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Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality Presented in Four Paths, Twenty-Six Themes, and Two Questions Paperback – October 9, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matthew Fox was a member of the Dominican Order in good standing for 34 years until he was expelled by former Pope Joseph Ratzinger, who was a cardinal and chief inquisitor at the time. Matthew Fox is the founder of Wisdom University (formerly the University of Creation Spirituality) and the foremost proponent of Creation Spirituality, based on the mystical teachings of early Christian visionaries such as Hildegard von Bingen, Meister Eckhart, and Saint Thomas Aquinas. He is the author of 26 books, including "Original Blessing" and "The Coming of the Cosmic Christ."

From AudioFile

Michael Toms presents a swift and unadorned reading of Matthew Fox's consciousness-changing text. The treatise traces the effect of the advancement of Fall/Redemption theology and the denial of Creation-centered theology on contemporary society. Fox was defrocked by the Roman Catholic Church for the ideologies he supports in this text. Toms, the writer, editor and broadcast producer of public radio's New Age "Dimensions," is at home with the subject. His sincere rendering of the text creates an appropriate earnestness as background. A contemporary interview with Matthew Fox conducted by Toms rewards the listener at the end. C.F.G. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; 1st Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam ed edition (October 9, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585420670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585420674
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
'Just to be is a blessing.
Just to live is holy.'
-- Abraham Heschel
I first discovered the book 'Original Blessing' by Matthew Fox about a dozen years ago; originally published in 1983, it has become a widely read and used spiritual guide for many. My first experience of this book (and I do consider it a genuine experience) coincided with my first trip to St. Gregory's Abbey, a benedictine monastery with which I've maintained a connexion over the years. This book was a wonderful accompaniment for that spiritual retreat, and has remained a favourite book to be packed for reference and review each time I go on another.
Fox has organised the book into four broad sections, or paths:
Path I: Befriending Creation--the Via Positiva
This path explores creation, activity, beauty and justice, panentheism (the idea of God in everything), a sense of realised eschatology (something akin to the saying that 'the kingdom of God is in you'), incarnation and personal freedom and worthiness.
Path II: Befriending Darkness, Letting Go and Letting Be--the Via Negativa
This path explores those things which sometimes get in the way, such as pain, emptiness, silence, negative things--however, new perspective is sought (for example, it is into the silence that God often speaks; without silence, the voice is not heard). This is perhaps the most beautiful part of the book for me at times, as it helps in times of trouble -- as Meister Eckhart states, 'Remember this: All suffering comes to an end. And whatever you suffer authentically, God has suffered from it first.'
Path III: Befriending Creativity, Befriending our Divinity--the Via Creativa
This path is perhaps the most fun part of the book, as it engages the creative flow of art, music, conversation and writing.
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It's been a long time since I first read this book--almost twenty years--and I'd forgotten just how brilliant it is until I recently returned to it. If anything, my admiration for it this second time around has increased. I honestly think the book is one of the most original theological reflections to come out of the twentieth century.
Like all works of genius, the thesis is simple and elegant. Fox's central claim is that Christianity in the west (not so much in the orthodox east) has focused upon the nonscriptural notion of original sin at the expense of scripture's exuberant message of joyful original blessing. Original sin, which appears to be the fifth-century contribution of Augustine, generates a worldview centering around a primordial fall salvaged by a bloody sacrifice (Christ's). From this way of approaching reality, humans are depraved, the world is fallen, and experiences such as beauty or the erotic are immediately suspect as temptations. The original blessing model, which Fox claims can be traced back to the Genesis account of God's creation of a "good" universe, argues instead for a panentheism that sees God--and God's goodness, light, beauty, and love--in (but not exhausted by) the created order, thereby opening up the possibility that humans are good because made in God's image, and that the world and all of God's gifts should be celebrated rather than condemned.
Put slightly differently: the original sin model sees fallenness as the norm and goodness (which, given our depraved nature, is possibly only by grace, which in turn becomes a kind of magic bullet) the exception. The original blessing model sees goodness and continuous grace as the norms, and fallenness as the exception.
Fox isn't naive.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not good at giving insightful reviews of anything. But I just had to say something about this book.
I originally heard of this book while researching for myself alternate ways of approaching my Christianity. I had been raised in a very strict church upbringing and had long since lost any real enthusiasm for the denomination I had attended, as well as any I had attended since leaving home. With my upbringing as well as attending two separate Christian universities, it seemed to me that many people were missing at least one or two very important things ... perhaps more. ..when it came to how they viewed themselves in context to the rest of the world and even to God from within the shroud of Christianity. Eventually, I decided to go it alone, and tried to hammer out my own path: Hardly a new religion, but very much a new philosophy. One that worked, and inspired one to good works and a good life, and not just reward or bragging rights in a congregation's hierarchy of `most spirit filled people'. Certainly not one that lead to the sort of empty `righteousness' I was so used to seeing and hearing.
(I had spent some time out and about in the world and with many sorts of people, and by the time I returned to my nice safe Christian home, my viewpoint had been forever changed.)
When I first bought this book I had never heard of Fox, and I approached it with a level of polite skepticism; primarily because there are so many books out there in the genre of Christianity in general that finding a good one is almost a miracle in itself.
Behold one such miracle.
There is another review on this page (by FrKurt Messick-a top 100 reviewer, even!) that covers the sections of the book, so I won't go into that.
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