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Athanasius : The Life of Antony and the Letter To Marcellinus Paperback – January 1, 1979


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press; No Edition Stated edition (January 1, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809122952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809122950
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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I read this book when I was a seminarian in 1975.
Barnabus
Raised as a Protestant, my earliest experiences of St. Antony were from El Greco's magnificent painting.
Andrew Dahlburg
I highly recommend it to anyone searching for deeper understanding of the Christian life.
C. Burdette

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By benjamin on November 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Although the preface is a bit lacking, the two works by St. Athanasius translated here are worth not only reading, but contemplating and wrestling with as well.
The first work, The Life of Antony, is a work about the father of Christian asceticism, St. Antony of Egypt. It contains both narrative and doctrinal content; the doctrinal content is presented in the forms of discourses by Antony, usually to groups of monks. He teaches much on demons and the discernment of spirits, the fate of souls after death, the importance of staying within the Church and staying away from schismatics and heretics. The discourses are, at a few points, a bit polemical - like many works from the early Church - but not excessively overbearing.
The uniqueness of the story is not just in Antony's doctrinal discourses, though. The narrative teaches things all its own. One of these things is that by separating one's self from the world the holy person becomes so much more indespensible to the world. Although Antony lived as a monk separate from the world, he was never separated from the world; in geographically and spiritually separating himself from the world, Antony became that much more involved in his world. He taught, healed, exorcised demons and engaged in debates with philosophers, all of this because of his reputation as a holy man.
From this follows something else taught by the narrative: the pursuit of God truly transforms one and causes one to become a conduit for God's healing and redemption of the world. Antony received visions and words of knowledge about people and things about to occur and more people were converted to the Christian faith. The work of Antony, as the book repeatedly emphasizes, is the work of God.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Burdette on April 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Life of St. Antony was very uplifting and encouraging. The Letter to Marcellinus really helped me view the Psalms in a different light. It was a great benefit to read this book. I highly recommend it to anyone searching for deeper understanding of the Christian life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TheoGnostus on September 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The personalization of the mystical path begun with Philo's presentation of Moses and the patriarchs here reaches a new stage, as Athanasius portrays his contemporary, Anthony the Monachos, as the ideal mystic initiate." Bernard McGinn, The Foundation of Mysticism

Antony, the Father of Monks:
I was captivated when I first heard, at an early age of twelve, the Life of St. Antony, written by Athanasius, the heroic defender of church orthodoxy. The stories of Antony's battles with demons, and his toil and escape into the desert to avoid temptation, appeal to Coptic kids, even at early age and is used by the church to promote the monastic ideals in childhood.
The Vita Antonini, which St Athanasius wrote as the hagiography of Saint Antony, unveils fascinating mystical encounters while living daily within the boundary of a world ruled by the Powers of darkness. Written about 357, three decades after his election for Papacy in the great church of Alexandria, the Megalopolice. Athanasius for more than a half century toiled to preserve Nicene Orthodoxy, championed by him and by his successors establishing the solid foundation upon which Christian faith of the Christian East was built.

Antony's Pilgrimage:
Antony's monastic pilgrimage was plagued with spiritual warfare during which Antony resisted temptation and became a target for renewed attacks. The rest of the work could be sorted as a manual of monastic instruction, with particular emphasis on resisting evil through self mortification. Within the same patristic tradition John Cassian and Evagrius Ponticus wrote their marvelous books for lay and monastics. Athanasius records Antony's struggles, and tells his readers how to recognize and fight the devil. St.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barnabus on September 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book when I was a seminarian in 1975. But, must be honest and say that I didn't have the maturity to understand desert spirituality then. Heck, I was only 22 years old. And, I was only beginning to understand myself. But, now, at age 60 and having done a lot more interior work psychologically, and in spiritual direction, I wish God would raise up more Anthony's, and also the desert mothers who sought refuge to be in the Presence of our Lord. These folks, and their witness could have an immensely positive impact on a society which is confused, lost, becoming morally bankrupt, greedy, and, you fill in the blank.

Having said that, I'm not saying that our culture is totally destitute of morality. There are examples every day of folks who love and work for justice and righteousness. They don't always make the news, which is sad.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Don on April 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well done translation of Athanasius' work. The second most read book in history (next to the Bible) for about a thousand years. Very fascinating story. It does seem exaggerated or far fetched at some points, but still very inspiring and historically very important.
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By Patricia on July 11, 2014
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Every Christian should have this in their library.
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By Steven J Rhudy on July 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
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Format: Paperback
In our time, many of us have been influenced by the wonderful testimonies of C.S. Lewis, "Surprised by Joy" or N.T. Wright's "Surprised by Hope". Big picture, spiritual autobiographical or biographical accounts have played a key role in presenting the Christian witness to the world at large down through the ages. Off the top of my head I also think of St. Augustine's "Confessions", the lives of the Celtic saints, and John Henry Newman's "Apologia Pro Vita Sua", just to name a few.

It is within this context-the context of saintly stories, or hagiography-with which I wish to discuss Athanasius's brilliant "The Life of Antony", one of the most popular works of the early Middle Ages. "The Life of Antony" is where hagiography began, at least for the Christian Church and the Celtic Church. Many scholars believe Antony's Life to be Athanasius's most influential work, quite a statement for a theologian who also wrote significant treatises on the Trinity and the Incarnation, books and arguments which are still debated in seminaries and churches today. Even so, this is a Christian classic that believers will find worth a read.

Raised as a Protestant, my earliest experiences of St. Antony were from El Greco's magnificent painting. How different this notion of solitary spirituality was to the model that was being presented to me by the contemporary church! It was only when I attended seminary, and later pursued Celtic studies, that I realized the significance of this strange man who fled to the desert and found God. And how strange that (according to Athanasius) God would use an illiterate layperson to become the father of all monks and all monasticism!

This is a wonderful, surprising and often shocking read.
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