Henrik Johnsén

Henrik Johnsén


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Works at Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 E, plan 7
Room E 724
Postal address 106 91 Stockholm 106 91 Stockholm


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Henrik Johnsén. Teachers in Late Antique Christianity
  • 2018. Henrik Johnsén. Studi medievali (1928)

    It is well known that monasticism was crucial to the development of repentance in early Christianity. With monasticism followed a renewal of the earlier practice with great importance for later Christian traditions. But were these changes just an internal development of earlier Christian teaching adjusted to new circumstances? Or were there also new impulses from external sources? In this paper, the teaching on repentance and confession in the Institutes and the Conferences by John Cassian (d. 435) and the Apophthegmata Patrum (from 5th/6th century), is compared with teachings related to the tendency towards the “care of the self” in late antique philosophy. In contrast to scholars who often have underscored the difference between the two traditions, this essay argues that the new monastic contribution to the earlier Christian practice of repentance can to a large extent be explained as adaptions of well-known practices or “technologies of the self” within late antique philosophy. Clement of Alexandria and Origen seems to have been crucial pioneers in this adaption, but traditions of philosophy were also filtered directly into the monastic tradition independently from these earlier Christian authors. 

  • 2017. Henrik Johnsén.

    It is well-established that the Jesus prayer basically takes form in early monasticism. Just a few scholars have very briefly suggested a possible connection with late antique philosophy. This article examines the early development of the Jesus prayer in the Collationes by John Cassian, the Gnostic chapters by Diadochus of Photike and The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus, over against two well-known practices in late antique philosophy: meletē or meditation (a repetitive recitation of short sayings) and mnēmē tou theou or dei memoriam (a practice aimed at a constant remembrance of God). From the considerable correspondence in form and purpose, the article argues for a clear impact from late antique philosophy on the gradual development. The main differences are the type of text that is the object of the practice, and the inner attitudes that the practice is aiming at. Homer and Greco-Roman wisdom sayings are replaced by bible verses, and humility and repentance are new monastic inner attitudes not that prevalent in ancient philosophy. 

Show all publications by Henrik Johnsén at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 25, 2018

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