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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

An important feature of spiritual formation involves finding reliable processes, people, practices, and materials that put one in the best position to cultivate the spiritual life and to achieve the specified goals (e.g. purity of heart, discernment, and the vision of God). Accordingly, this chapter draws attention to some works that connect philosophy (including some epistemological themes and issues) and spirituality (including the topic of spiritual formation). It also spells out some of the main features of John Cassian’s (c.360–435 ce) account of spiritual formation. In particular, it focuses on his understanding of the penultimate and ultimate goals of spiritual formation, of the importance of relying on others for making epistemic progress in the spiritual life, and of the three indicators that help determine whether a person is a reliable spiritual authority. The chapter concludes by identifying briefly three areas that deserve further epistemological attention.

Keywords: John Cassian, spiritual formation, spiritual authority, discernment, purity of heart, spiritual perception

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