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Howard Thurman (1900-1981), minister, philosopher, civil rights activist, has been called "one of the greatest spiritual resources of this nation." His encounters with Gandhi in India helped instill his commitment to nonviolence. His identification of Jesus as one of the disinherited helped shape the thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr. His embrace of wisdom from other religious traditions emboldened interfaith cooperation and understanding.
"Mother Maria is a saint of our day and for our day; a woman of flesh and blood possessed by the love of God, who stood face to face with the problems of this century."--Anthony (Bloom), Metropolitan of Sourozh Mother Maria Skobtsova (1891-1945) has emerged as one of the most fascinating religious figures of the twentieth century. As an Orthodox nun in Paris her home was at once a soup kitchen for the needy, a center for the renewal of Orthodox thought, and---under Nazi occupation---a haven for the rescue of Jews. For the latter cause she ended her life in a concentration camp. Like Dorothy Day, her writings reflect her deep commitment to the gospel mandate that unites love of God and love of neighbor. The introduction is by Jim Forest, secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, and author of many books including Praying with Icons and Confession: Doorway to Forgiveness
Tells of the founding and subsequent history of Ephrata, a mystical religious community that flourished in eastern Pennsylvania in the mid-eighteenth century. Its leader, Conrad Beissel, a German Pietist who came to America in 1720 seeking spiritual peace and solitude. Settled in Lancaster County, his talents and charisma attracted other German settlers who shared his vision of a community built in the image of apostolic Christianity.
VISIONARY CHRISTIAN Culled from some of C.S. Lewis's finest fiction and poetry, this collection of writings explores the eternal truths of Christianity in the accessible language of allegory, fairy tales, dream visions, and science fiction. From his children's classic The Chronicles of Narnia to the wisdom of Screwtape on marriage, democracy, and heaven, Lewis's literary imagination and extraordinary insight into the universe and God remain vivid and relevant for all times. The Visionary Christian is testimony to a true man of faith who continues to provide comfort and understanding to Christians around the world.
William Johnston--an authority on fourteenth century spirituality and specifically on the writings of this unknown author--provides a substantive and accessible introduction detailing what is known about the history of this text and its relevance throughout the ages. Also included here is the author's other principal work, The Book of Privy Counseling--a short and moving text on the way to enlightenment through a total loss of self and consciousness only of the divine.
A renewed interest in the spiritual, with an increasing number of people today wishing to incorporate the contemplative in their active lives, prompts the reissue of this classic work, a doctrine that is at once elevated and practical. The writings are meant to be studied from three distinct points of view: religious philosophy, material for the study of those states between mind and body such as ecstasy and trance, and for the sake of their mysticism. Drawn from the writings and teachings of Saint Augustine, Saint Gregory and Saint Bernard, the writings form a coordinated body of doctrine with what three great teachers of mystical theology in the Western Church have written concerning their own religious experience and the theories they based on it. In addition, the book discusses such important topics as speculative contemplation, what mysticism is, the characteristics of Western mysticism, the practical, and the contrasts between the contemplative and active lives. No student of mysticism can possibly afford to neglect a volume so full of valuable suggestions and real insight into spiritual conditions.
An exploration of how modern Freemasonry enabled Isaac Newton and his like-minded contemporaries to flourish - Shows that Freemasonry, as a mystical order, was conceived as something new--an amalgam of alchemy and science that had little to do with operative Freemasonry - Reveals how Newton and his friends crafted this "speculative," symbolic Freemasonry as a model for the future of England - Connects Rosslyn Chapel, Henry Sinclair, and the Invisible College to Newton and his role in 17th-century Freemasonry Freemasonry, as a fraternal order of scientists and philosophers, emerged in the 17th century and represented something new--an amalgam of alchemy and science that allowed the creative genius of Isaac Newton and his contemporaries to flourish. In Isaac Newton's Freemasonry, Alain Bauer presents the swirl of historical, sociological, and religious influences that sparked the spiritual ferment and transformation of that time. His research shows that Freemasonry represented a crossroads between science and spirituality and became the vehicle for promoting spiritual and intellectual egalitarianism. Isaac Newton was seminal in the "invention" of this new form of Freemasonry, which allowed Newton and other like-minded associates to free themselves of the church's monopoly on the intellectual milieu of the time. This form of Freemasonry created an ideological blueprint that sought to move England beyond the civil wars generated by its religious conflicts to a society with scientific progress as its foundation and standard. The "science" of these men was rooted in the Hermetic tradition and included alchemy and even elements of magic. Yet, in contrast to the endless reinterpretations ofchurch doctrine that fueled the conflicts ravaging England, this new society of Accepted Freemasons provided an intellectual haven and creative crucible for scientific and political progress. This book reveals the connections of Rosslyn Chapel, Henry Sinclair, and the Invisible College to Newton's role in 17th-century Freemasonry and opens unexplored trails into the history of Freemasonry in Europe.
