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Philokalia - The Eastern Christian Spiritual Texts: Selections Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations) Paperback – August 1, 2006


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Philokalia - The Eastern Christian Spiritual Texts: Selections Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations) + The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way + The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 1); Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and St. Markarios of Corinth
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Product Details

  • Series: SkyLight Illuminations
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: SkyLight Paths; 1 edition (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594731039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594731037
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An invaluable treasury of wisdom.... Offers a simple guide to the way (through one's heart) and means (through prayer) of arriving from the spiritual starting-point (of repentance in the heart) to the wonderful destination (of stillness and salvation) found in the love of divine beauty." -- John Chryssavgis, author of Light through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition

"Gives us a first glimpse into the vast riches of the Philokalia [and will] encourage many to drink deeply from the wisdom of this classic text of Christian Orthodoxy." -- Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

"Like water in the desert ... invites us not only to go deeper into the life of prayer but takes us off the treadmill of endless self-invention. A clearly and beautifully annotated text that will make the Philokalia accessible to a new generation of readers. A gift for our time." -- Fr. Alan Jones, dean, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco; author of Soul Making and The Soul's Journey

"The best of the Philokalia in a clear, helpfully organized format. A marvelous introduction to the vast treasury of spiritual wisdom in the Orthodox Christian tradition. Fertile ground here for reflection and lectio divina." -- Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, PhD, director, Aspen Wisdom School

"[An] authoritative resource.... Will go far toward making one of the great treasures of Eastern Christian spirituality accessible to followers of Christ in the West." -- Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Illumined Heart and Facing East

About the Author

Allyne Smith is an Orthodox priest who writes and lectures on Orthodox theology, ethics, liturgy and spirituality, both in the U.S. and abroad. He teaches theology at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.



G. E. H. Palmer also translated Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart.



Philip Sherrard was a poet, translator, literary scholar, theologian and interpreter of the Orthodox tradition.



Bishop Kallistos Ware is a renowned Orthodox theologian, author and translator of the Philokalia.


More About the Author

ALLYNE SMITH is an Orthodox priest, theologian, and philosopher. He has taught philosophy and theology in several colleges, universities, and professional schools.

Customer Reviews

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Highly recommended for all Christians but especially for those nurtured in the Eastern traditions.
Stratiotes Doxha Theon
Its layout of brief quotes could be used as an accompaniment to prayer, bible reading, group discussions, or simple reflection.
matt
So I ended up reading a page or two a day, every once in a while over the course of several months.
Volkert Volkersz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on September 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Philokalia is Orthodox Christianity's collection of great spiritual writings from the Church fathers. It is a collection of writings that range over about a thousand year period, starting around the year 400. The Philokalia itself is a multi-volume tome of very dense religious writing. I find it a bit like reading Oscar Wilde, in that each sentence is a gem, but the overall effect is that it is unreadable. It's just too dense for the likes of me (or, more correctly, I'm too dense for it.)

So I found this book a wonderful way of approaching the Philokalia. It has brief snippets from the texts -- usually two to four sentences at a time -- that express a single idea of the original author. On the facing page, the editor provides annotations that help you understand the context and intent of the passage. Reading a page or two of the selections can serve as a daily devotional that exposes you to the more mystical Eastern Orthodox flavor of Christianity.

You can't really say that you've read the Philokalia if all you read is this annotated selection, but you may well be able to say that you have been enriched by Eastern Orthodox thought.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Stratiotes Doxha Theon VINE VOICE on February 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
The format of this work into sections and each section containing short quotes, makes it ideally suited as a devotional work you can read and meditate with in short bits at a time. The commentary along the facing page makes it easy to find help when you need it. Very clear, concise, and inspiring. A solid edition for theological study or purely as meditation/prayer helps. Highly recommended for all Christians but especially for those nurtured in the Eastern traditions.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Extensively annotated by Orthodox priest Allyne Smith and skillfully translated by G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Bishop Kallistos Ware, Philokalia: The Eastern Christian Spiritual Texts, Selections Annotated & Explained is a collection of writings by monks from the fourth to fifteenth centuries, embodying the Eastern Church's interpretation of biblical meaning. Emphasizing mystical and contemplative practices that engage all senses in worship and prayer, Philokalia is wonderfully made fully accessible to professional theologians and lay Christians and spiritualists alike. Each two-page spread contains a passage on the right, and annotations on the left, the better to simplify reference and understanding. An invaluable addition to spirituality and Christian literature shelves, whether as part of a church or home library.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Volkert Volkersz on January 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
When I began exploring the Orthodox Christian faith in 1997, I was advised by the priest who would become my spiritual father against reading the Philokalia because it is too strong a medicine for someone just starting out. To date, I still haven't read the Philokalia, although I've seen quotes in many of the other readings I've done over the years.

When I saw this volume, Philokalia: The Eastern Christian Spiritual Texts - Selections Annotated & Explained, in a bookstore a few years ago, I thought this was what I needed. I figured with the format of short quotes on the right page, and annotated commentaries on the facing page, I could zip through this book in a few days. Wrong. Even in small doses, this is strong medicine. So I ended up reading a page or two a day, every once in a while over the course of several months.

The seven sections in this book cover repentance, the heart, prayer, the Jesus Prayer, the passions, stillness and theosis. Every quote is a gem and worth the price of the book. Anyone who wants to get to the heart of Orthodoxy, theology in the sense of "knowing God," this is an excellent way to go.

I have minor quibbles with the book, one is the language in places is very archaic. One can usually figure out what the translators mean, but they come up with some interesting words. The other is the use of the word "intellect" for "nous." I'd prefer to use the word "nous," which is what most other Orthodox writers do these days.

Other than that, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to go deeper in their Christian walk. It's for all Christians, not just Orthodox. And by all means, take it slowly.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Aceto TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Philokalia, the love of beauty, is a body of Greek writings dating from Late Antiquity, collected by Russian monks. Their preserved compilation was finally published in Venice in 1782, according to Diarmaid MacCulloch in his magnum opus "Christianity: The First Three Thousand Pages", I mean `years'. I read Philokalia because of its central role in the "The Way of the Pilgrim", which I read because of MacCullough (a favorite of Eamon Duffy) and because of "Franny and Zooey". This Sky Light Illuminations edition is a simple sampling with page facing annotations for each selection.

The most immediate link from the Philokalia to The Way of the Pilgrim is the hesychia, or the stillness, created by perpetual prayer. In this case it is the Jesus Prayer. This prayer's focus is repentance as the way back to communion with God. The Greek infinitive `hesychazo' i.e., to be still (quiet). Noumina does not like jitter and buzz, all a waste of energy. To glow with transcendent light (knowledge), the heart must be open. To be open the heart must be still.

As so often in Greek classical philosophy (look, another philo), the key is intellectual, in this case the key to repentance. For these thinkers, sin and repentance fall largely in the domain of the intellect, of reason. The Greek connection to the spiritual is numinous, not so much the emotional:

There is within us, on the noetic plane, a warfare tougher than that on the plane of the senses. -- Philotheos

Even the mystical is indeed performatively reasonable, even in the repetitious hesychasm. Sin, therefore, is not effectively the emotional and hysterical subject so many seem to enjoy it to be.
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