"John Climacus" Non-Credit Course

May 24, 2012
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Perry HamalisNorth Central College

Lecture, 7:00pm
Informal Dinner, 6:30pm

Intended for University students, faculty, and recent graduates. Others interested in attending, contact

May 24
“John Climacus: Cleansing, Death, and Resurrection in his "The Ladder of Divine Ascent”
Perry Hamalis (North Central College)

Co-sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Fellowship

John Climacus (ca. 579-ca. 659) uses a number of analogies to describe the dynamics of spiritual development in his famous ascetical work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent. In addition to the image of a “ladder,” embedded in the work’s title, St. John uses a range of medical imagery, appeals to figures and events from the Hebrew Bible, and even compares a monastery to a “laundry” where the dirt, grossness, and deformity of the soul are scrubbed away. Through reflection on several passages from this classic work in Christian ascetical theology, this lecture contends that St. John’s images reveal a deeper, existential focus within his ethical vision–one that links cleansing and the acquisition of the virtues with a passing over from death to a resurrected way of living.

Perry Hamalis holds the Cecelia Schneller Mueller Professor of Religion endowed chair at North Central College. He holds a B.A. from Boston College, a master of divinity degree from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and a PhD from the University of Chicago. Hamalis teaches and pursues scholarship in the field of Religious Ethics, with special interest in the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition, virtue ethics, and the intersection of religion and political philosophy. His works have been published in Studies in Christian Ethics, the Journal of Religion, the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, the Greek Orthodox Theological Review, and in numerous encyclopedias; and he has contributed essays to edited volumes including The Orthodox Christian World, Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration, and Thinking Through Faith. His forthcoming monograph, Formed by Death: Insights for Ethics from Eastern Orthodox Christianity, will be published by University of Notre Dame Press.