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Lost Christianity Paperback – August 25, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (August 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585422533
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585422531
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The acclaimed author of The American Soul, Why Can’t We Be Good? and Money and the Meaning of Life, Jacob Needleman is Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University, and former Director of the Center for the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. He lives in Oakland, CA.

More About the Author

Jacob Needleman, the acclaimed author of The American Soul and Money and the Meaning of Life, is a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University, and a former director of the Center for the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Customer Reviews

The author also uses a DIFFICULT to follow writing style with complex, run-on sentences.
ReformedGirls
I'd recommend this book to any Christian who's curious as to what happened to spiritual component in Christianity.
R. Clampitt
I did learn some things in the book, but not so much on what I had hoped it would tell me.
C. Richard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jason Mierek on April 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I must agree with a previous reviewer who claimed that this book challenges the reader to re-think almost everything they understand about "lost" Christianity. Needleman does not present another work on Gnosticism, Christian contemplation, esoteric teachings, or hidden gospels; instead he indicates that a change of heart (an almost ontological change, and not merely one in thought and emotion) is necessary for even the most rudimentary Christian teachings to take root and become REAL in a person's lived experience.

Professor Needleman's writing is superb, with insightful (DEEPLY insightful) comments abounding (in some places, I flagged one or two sentences per paragraph, which is rare). The only "drawback" is that it is up to the reader to find the spiritual guidance necessary to maintain the Question, to develop the unity of purpose needed to realize the Christian gospel (or any other wisdom teachings, for that matter). At least I have a clearer notion of what I am seeking and of what I need to make my Buddhist and Christian spiritual practices REAL.

I am definitely going to reread this book. Highly, highly recommended.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
St. Benedict is to have said: "Always, we begin again". The older I get, the more I know this to be true..especially in light of the urgency I feel for that Truth within Christianity that I know to exist- but how often it eludes me! Prof. Needleman lead me through his own search for possibility. "Occult Christianity", "New Religions", the emptiness of philosophy without a change of Heart,..read and know you DON'T have to look to an Eastern religion for that Kingdom of Heaven within. (I also recommend Robin Amis' "A Different Christianity")
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By R. Clampitt on August 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
His main premise is that Christianity has lost any real means of spiritualy transforming people. That the methods that teach us the "how to" have been lost or replaced with emotional indulgance pretending to be spirituality. As Needleman says "all real religions produce results." The inability for mainstream Chrisitian chruches to do that and even keep members is a sobering reminder that something has gone wrong within western Christianity.
So professor Needleman turns to the more intact Eastern Orthodox Church and does this by using several contemporary Christian thinkers and some of the Orthodox Saints like St. Symeon the New Theologian and St. Gregory Palamas, Thomas Merton, Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, Gurdjieff, and Father Sylvan (it is debateble if Father Sylvan was real, but if he was, I sure hope Prof. Needleman publishes this man's manuscript, hint hint). To illustrate modern Christianity's plight.
Though I have a problem with his inclusion of Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff teachings were not necessarily Christian per se. Gurdjieff advocated the path of the householder not the monk nor the priest. Christianity has no path for the householder who wishes to pursue theosis.
He's right in my opinion, if you examine the Philokalia, though comments from St. Maximus the Confessor, or St. Symeon the New Theologian supports Needleman's assertion that methods once existed for transformation. Though not couched in our modern day verbage, but it's there if you can see. BTW Needlman illustrates this via St. Symeon's understanding on how to fulfill the Sermon on the Mount show just how far away we are from being Christians.
But as Needleman implies it is not a continuous or living tradition like Sufism or Buddhism where the teachings can be passed on from teacher to student.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Nandarani Evans on March 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have to give some personal background to situate myself. I am a Hare Krishna devotee exploring Christianity again. This book was valuable because of its orientation. It is focused simultaneously on Needleman's personal journey to find the answers to some key questions about Christianity, and the development of a practical orientation which, I firmly believe, the reader will take away, never forget, and use. Among the fascinating people one meets are an Eastern Orthodox cleric, a mysterious Christian monk evidently from Egypt, and a Western Catholic priest - each of whom is onto something no one else seems to be. No superficial book this; for people who are serious and uncompromising in their quest for spiritual development on an ongoing basis. Practical, private, powerful; not doctrine. Engrossing. Turned it around and began it again; ordered several copies for friends.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jacob Needleman has had the courage to re-examine the most basic assumptions about what Jesus intended to communicate, and he does so by sharing the most deeply held thoughts of several extraordinary Christian thinkers today. "All real religion produces results," Needleman writes, and the inability of many of the modern organized Christian churches to do that -- to transform the thought and lives of believers as radically as primitive Christianity did -- reflects the spiritual atrophy that only a rigorous re-thinking of the original Christian ideas can correct. This book can spark your own part in that re-thinking...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. J MOSS on January 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Needleman's praiseworthy investigation is, in some ways a contemporizing of the language of Gurdjieff's writings and teachings from the 3rd and 4th decades of the last century. Needleman's search arose in the late 60s as the spiritual search of youth consciousness trended towards Eastern religious practices. He questioned what was failing with the Christian practices that the East promised to fill. His mouthpiece for bringing Gurdjieffan perceptions closer to our times is an English monk, Father Sylvan, steeped in theology from all walks and attuned to a kaleidiscope of practices for 'soul formation' alien to status quo religion. Needleman disclaims Sylvan as his literary invention. Whether he is or not, it's his questions that drive the book. The concluding chapter,'The Lost religion of Love' is a 'pearler', whether you are a Christian or not(I don't claim as much).J G Bennett, in his voluminous publications and study groups, also set about transmitting Gurdjief's perceptions about'inner Christianity' and his writings and exercises are more expansive about energies and the 'two steams' of attention and dispersal. It's curious, given the commonality of their aims and Bennett's prodigious efforts, that he goes unmentioned in this book. Commentary on the writings of the Desert Fathers, on The Cloud of Unknowing, Loyola, Eckhart, Thomas Merton and others are offered in this thought arousing survey whose message of neighbourly love has lost none of its essential poignancy.
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