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The Book of Mystical Chapters: Meditations on the Soul's Ascent, From the Desert Fathers and Other Early Christian Contemplativesby John Anthony Mcguckin
Synopses & Reviews
The early Christian monks of Egypt, Syria, and Palestine were the spiritual heroes of their age—fleeing the security of civilization for the desert, where they sought God in lives of prayer, contemplation, and radical simplicity. This book is a portable collection of their teachings, and those of their contemplative contemporaries, ranging from the fourth through the eleventh centuries. It is arranged to the traditional model of three ascending "books": Praktikos (practice), Theoretikos (theory), and Gnosis (knowledge). Each book consists of 100 "sentences"—aphorisms or thoughts. Each sentence is intended to be read and meditated upon for an entire day—just as the monks themselves might have done as they went about their work.
This unique anthology consists of 300 short meditations, rendered in simple free verse, by Christian contemplatives from the fourth to the eleventh centuries. The book features teachings of the Desert Fathers, the legendary monks who fled city life in order to dedicate themselves to a life of contemplation. These poetic and stirring meditations are arranged as a program of study under three traditional headings: practice, theory, and knowledge.
About the Author
John Anthony McGuckin is a Professor of Early Church History at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a priest of the Orthodox Church. Born in Newcastle, England, he is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the author of nine books, including Standing in God's Holy Fire: The Byzantine Tradition and At the Lighting of the Lamps: Hymns of the Ancient Church.
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