The life and many afterlives of one of the most enduring mystical testaments ever written The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila is among the most remarkable accounts ever written of the human encounter with the divine. The Life is not really an autobiography at all, but rather a confession written for inquisitors by a nun whose raptures and mystical claims had aroused suspicion. Despite its troubled origins, the book has had a profound impact on Christian spirituality for five centuries, attracting admiration from readers as diverse as mystics, philosophers, artists, psychoanalysts, and neurologists. How did a manuscript once kept under lock and key by the Spanish Inquisition become one of the most inspiring religious books of all time? National Book Award winner Carlos Eire tells the story of this incomparable spiritual masterpiece, examining its composition and reception in the sixteenth century, the various ways its mystical teachings have been interpreted and reinterpreted across time, and its enduring influence in our own secular age. The Life became an iconic text of the Counter-Reformation, was revered in Franco's Spain, and has gone on to be read as a feminist manifesto, a literary work, and even as a secular text. But as Eire demonstrates in this vibrant and evocative book, Teresa's confession is a cry from the heart to God and an audacious portrayal of mystical theology as a search for love. Here is the essential companion to the Life, one woman's testimony to the reality of mystical experience and a timeless affirmation of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
What is the role of love in opening and sustaining the temporal worlds we inhabit? One of the leading scholars in philosophy and the history of religious thought, Thomas A. Carlson here traces this question through Christian theology, twentieth-century phenomenological and deconstructive philosophy, and nineteenth-century individualism. Revising Augustine's insight that when we love a place, we dwell there in the heart, Carlson also pointedly resists lines of thought that seek to transcend loss and its grief by loving all things within the realm of the eternal. Through masterful readings of Heidegger, Derrida, Marion, Nancy, Emerson, and Nietzsche, Carlson shows that the fragility and sorrow of mortal existence in its transience do not, in fact, contradict love, but instead empower love to create a world.
In For Lovers of God Everywhere Roger Housden offers 98 of the finest poems from both historic and contemporary writers. This compelling collection puts a spotlight on the great spiritual voices of Christianity, a body of work that is unendingly rich, varied and inspiring. Housden takes us from the wisdom of the Desert Fathers to the passion of St. Augustine, through the medieval ecstasies of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Siena to the subtleties of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila and on to contemporary voices like Rainer Maria Rilke, T.S. Eliot, and Mary Oliver. Housden's insightful commentary on each poem inspires us to take in its words more deeply and shows how the mystical tradition transcends sectarian divides and speaks to the heart of humanity. While uncovering universal themes of longing and ecstasy, silence and wisdom, searching and doubt, the poets all share one goal: earthly union with the divine. Poetry offers the reader the chance to discover realms of beauty and knowledge that we could not otherwise access. Whether we want to find solace, have our thoughts challenged or notice the beauty of existence, the Christian poets transcendent words offer us truths that cannot be expressed otherwise.
