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Athanasius: The Life of Antony (HarperCollins Spiritual Classics)by Athanasius
Synopses & Reviews
A beautiful portrait of the radical devotion of St. Antony and his call to holy living.
"It was truly amazing that being alone in such a desert Antony was niether distracted by the demons who confronted him, nor was he frightened of their ferocity when so many four–legged beasts and reptiles were there. But truly he was one who, as Scripture says, having trusted in the Lord, was like Mount Zion, keeping his mind unshaken and unruffled; so instead the demons fled and the wild beasts, as it is written, made peace with him."––from The Life of Antony
Athanasius (c. 295–373) was an Alexandrian whose life was committed at an early age to the Christian community growing there. He became a controversial bishop and one of the most vivid and forceful personalities in political and religious affairs. His famous account, The Life of Antony, inaugurated the genre of the lives of the saints and established the frame of Christian hagiography, quickly attaining the status of a classic and becoming one of the most influential writings in Christian history. It tells the spiritual story of St. Antony, the founder of Christian monasticism. A pioneer in spiritual experience, he marked a new epoch in the Christian experience and set the terms for the Church's ideal of the life of devotion. He transferred the center of monastic life from the periphery of established communities to the barren and isolated setting of a hermitage, away from civilization, in a location of solitude and serenity. The Life of Antony is a beautiful portrait of what a life committed to God demands and promises.
The desert monks in Egypt asked Athanasius to write an account of Saint Antony's life because they saw in it the ideal pattern for how to live the ascetical life: a life of steadfast devotion, complete dependence on God, and ruthless trust. Antony is often called the father of Christian monasticism. With his resolute commitment to reject anything that might hinder his communion with God, Antony shifted the center of monastic life from the periphery of established communities to the hermitage, separated from civilization, in a location of solitude and serenity. By spending days out in the desert and even living for a while in a tomb, he exemplified the life of total dependence on God. Saint Antony's story is a riveting account of both what a life committed to God demands and what it promises. <P> Athanasius (c. 295-373) was a controversial bishop in Alexandria who became a force in political and religious affairs. His famous account of the life of Antony was the first volume to detail the life of a saint. The book soon became a classic and one of the most influential writings in Christian history.
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The HarperCollins Spiritual Classics series presents short, accessible introductions to the foundational works that shaped Western religious thought and culture. This series seeks to find new readers for these dynamic spiritual voices — voices that have changed lives throughout the centuries and still can today.
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