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Essential Monastic Wisdom: Writings on the Contemplative Life Paperback – May 16, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Essential Monastic Wisdom: Writings on the Contemplative Life, edited and translated by Hugh Feiss, is the Benedictine version of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Feiss assimilates a broad range of arcane material and makes it accessible to the general reader without rendering the tough parts of monasticism toothless. His book begins with a concise history of monasticism; then it provides hundreds of quotations describing three essential concerns of Benedictine life: "Ordering Time and Place," "Character," and "The Good Desired and Possessed." Concrete expressions of each concern are further organized into collections of quotations with headings such as "Hospitality," "Discernment," "Longing," and "Love," making Essential Monastic Wisdom an extremely useful resource for readers seeking inspiration and guidance in many essential aspects of spiritual life. In addition to the oft-heard voices in the monastic chorus--such as St. Anthony, Thomas Merton, and Hildegarde--this book introduces readers to a number of characters whose wisdom is more seldom heard. Among these are Amma Syncletica, a fifth-century nun who describes the suffering of women in childbirth, offering the still-valid observation that "towards women generally there is great hostility in the world"; and Peter of Celle, a 12th-century monk and biblical commentator who describes a room that contains nothing to read as "a hell without consolation ... a tomb without ventilation." --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...an excellent guide to the literature of monasticism." -- National Catholic Reporter
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (May 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060624825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060624828
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,270,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful and readable review of monastic life. As a "normal" person (not a monastic) my assumption is that monastic life is overwhelmingly complicated and difficult to life. This book does a wonderful job of explaining the ideas behind monastic life in an easy way that is not the least bit overwhelming. This book includes much spirituality that I enjoyed thinking about and comparing to my own spirituality. If you are interested in religious studies, you'll really enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
The "wisdom" here is mostly Benedictine (except for Thomas Merton and a few others), which left me wishing that the editor of this volume would have included more from a wider range of monastic traditions. Nevertheless, there are a lot of good seeds for contemplation and action here, and, after all, Benedict is the one who codified the life of the monastic to begin with. This is definitely a good volume to have on hand.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book that will help the reader (Catholic or not) retreat into that world of peace that can be found in monastic life.
The reading selections are from a variety of authors, as far back as the desert dwelling monks and as recent as Thomas Merton.
It's not a book to sit down and read, it's a book to use as a guide for meditation. Reading it brings insight into the monastic tradition, breaks down a lot of presuppositions and prejudices, and brings the reader into a feeling of peace.
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