (noes). After that topic, we turn directly to the Evagrian anthropology.

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[1] Section 2, above.

[2] Section 9, below.


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