Western monastic ideology was re-fashioned along more acceptable lines by the work of John Cassian who, between about 420 and 430, composed two works on the monastic life, the Institutes and the Conferences. Cassian wrote for bishops and aristocrats in southern Gaul. Some of the former may have been influenced by Bishop Heros of Arles, a protege of Martin of Tours, while the latter included Honoratus and Eucherius, the founders and guiding spirits of the island monastery of Lerins, opposite Cannes, which would become the most important community in fifth-century Gaul. Cassian himself (a native of Dacia or, perhaps, Gaul) had travelled in the East and settled at Marseille about 415, where he founded two monasteries, one for men, the other for women. His twenty-four Conferences, supposedly the discourses delivered by a number of desert fathers in the presence of Cassian and his friend Germanus, are not the entirely authentic teaching of Lower Egyptian monasticism but, rather, an elaborate construct in which Cassian seeks to present a palatable version of monastic life and its goals to the West. Thus he never once mentions Evagrius, the single most important influence on his theology, whom Jerome had attacked in 415.9 He bases books 5 to 12 of his Institutes on the concept of Evagrius' eight 'evil thoughts' - but they are instead presented as the eight 'principal vices' (and would eventually become the Seven Deadly Sins). Elsewhere, the now controversial term apatheia is rendered by its less contentious alternative 'purity of heart'.10 He tackles the issues raised by the Pelagian controversy: in Conference 13, he has Apa Chaeremon maintain that there is a delicate balance between grace and free will. This conference moves towards the Augustinian position on grace, emphasising the role of God in originating the will to do good, while in Conference 23 he effectively castigates the Pelagian idea of living without sin as a snare and delusion. And one of Cassian's most important legacies may be found in Conference 14. There, he uses the terms praktike and theoretike in relation to biblical study and contemplation and offers an attractive and attainable objective to Western elites, both religious and secular - the goal of a spiritual knowledge based on the reading of scripture. Cassian would soon be condemned by Prosper of Aquitaine, who did not consider he had moved far enough in the direction of Augustinian theories of grace. Yet although he was never happy about the Western tendencies to found monasteries on family estates, to avoid manual work and to multiply liturgies unnecessarily, he made a major contribution to the process by which monasticism became acceptable to Western elites.

9 For Cassian's relationship to Evagrius, S. Marsili's seminal Giovanni Cassiano ed Evagrio Pontico retains its value; see also C. Stewart, Cassian the monk.

10 See further B. Guevin, 'The beginning and end of purity ofheart'.

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