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Dark Night of the Soul (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – May 9, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (May 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486426939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486426938
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is the most difficult book I have read.
James G. Bruen Jr.
The book at times addresses itself to a mentor or teacher, and at times to a supplicant seeking spiritual growth.
tmastgrave
The book The Ascent by John of the Cross explores the first night, while this book explores the second.
Alexander Lorincz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stratiotes Doxha Theon VINE VOICE on June 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Do not let the size of this little classic make you think it will be a quick read and easy study. It is difficult reading with regard to the somewhat archaic language but more so for the probing nature the author demonstrates in self-examination. It is not a quick study but one that helps you work out your salvation with fear and trembling. The wounds it can inflict may be painful but necessary for true healing of the human heart. Read and meditate on the words a little at a time - the sections are short enough to facilitate that approach. This is no self-help chicken soup for the dark night, it is major surgery for the wounded and sin-stained heart under intense self-examination.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By tmastgrave on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Dark Night of the Soul is a book on spiritual development, and is obviously intended for already mature Christians. Thus, if you do not fit within this demographic, then regardless of this review, this book is probably not for you at this time in your life. That being said, Dark Night of the Soul is not a fiction book, and so it cannot be reviewed in the format that I normally use to review books. Thus I am going to be using a completely different format entirely.

Overall: 10/10

There are a few books that I would recommend that every serious Christian read at some point in his/her life. Cost of Discipleship and Life Together by Bonhoeffer, Celebration of Discipline by Foster, Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer, The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee, and The Church Impotent by Podles among others. Dark Night of the Soul has recently been moved very high up on this list. Wayne, one of my frequent commenters, posted a couple of weeks ago that he views this book as a manual for spiritual growth. I agree with his concept, but I disagree with his wording. Dark Night of the Soul is an extremely organic book, and I believe that manual has taken on too technical of a meaning to accurately reflect it. The book is an expanded commentary of a poem written by the author, and the organic and artistic nature of the poem is deeply reflected in the form and structure of this book. Of the Mortification of Sin by John Owens is a manual to for spiritual growth, but Dark Night of the Soul serves more as a guide book - perhaps comparable to a hypothetical tourist's guide to Everest. The author points out land marks of spiritual growth, explains what they will look like - and also what they will not look like.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JAMI on October 7, 2012
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THIS BOOK OF ST JOHN OF THE CROSS HAS BEEN A CONSTANT COMPANION FOR YEARS. IT HAS HELPED ME GET THROUGH A LOT OF HARD TIMES AND KEEP ME CLOSE TO GOD AND HIS WILL. THIS BOOK SPURS YOUR SPIRIT ON TO FURTHER HEIGHTS TO REACH THE HEAVENS. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John G. Warzynski on March 25, 2008
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Dark Night of the Soul is a deep book, discussing a familiar struggle of seekers of Jesus Christ our Lord and savior. King David spoke of these lonely times for ones soul,when he felt seperated from Gods love.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By portquin on January 1, 2013
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It's very deep. I think to understand it, one needs to be at a particular stage of faith. Good to read a little at a time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ricardo de Cali on November 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
i enjoy devotional type books. Dark Night of the Soul however has a depth and sobriety to it that the modern books lack. you can almost feel the slower rhythms from the day in which it was written. i don't believe it is impossible for the modern-day Believer to attain this depth of soul-devotion but the monastics definitely have an edge on us. it will challenge you and bring you to a deeper level of devotion if u are commited to it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James G. Bruen Jr. on June 9, 2014
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This is the most difficult book I have read. I gained much from reading it, but there's no doubt that I missed much too, both on its face and in its depth. That's not too surprising or disturbing, for as John of the Cross says of the soul that "can free itself from the house of its sensuality:" "None can understand it, unless as it seems to me, it be the soul who has experienced it."

St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) was a Spanish mystic, canonized in 1675 and named a doctor of the Catholic Church in 1926. A Carmelite priest, he embraced poverty and, working with Teresa of Avila, attempted to reform the order. His fellow Carmelites imprisoned, starved, and tortured him. While imprisoned he wrote a brief poem, Dark Night of the Soul. He then wrote two books, Ascent of Mount Carmel and Dark Night of the Soul, explaining and interpreting the poem. Or he wrote one book doing that: the translator of this edition views Dark Night as a continuation of the Ascent rather than a separate treatise. Or perhaps he wrote no book: it isn't clear to me that he intended the manuscript for publication; it may have been his personal reflections to aid himself. It was published posthumously, nearly twenty years after his death.

In the Ascent, John wrote of the "active" night; the Dark Night addresses the "passive" night of purification of the sense and spirit to prepare the soul for union with God. By himself even with ordinary grace, man cannot be transformed totally in God. God must act on passive man.

The poem is obscure metaphor. In Dark Night, John often uses more metaphor to explain the metaphors, sometimes obscurely. He is often repetitive. Words seem to change meanings. And the book is incomplete; St. John apparently abandoned it before explicating the entire poem.
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