A noted scholar examines the work of the English mystic Julian of Norwich Julian of Norwich is the late fourteenth-century and early fifteenth-century English woman theologian. With her mystical writings, she has become one of the most popular and influential spiritual figures of our times. In Julian of Norwich: In God's Sight, the eminent scholar Philip Sheldrake offers a study of the theology that Julian expresses in her writings. The author examines what is known about Julian's mystical experience or mystical consciousness, discusses what can be surmised about Julian's likely identity and places her writings in historical, cultural and spiritual contexts. Julian of Norwich: In God's Sight is based on a faithful reading of Julian's texts, especially the Long Text, as well as on her own declared theological-spiritual purpose. This compelling book: Presents a contextually-grounded and text-related study of the key elements of Julian's theology Offers a scholarly work by a well-known expert in the field Unlocks an ever-richer understanding of Julian's writings Includes an examination of the key texts attributed to Julian Written for students of theology and those interested in learning more about this popular mystic, Julian of Norwich: In God's Sight offers ascholarly review of Julian's most important writings.
A Revelation of Purgatory was written by an unnamed woman, almost certainly an anchoress, in Winchester in 1422. It details from a first-person perspective a series of terrifying visions experienced by the author in which she witnesses the purgatorial sufferings of a former friend named Margaret who makes her way through the blazing fires of purgatory tormented by devils, the "worm of conscience", and - uniquely - her two former pets, a fierce little cat and dog. Through her prayer and the prayers she elicits from her own circle of influential priests, the anchoress is eventually able to deliver Margaret to the doors of the heavenly Jerusalem. Made available here in accessible parallel-text format with extended introduction and annotation, the Revelation is an important text: not only does it testify to popular and religious concerns with the afterlife in the late Middle Ages but also underscores the significant role played by women in mitigating the suffering of souls in purgatory by means of their personal interventions. The text also bears witness to female friendship, effective intergender dialogue, and the central role played by an anchoress in those communities with which she interacted, be they spiritual, institutional or personal. Liz Herbert McAvoy is Professor of Medieval Literature at Swansea University.
In 1902 Steiner wrote Christianity as Mystical Fact and the Mysteries of Antiquity, showing the evolutionary development from the ancient mysteries, through the great Greek philosophers, to the events portrayed in the gospels. Steiner saw the Christ event as the turning point in the world's spiritual history -- an incarnation whose significance he saw as transcending all religions. Charles Kovacs brings his deep knowledge of esoteric writings, mythology and Steiner's lectures to give more background and to show how the way for Christianity was prepared in the ancient pre-Christian mysteries of Egypt and Greece. He discusses the symbolic and real events of the gospels, as well as looking at some of the understandings and disputes of the early Christians. The book is illustrated with Kovacs' own colour paintings.
This remarkable book shows the seminal Western mystic Meister Eckhart as the great teacher of the birth of God in the soul. It is at once an exposition of Eckhart's mysticism -- perhaps the best in English -- and also an exemplary work of contemporary philosophy.
Schurmann shows us that Eckhart is our contemporary. Writing from experience, he describes the threefold movement of detachment, releasement, and "dehiscence" (splitting open) that leads to the experience of "living without a why" in which all things are in God and which is sheer joy. Going beyond that, he describes the transformational force of approaching the Godhead, the God beyond God.
'All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well' Julian of Norwich is one of the most celebrated figures of the English Middle Ages. She is esteemed as one of the subtlest writers and profoundest thinkers of the period for her account of the revelations that she experienced in 1373. Julian lived as an anchoress in Norwich, and after recovering from a serious illness she described the visions that had come to her during her suffering. She conceived of a loving and compassionate God, merciful and forgiving, and believed in our ability to reach self-knowledge through sin. She wrote of God as our mother, and embraced strikingly independent theological opinions. This new translation conveys the poise and serenity of Julian's prose style to the modern reader. It includes both the short and long texts, written twenty years apart, through which Julian developed her ideas. In his introduction Barry Windeatt considers Julian's astonishingly positive vision of humanity and its potential for spiritual transformation. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Reincarnation -- by which human beings return to live on earth -- is a concept most often associated with eastern philosophies rather than Christianity. In this fascinating book, Friedrich Rittelmeyer explores reincarnation from a Christian point of view, arguing that it has a place in modern Christian thought. Reincarnation can sometimes be exploited to justify daydreams or imaginary past glories, or can harden into a legalistic reckonining of vice and virtue. Rittelmeyer's approach is different: joyous, essentially Christian, and full of a sense of freedom as he struggles to find a path through the pitfalls on the way to a Christ-filled acceptance of reincarnation. Drawing on the work and inspiration of Rudolf Steiner, Rittelmeyer was able to encounter the cosmic truth of reincarnation and, wrestling with human doubt on every level, courageously grounds it in human reality.
