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Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition Paperback – March 1, 2002


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Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition + Despondency: The Spiritual Teaching of Evagrius of Pontus + Dragon's Wine and Angel's Bread
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898708370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898708370
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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For the person who in serious about their personal prayer life this book is a must have.
Michael Dubruiel
Orthodox Christians, Catholics, and even High Church/Traditional-minded Anglicans will likely enjoy this book as well.
jwinch2
A characteristic simplicity of language conveys depth and good sense in the author's own prayer life.
Edward M. Freeman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By tepi on May 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Anyone who is at all interested in prayer, or in the Early Fathers in general, should read this book. It is extremely well-researched and well-written, and the reader will be surprised again and again at the many aspects of prayer which the world has forgotten, but which for the early Christians were of vital importance.

Fr. Bunge, for example, explores in detail the question of just which direction should we face when praying, and reveals that there is a whole theology implicit in this seemingly trivial matter. He also explores such things as the question of why prayer should sometimes be said aloud, and when it should be silent; why physical posture when praying is extremely important and which postures we should adopt; what happens during prayer, the interior processes, and much else besides.

The book is well-printed on excellent paper, is sewn and in a durable paper cover, is fully annotated and has a detailed bibliography, and is enlivened with many interesting pen and ink illustrations. This is a book that will repay careful study and re-reading, and, unlike so many of the 'books' we are being given today, it will not fall apart when being re-read. Ignatius Press is to be congratulated on having given us such a well-produced book at such a modest price.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael Dubruiel on February 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of those rare gems that you find once in a great while. For the person who in serious about their personal prayer life this book is a must have. Father Bunge critiques the problems of modern Catholic prayer and lays out a plan for individual prayer and shows the basis on the early church fathers. This is an informative and practical book! I highly recommend it.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rex on November 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Patrology (Study of Church Fathers) guides Fr. Gabriel Bunge O.S.B., a Benedictine Priest and Monk, as to how a person can actually pray. If you are interested in "Personal Prayers," this book is for you. These days, many priests reduce spirituality to nothing more than "social activism." While, the fundamental virtue of charity and love is expected of every Christian, nevertheless, prayer becomes the summit of one's spirituality as underscored by Fr. Gabriel. In fact, he ruminates about the paradox in the surge of books on Spirituality even as voices of "crisis of faith" are on the rise.

Fr. Gabriel also explains how "theory" and "practice" blend with each other and often one cannot stop with "practice" alone. If people were contented with only service and being good to all, then they should not be thirsting for contemplative mode of prayers. So obviously, the soul craves for more. He argues, that there are innate traits within a human-being that drive him or her to contemplative mode of prayers. Prayer is a dialogue between the soul of a person and God. Deriving the inspiration from the ancient Church Fathers, is a sure way to enhance one's own relationship with God.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Wilkens on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This small volume provides a glimpse of the invaluable patristic traditions related to prayer--personal and corporate. One must agree with the eremitic Gabriel Bunge when he states that '...for a Christian, the study of the holy Fathers can never remain merely academic patrology, which does not necessarily influence the life of the one who is studying.' The organization and erudition of this work are superior and effective in conveying the wealth of our common, though sadly now mostly abandoned, heritage as followers of Christ Jesus. As one interested in things-patristic, Bunge's Earthen Vessels has taken its place as a precious addition to my library. May God bless his voice even as he blesses the Church!

J. Patrick Wilkens
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Edward M. Freeman on April 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Less than a year after the author, Hieromonk Gabriel [Bunge], was received into the Orthodox Church by Metropolitans Hilarion and Kallistos on the eve of the Dormition Feast 2010 in Moscow, I would like to add another review of Michael J. Miller's translation of 'Irdene Gefäße: Die Praxis des persönliche Gebetes nach der 'berliefung des heiligen Väter' [Verlag Der Christliche Osten, W'rzberg, 1996].

One jacket endorsement by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, states that insights in the book "...are a good beginning for someone who wants to know not only the Church of the Bible but also the Church of the Fathers." Indeed, it is "a good beginning" for beginners and seasoned veterans in my view. This book speaks about God "...not on the basis of scientific study, but as the fruit of the most intimate familiarity" [15], because the book explores theology "in the original sense" [15].

A characteristic simplicity of language conveys depth and good sense in the author's own prayer life. Those who are even slightly experienced in Prayer of the Heart and related disciplines will spot this feature about the author from the very first page. Yet no one should say that the author has not done his scholarly homework in primary sources of Patristic literature.

It is clear that Evagrius' of Ponticus--a fourth-century ascetical authority-- writings occupy an important part of the book. Some 46 pages [of 203 total pages] bear references to Evagrius' teachings.
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