The Institutes is made up of two sections. In the first, Cassian deals with the institutes and rules of Egyptian monasteries, including monastic garb and prayer. The second part, in eight books, treats the eight principal vices and describes how to counter them, infused with the metaphor of the monk as athlete, competing in a contest.
Taken together, the Conferences and the Institutes constitute a whole, a set, that knows no parallel in ancient Christian literature. This superior translation is an invaluable addition to academic, theological and historical studies, and will enrich anyone interested in the history of spirituality and asceticism.
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