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Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton Hardcover – October 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0814653906 ISBN-10: 0814653901 Edition: First Edition (1 in number line)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Glazier; First Edition (1 in number line) edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814653901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814653906
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Pramuk’s study goes as far as any in outlining the Christology developed in Merton’s copious writings. And by placing Merton in conversation with an eclectic group of theologians, past and present, the book succeeds in underscoring Merton’s Christology and his understanding of the wisdom tradition. A new generation of Merton enthusiasts will appreciate both the effort and the result.
Commonweal


Christopher Pramuk masterfully guides the reader into how Merton’s life was transformed by his dialogue with both the Russian and Eastern mystics. Just when one thinks that enough has been written about Merton, that there is little more to be said, then here comes another gem that deserves serious attention.
Bishop Robert F. Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay


I love this book. Pramuk’s writing is at once deeply insightful and beautifully poetic. . . . It marks a fresh new insight into the depth of Merton’s theological vision.
Catholic Studies


Pramuk’s Sophia stands out as an exemplar of the best of what scholars of Merton can offer. . . .The book is a reflection on the nature of theology and a call to the renewal of the practice of theology through the sophiological approach. As such, it should be of interest not only to those interested in the retrieval of Merton’s ideas and in the reconstruction of his monastic, theological, and personal identity, but also to those who remain convinced that theology still has something important to say in response to the most pressing questions that we face today.
American Benedictine Review


This book will appeal to those who give it slow study and reflection. It is prayerful and mystical as well as being a finely documented academic study. The language is beautiful and engaging; one emerges from even a few pages feeling inspired and energized. ‘Ah—so that’s what we believe and why we are Catholic!’ one might conclude with pride and hope.
Leaven


Pramuk has written an audacious, radical and ultimately inspiring book. Audaciously, he takes on the complex and controversial task of translating Merton’s richly literary and poetic writings into theology. In doing so, he calls Christians, and especially Christian theologians, radically to deepen or repossess the mystical sources for their life and work. The result is an inspiring invitation to find new and deeper meaning in both doctrine and practice.
Theological Studies


Pramuk has jumped to the head of the pack and become one of our premiere theologians. . . . This book traces the emergence of Sophia in Merton’s life and writings as a love and a presence that breaks through into the world—a living symbol and name through which he encountered the living God and with which he chose, at his poetic and prophetic best, to structure theological discourse.
National Catholic Reporter


Christopher Pramuk’s Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton, is nothing less than a gift to Merton scholars, serious theologians, and contemplatively-minded Christians alike. . . . [It] represents a new starting point in Merton studies. There is no doubt that Pramuk’s book deserves and will receive significant attention.
The Merton Seasonal

About the Author

Christopher Pramuk is associate professor of theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton and Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters across the Color Line both from Liturgical Press. The recipient of the Catholic Theological Society of America's 2009 Catherine Mowry LaCugna Award, he has also received the International Thomas Merton Society's 2011 Thomas Merton Award, and several best essay awards from the Catholic Press Association. A lifelong musician and student of African American spirituality, he has led numerous workshops on the healing of race relations in society and the church as well as retreats on the life and writings of Thomas Merton. 

More About the Author

Christopher Pramuk lives with his wife Lauri, a pediatrician, and their four children in Cincinnati, where he teaches theology and spirituality at Xavier University. His award-winning essays have appeared in America magazine, Theological Studies, Cross Currents, and the prayer journal Give Us This Day. He is the author of five books, including At Play in Creation: Merton's Awakening to the Feminine Divine (2014), Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line (2013), and Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton (2009), which was awarded the International Thomas Merton Society's 2011 "Thomas Merton Award," its highest honor. A lifelong musician and student of African American history and spirituality, he has led workshops on the healing of race relations in society and church as well as retreats on the life and writings of Thomas Merton.

Links to his blog, speaking engagements, and many essays can be found at www.HopeSingsSoBeautiful.org.

Customer Reviews

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Overall, a good book if you are ready for it.
John C. Marshell Jr.
Once again, as Merton and Pramuk have stated, I am reminded that one must 'live one's theology' if you seek to understand it.
Robert Miller
With the publication of this astonishingly good book, that is no longer the case.
D. Kovacs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 69 people found the following review helpful By D. Kovacs on November 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading Merton's biography, I was especially intrigued with his prose poem "Hagia Sophia" and was sad to find that there was not much further information available regarding this "secret" work, as Merton characterized it. With the publication of this astonishingly good book, that is no longer the case. The author Christopher Pramuk delves into the heart of Merton's mystical approach to theology, places it within the context of the Church's tradition, and shows us why it merits sustained consideration in the Church today. While thorough scholarship is evident throughout, it is definitely not a dry read as it imaginatively takes us through lessons from Newman and Heschel as well as the Russian theologians Soloviev and Bulgakov. This book powerfully conveys to the reader the reality of the "sacramental imagination" as experienced by Merton and reminds us that the forms which guided him on the journey (scripture, liturgy, iconography, sacred music, poetry, theology) are there to guide us too. For help along the way, you couldn't ask for better companions than Merton's writings and this book. It is an astounding gift to those who truly wish to live hidden in Christ.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By John C. Marshell Jr. on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are many fine books available about Thomas Merton. There is of course the "official" biography by Michael Mott entitledThe Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton, William Shannon's Silent Lamp: The Thomas Merton Story, and Basil Pennington's more personable reflection in Thomas Merton: MY BROTHER, all these titles have their merits and insights into one of the most interesting spiritual writers of the 20th century. But like most biographies, their overriding concern is chronology and narrative; they dwell briefly or only sketch Merton's intellectual life and theological interests. Finding books that discuss Merton in depth is harder to do. If you seek a more analytical and critical investigation into Merton's thinking, I would recommend Christopher Pramuk's fine effort to investigate Merton's Christology.

One of the great myths of Merton's life concerns his interests in Buddhism and Taoism. You can still meet people who think Merton was going to renounce Christianity and become Buddhist, and that his travels to Asian countries indicates a break in his life with Christianity and his monastic community. Pramuk's book illustrates pretty clearly that Merton had from the middle 1950's until his death firmly grounded his spiritual life in patristics and the Russian theological tradition, and that Christ, not Siddartha Gautama, was the focus of his spiritual interests.
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By Robert Miller on September 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over the course of almost thirty years-teaching, within my home parish, about the adult christian faith journey-I have read many books by and about Thomas Merton-some I have read twice. Recently, I finished 'Sophia' for the fourth time and know there is so much more I have yet to grasp within the pages of this masterpiece of the soul. Once again, as Merton and Pramuk have stated, I am reminded that one must 'live one's theology' if you seek to understand it. 'Sophia' sends you into the depths of the world, and in doing so, discover the gentle embrace of the humble Christ all around you, hidden in plain sight.
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