would have led to a complete erosion of the established process of monastic socialisation, which required novices to subject themselves to the authority of an experienced monk to whom they then gave unquestioning obedience. Such behaviour inculcated the virtue of humility, which would rule out disruption at a later stage when monks might vaunt their achievements. In contrast, Nikephoros claims that reading a few pages of text is sufficient for a beginner and that it can replace a spiritual guide. Gregory of Sinai's writings on the method are of a radically different nature. They limit visionary experiences to those who are advanced and they stress the need for beginners to submit to the discretion of experienced monks.32 Unsurprisingly Gregory also had an acute sense of the possibility of demonic interference, which made him reject all 'shaped' visions, whereas Nikephoros had shown total unconcern for the dangers incurred by practitioners of the method.33 From this juxtaposition it is evident that Gregory aimed at domesticating the new movement and at making it compatible with traditional structures of authority.
Through his teachings Gregory of Sinai contributed to the success of the new movement on Mount Athos. Indeed, he appears as an arbiter in matters of visionary experiences in hagiographical texts of the time.34 However, there can be no doubt that many individuals kept their distance from hesychasm or even felt resentment at its absolutist nature, which is summed up in Pseudo-Symeon's contention that once the Fathers had discovered the method they abandoned everything else.35 One group of opponents were monks who focused on ascetic practices such as fasting and sleep deprivation and who preferred traditional psalm singing to the hesychastic method. Nikephoros's treatise contains a vicious attack against such monks, while Gregory of Sinai also criticises them repeatedly in his writings.36 Both authors relied in their arguments on Pseudo-Symeon's equation of the method with Sinaite spirituality: their contention that ascetics neglect the inner dimension is a direct borrowing from the traditional discourse of 'attention'.37 There
32 Cf.especially Gregory of Sinai, Opusculum IV, in PG 150,1340-1 [= H.-V Beyer, Gregorios Sinai'tes, Werke. Einleitung, kritische Textausgabe und Übersetzung (unpublished Habilitationsschrift, Vienna, 1985), 86].
33 Cf.Gregory of Sinai, Opusculum II, in PG 150, 1324A-C [ = ed. Beyer, 69-70].
34 F. Halkin, 'Deux vies de S. Maxime le Kausokalybe, ermite au Mont Athos (XIVe s.)', Analecta Bollandiana 54 (1936), 38-109, esp. 82-9.
35 Hausherr, Methode d'oraison, 116.22-117.15. For expressions of resentment cf. A. Hero, Letters of Gregory Akindynos. Greek textandEnglish translation [DOT 7; CFHB 21] (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1983), 208.
36 Nikephoros, On sobriety, in PG 147, 947AB; Gregory of Sinai, Opusculum II, PG 150, 1317c-1320c [ = ed. Beyer, 75-6].
37 Cf.esp. Nikephoros, On sobriety, in PG 147, 947B-948A.
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