‘Just because I am a woman, must I therefore believe that I must not tell you about the goodness of God?’
After fervently praying for a greater understanding of Christ’s passion, Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century anchorite and mystic, experienced a series of divine revelations. Through these ‘showings’, Christ’s sufferings were revealed to her with extraordinary intensity, but she also received assurance of God’s unwavering love for man and his infinite capacity for forgiveness. Written in a vigorous English vernacular, the Revelations are one of the most original works of medieval mysticism and have had a lasting influence on Christian thought.
Thomas Merton's life, especially once he had become a writer, was to a great extent one of dialogue with people who were distant, both geographically and historically. In these probing and perceptive studies, Rowan Williams looks closely at the key intellectual and spiritual relationships that emerge in Merton's writings, exploring the impact on him of thinkers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Karl Barth, William Blake, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Olivier Clement, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Paul Evdokimov, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Vladimir Lossky, John Henry Newman, Boris Pasternak and St John of the Cross.
'Alas that I ever did sin! It is so merry in Heaven!' The Book of Margery Kempe (c. 1436-8) is the extraordinary account of a medieval wife, mother, and mystic. Known as the earliest autobiography written in the English language, Kempe's Book describes the dramatic transformation of its heroine from failed businesswoman and lustful young wife to devout and chaste pilgrim. She vividly describes her prayers and visions, as well as the temptations in daily life to which she succumbed before dedicating herself to her spiritual calling. She travelled to the most holy sites of the medieval world, including Rome and Jerusalem. In her life and her boisterous devotion, Kempe antagonized many of those around her; yet she also garnered friends and supporters who helped to record her experiences. Her Book opens a window on to the medieval world, and provides a fascinating portrait of one woman's life, aspirations, and prayers. This new translation preserves the forceful narrative voice of Kempe's Book and includes a wide-ranging introduction and useful notes. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
From the time she was a young child, Catherine of Siena sought God ceaselessly in both contemplation and action. By the time she was twenty-one, she had experienced her mystical "marriage" to Jesus Christ, and had thrown herself tirelessly into ministering to the poor and the sick. Throughout her active ministry, Catherine pursued eternal Truth through prayer, reading, and ecstatic experiences. While in a trance, Catherine of Sienna dictated The Dialogues-presented here in contemporary English. In this intense and searching work, this saint offers up petitions to God, filling her conversation with instruction on discernment, true and false spiritual emotion, obedience, and truth, and revealing her famous image of Christ as the Bridge. Catherine's brilliant insights into the nature of the spiritual life and the character of the Church will motivate contemporary Christians to unite a life of faith and prayer with a life of action.
Ever since its rediscovery in 1934, "The Book of Margery Kempe" has generally been judged to be over-emotional and its structure regarded as at worst non-existent, at best naive. Naoe Kukita Yoshikawa argues instead that the book unfolds a creative experience of memory as spiritual progress, and explores Margery's meditational experience in the context of visual and verbal iconography. She provides a comprehensive analysis of Margery's meditative experience as it is structured in the book, paying particular attention to five major meditational experiences that influence her spiritual progress and develop a coherent theology.
"Julian of Norwich" was a fourteenth-century woman who at the age
of thirty had a series of vivid visions centered on the crucified
Christ, twenty years later while living as an anchoress in a church
she is believed to have set out her visions in a text called the
Showing of Love. The trend in modern scholarship is to place Julian
in the category of mystic rather than visionary, a classification
which defines her visions as deeply private, psychological events.
This book instead sets Julian's thinking in the context of a
visionary project which she used to instruct the Christian
The remarkable mystic movement of fourteenth-century Germany
produced three major writers--Eckhart, Tauler, and Suso--as well as
a wide audience for their voluminous works. This survey chronicles
the authors' lives, critiques their works, and discusses their
influence on the development of Christian spiritual expression
along with that of their contemporaries, the Friends of God and the
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