Different Christianity, A

Early Christian Esotericism and Modern Thought

By Robin Amis

Paperback : 9780791425725, 388 pages, July 1995
Hardcover : 9780791425718, 388 pages, July 1995

Table of contents

Preface. The Forgotten Christian Inner Tradition

An Accident of History

The Modern Situation


Introduction. Searching in the Ruins

A Research Report

A Method of Therapy

Saints Are Always Somewhere Else

From Investigation of the Past, a New Vision

Chapter 1.   The Royal Road of the Early Church

The Path of Heart

Pray for Help

The General Resurrection

Unchanging Truth

Loss of Ancient Knowledge

The Sources of My Investigation

The Teachings of the Bible

The Apocrypha

The Fathers of the Church

Eastern Monastic Practice

Monastic Rules

Church Liturgies

Great Spiritual Texts

Alchemical and Mystery Teachings

Chapter 2.   The Burning Bush

A Hermit Speaks

Trial by Fire

Symeon the New Theologian on Inner Experience

Saint Maximos on the Fall

Our Nature Is Fundamentally Good, but Has Been Distorted

Modern Man's Inability to Remember Inner Experience

A Theory of Knowledge Is a Barrier to Faith

Gregory of Nyssa's View

Chapter 3.   The Rediscovery of Spirit

The Christian Overcomes the Fall

The Life of Moses

Philosophy in the Early Church

Saint Isaac's Prayer for Gnosis

Two Very Different Kinds of Knowledge

The Inner World as a Window onto the Invisible World

The Role of Knowledge in Spirituality

Saint Maximos on Contemplation

Chapter 4.   The Wise and Foolish Virgins

The Quest for Energies

The Wedding Garment

Shining Faces

"Ask, and it shall be given you. "

Christianity as a State of Being

The Startsi

The Prayer of Joseph the Visionary

The Control of the Senses

The Five Virgins as the Senses

Koinonia as Communion

Chapter 5.   Gnosis Is Not Gnosticism

An Experiential Gnosis

Different Worldviews

False Gnosis

The Alexandrian Tradition

Knowledge of God's Omnipotence

A World Without Gnosis

The Question of Education

Paideia and Catechism

Chapter 6.   The Work of God

The Working of the Word

Surrender into the Hands of God

Doing the Will of God

Gregory of Nyssa and the Chariot Parable

Work on Oneself

Modern Solutions

The Biblical Paradox of the Knowledge of God

Ascesis as Work on Oneself

Chapter 7.   Three Renunciations

Three Renunciations Defined

The First Renunciation: "Dying to the World"

The Turn Toward Reality

The Two Nights

Bitter Waters

The Second Renunciation

"Transcending Knowledge with My Thought"

The Third Renunciation

The Parting of the Ways

A Fourth Stage

Theosis: Deification

A Modern Understanding of the Three Renunciations

Saint Silouan of Mount Athos

Chapter 8.   Faith and Assent

The Philosophy of Assent

The Psychology of Assent

Two Stages of Faith

Faith Without Works

Faith of Consciousness

The Common Ground of Faith

Chapter 9.   The Eye of the Soul

Transformation of the Heart

The New Man as the Prodigal Son

Mneme Theou

The Struggle for Metanoia

"The love of the soul is its salvation"


Chapter 10.   Metanoia and Ascesis

Modern Views of Metanoia

Metanoia as Change of Being

Saint Paul and the Ascetic Struggle

Monastic Forms of Ascesis

Agrypnia: The All-Night Vigil Service


Obedience and Cutting off the Will

Obedience to the Commandments

The Struggle with Eroticism

The Passions

A Transformed Eros

The Hospitality of Abba Moses

Chapter 11.   Prayer

The One Thing Needful

Theocentric Selflessness

The Just


Prayer as Relation to God

Degrees of Prayer

The Inner Room

The Jesus Prayer

Noetic Prayer


Chapter 12.   A Nonmonastic Path

Monastic and Nonmonastic Ways

The Difficulty of Monastic Methods

Renunciation of Inner Possessions

Yoga and Discrimination

The Two ''Legs" of the Tradition

Mouravieff's Method

Watchfulness (Nepsis)


The Ark as Separation from the World

Magnetic Center

Passive Unconscious Stage: Attraction to the Way

Active Stage: The Struggle

Through Knowledge to Detachment

Second Passive Stage: Magnetization to God

Chapter 13.   Memory and Discrimination

What We Think Determines What We See

The Garden, a Model of Memory

Plato's Wax Tablet Model

The Parable of the Sower

Illusory Memories

The Nature of Diakrisis

Cassian on Diakrisis

Meat Diet and Milk Diet

Chapter 14.   Provocation

Stages of Provocation

1. Provocation (Russian prilog)

2. Conjunction (Russian sochetanie)

3. Joining (Russian slozhenie)

4. & 5. The Struggle Against Habit

6. Captivity (Russian plenenie)

Observation of Provocations

Resisting Provocation

First Provocation: Gluttony

Second Provocation: Lust

Third Provocation: Avarice

Fourth Provocation: Sadness

Fifth Provocation: Anger

Sixth Provocation: Accidie

Seventh Provocation: Vanity

Eighth Provocation: The Demon of Pride

The Fear of Opening Ourselves to God

Postscript. Healing the Soul: Some Conclusions from Matthew 13

The Barbarians Within

Need for Christian Teaching

Taking up the Cross

Reports of a Lost Esotericism

The Psychological Method

A Method for Today

A Christian Origin

If Thine Eye Be Single

A Different Kind of Concentration



Presents the esoteric, original core of Christianity.


This book presents the esoteric original core of Christianity with its concern for illuminating and healing the inner life of the individual. It is a bridge to the often difficult doctrines of the early church fathers, explaining the spiritual psychology of the fathers that underlies the current renewal of spirituality in the Greek church. This renewal, like this book, is closely linked to the understandings of the modern monks and abbots on Mount Athos.

A Different Christianity is useful to the practitioner, as well as to the scholar, providing new insights into the problems of studying and following the spiritual path outside of a monastery.

Robin Amis, Director of Praxis Research Institute, is one of the small circle of people regarded on Mount Athos as 'fellow workers. ' He compiled and published >The Heart of Salvation, a life and teachings of Saint Theophan the Recluse, the great Russian master of the last century.