"Origen (c. 185-254), Christian mystic and early father of the Church, was born in Alexandria and lived through the turbulent years during the collapse of the Roman Empire. He sought to rescue and transform what was best of the Roman world and to translate the Christian spiritual quest into a language intelligible to the thoughtful and educated nonbeliever of his day."
"Athanasius (295–373), whom most Protestants traditionally regard as a great leader of the Church, was a theologian, Pope of Alexandria, and a noted Egyptian leader of the 4th century. He is best remembered for his role in the conflict with Arius and Arianism. His famous account, The Life of Antony, tells the spiritual story of St. Antony, the founder of Christian monasticism"
"St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-394), became bishop of the small town of Nyssa in 371 and is known as one of the founders of mystical theology in the Church. In The Life of Moses, one of the most important books in Christian mysticism, Gregory retells the story of Moses's life from the biblical account in Exodus and Numbers and then uses these stories as the basis for profound spiritual lessons"
"St. Augustine (354-430) was a philosopher and theologian, and was bishop of the North African city of Hippo Regius for the last third of his life. Augustine is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity, and is considered to be one of the church fathers. This book features selections from his writings, including Confessions and The City of God"
"Pseudo-Dionysius was a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century, the author of the Corpus Areopagiticum (before 532). His works are mystical and show strong Neoplatonic influence. For example he uses Plotinus' well-known analogy of a sculptor cutting away that which does not enhance the desired image."
"Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) was both a mystic and a reformer. During the 12th century this gentle monk from France became the primary guide for those who follow the path of selfless love as well as a spokesman for a revival in monastic life."
"Bernard of Clairvaux wrote that 'Jesus is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, a cry of joy in the heart.' Critical of the monastic opulence of his times, Bernard exhorted his monks to consider that 'Salt with hunger is seasoning enough for a man living soberly and wisely.' This edition is a selection for the general reader of Bernard’s sermons, treatises, and letters"
"(1098-1179) was widely consulted as an oracle and prophet and wrote prolifically on doctrinal matters, as well as on secular matters like medicine. Elected a magistra in 1136, she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165. Scivias, her major religious work, consists of 26 visions, which are first set down literally as she saw them, and are then explained exegetically"
"Hildegard, the 'Sybil of the Rhine,' was a Benedictine nun and one of the most prolific and original women writers of the Middle Ages. Arranged thematically, this edition of her work brings together selections from her visionary trilogy, her treatise on medicine and the natural world, and her songs and correspondence."
"St. Francis (1181-1226) is well-known for his love of nature and his remarkable life of poverty. Clare (1194-1253) is the woman who lived out his legacy in Assisi after his death, passing on his vision and his cause. Together they shaped the spirituality of early 13th-century Europe. Both born to noble families, they rejected their wealth and founded religious orders. Selected letters and writings"
"Bonaventure (1221–1274), an Italian theologian and monk, is widely considered the greatest Franciscan mystic after St. Francis himself. Commissioned by the Franciscan Order, Bonaventure wrote this official biography of St. Francis of Assisi in 1260 - his account is simple yet inspiring, and essential reading for those looking to understand the remarkable life and spirituality of this revered saint"
"Written by Ugolino in Latin, this was translated into the Italian Tuscan dialect by an anonymous translator and named The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi, a collection of anecdotes regarding St. Francis and his early disciples. In this context 'Fioretti' ('garden of flowers') means simply 'more noteworthy things,' things omitted from the formal biographies of the Saint."
"Selections from the writings of the German–born Meister Eckhart (1260–1328), Dominican philosopher and spiritual master; from counsels on discernment to a treatise on detachment as the most essential virtue"
"Written by an anonymous English monk during the late 14th century, The Cloud of Unknowing is a sublime expression of what separates God from humanity. A work of simplicity, courage, and lucidity, it is a contemplative classic on the deep mysteries of faith."
"Julian (1342–1416), was an English anchoress who is regarded as one of the most important Christian mystics. She received 16 'showings' or revelations of God's love in a series of experienced visions. The first version was a short text. The second, longer version was apparently written some years after the first, when she had had time to pray and reflect about the teachings God had given her."
"Kempis (1380-1471) was a late Medieval Catholic monk. A prolific copyist and writer, Thomas's life was a quiet one, his time being spent between devotional exercises, composition, and copying. This meditation on the spiritual life has inspired readers from Thomas More and St. Ignatius Loyola to Thomas Merton."
"More (1478–1535). This book draws on a variety of More's late writings--the 'Tower Works,' written in prison, his last letters to his daughter Margaret, and his poems, private prayers and devotional works."
"Ignatius (1491–1556) was a Spanish knight from a Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and was its first Superior General. Ignatius emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation. The insight of the Exercises is that the divine love of God is providentially present in all the details of our existence"
"A man who turned away from the Spanish nobility to create the revolutionary Jesuit Order, inspired by the desire to help people follow Christ. His Reminiscences describe his early life, his religious conversion following near-paralysis in battle, and his spiritual and physical ordeals as he struggled to assist those in need, including plague, persecution and imprisonment."
"John Calvin (1509-1564), a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and a central developer of Reformed theology (a.k.a. Calvinism). In Geneva, his ministry both attracted other Protestant refugees and over time made that city a major force in the spread of Reformed theology. He is renowned for his teachings and writings, particularly his Institutes of the Christian Religion."
"Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), a renowned Spanish mystic and writer of the Counter Reformation, received the vision for The Interior Castle one Sunday in 1577. In this signature work, Teresa uses the castle as a symbol for the interior life to describe her mystical experience of the presence of God."
"John of the Cross (1542-1591) was a major figure of the Counter Reformation, a Spanish mystic, Carmelite friar and priest, and contemporary of Teresa of Avila who became one of Christianity's foremost spiritual teachers. This volume contains his most stirring works, including the classic The Dark Night, in which John expands on the role of darkness in the spiritual journey"
"Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism from the late-17th to the mid-18th century. Influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, it inspired Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, and Alexander Mack to begin the Brethren movement. It combined the Lutheran emphasis on Biblical doctrine with the Reformed emphasis on individual piety, and a vigorous Christian life."
"William Law (1686-1761) was an Anglican priest who specialized in providing spiritual direction. His best known piece, A Serious Call, deeply influenced English religious revivals. John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Henry Venn, Thomas Scott and Thomas Adam all express their debt to the author. Samuel Johnson , Gibbon, Lord Lyttelton and Bishop Home all spoke enthusiastically of its merits"
"John (1703-1791) and Charles (1707-1788) Wesley led the Methodist revival that swept 18th-century England and America and changed the face of Christianity forever. Their spirituality synthesized a unique blend of elements from the church fathers, Catholic mystics, and Protestant Reformers. This selection includes John's incisive writings on the spiritual life as well as Charles’ famous hymns."