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Unseen Warfare: The Spiritual Combat and Path to Paradise of Lorenzo Scupoli Paperback – March 25, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian, Greek (translation)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr; Revised edition (March 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913836524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913836521
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book will set you on the path to God, if you so desire.
Christian Moulton
For Protestants, this is the version I recommend, but if one can't read <God punishes> and think <God disciplines>, then bypass this book entirely.
Cris Hernandez (crish@dcn.att.com)
Such a reductionist approach merely wastes the reader's time and delays the valuable lessons of the text.
Economist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By David C. Pecot on February 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This story of this text begins in 16th century Italy, when Lorenzo Scupoli wrote "The Spiritual Combat". Interestingly, the book arose from a series of letters to an "unknown sister in Christ" (the original text contains many female pronouns) on the spiritual life. The theme of spiritual combat is certainly present throughout the text, but Scupoli sees this battle as being won by not relying on self or trusting oneself but by confidence in God. Establishing this foundation first, he continues with advice on overcoming vices and the snares of the devil, growing in virtue, prayer and meditation, and practical advice on a few other topics. His words show great wisdom and spiritual depth, and the success of the book (600 editions in the four centuries since his death) is well deserved. One of the places it ended up was in the Greek monasteries of Mt. Athos, where Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain translated it with some editorial changes to make it more suitable to Orthodox readers. He added Scripture texts as well. It was this version that came into the hands of a Russian, Theophan the Recluse, who translated it into Russian with even more substantive changes ( the Jesus Prayer, quotes from the Fathers) that left some chapters entirely reworked, although others retain the wording of Scupoli's original. This work became an Orthodox classic in its own right, and which is here published under the title "Unseen Warfare". It is marked by a profound wisdom of its own, and both Scupoli's text and this one are the sort of work that can provide spiritual meat for those who are willing to read and re-read them, chewing on their spiritual themes. I have found it an excellent meditation for growing in Christian character and building strong faith.Read more ›
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Cris Hernandez (crish@dcn.att.com) on June 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
the Roman Catholic version from Tan Books is the more literal translation, and the wording more direct, however, this the Orthodox text is more of an interpretive rewrite containing many insightful embellishments that are certainly worth digesting. The 60 page introduction, though longer than necessary, provides background information that heightens one's appreciation of this 500 year old classic. For Protestants, this is the version I recommend, but if one can't read <God punishes> and think <God disciplines>, then bypass this book entirely. To truly appreciate the work, I suggest reading both a chapter at a time simultaneously, which can easily be done in 2 months if used as a daily reader. The chapters are short (1-5 pages) and limited to single topics. Many people preach what others should do, this tells how. Must reading if spiritual growth, to grow in virtue and moral purity in the presence of our Lord, is your desire.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on May 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a Christian pacifist, I'm extremely wary of militaristic language, in either common speech ("bullet points" or "I got bombed last night") or allegedly spiritual discourse ("Onward Christian soldiers, marching off to war..."). So I was initially put off by the title _Unseen Warfare_. But as soon as I began reading the book, it becane clear that the type of warfare discussed was quite different from what we usually take the word to mean.

Scupoli (along with Nicodemus & Theophan, his Orthodox editors) argues that Christian perfection lies in aligning one's will with God's, but that this alignment is extremely difficult because an entire army of contrary "wills" resides in us, continuously dragging us away from God. In order to counter these "wills," the Christian must arm herself with "invisible weapons." The "most trustworthy and unconquerable" of them are: (1) never rely on yourself in anything; (2) always bear in your heart a perfect and all-daring trust in God alone; (3) strive without ceasing; and (4) remain constantly in prayer.

It's clear that these weapons, rather than seeking to overpower by sheer brute strength, take seriously the strength-through- powerlessness that St. Paul writes about. Unseen warfare is fought not by pitting one's will against a foe, but by surrendering oneself to God; not by trusting in one's own resources, but by acknowledging dependence; not by risking everything on one flashy, dramatic battle, but by persevering, little by little, day by day; and not by drawing up battle plans so much as by ceaseless praying. The language may be militaristic, but the purport of the language actually subverts the violence and self-assertion associated with war. It speaks of self-sacrifice, love, devotion, discipline.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Charles R. Williams on June 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
All I would add to the previous reviews is that I found the chapters on prayer - largely the work of St. Theophan rather than Scupoli - to be especially useful. His approach to prayer is the classical approach of the Eastern Church. These chapters alone are worth the price of the book and justify chosing the Orthodox rewrite over the original.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By NY Hobbit on November 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am now on my third copy of this great classic. Earlier copies fallen apart from use.

This work along with St. John Cassian's Conferences gives the needed help for the stuggles of our journey through life.

When started, this work may appear a fairly easy read. Upon reflection it is very deep and rich guide. Well worth the time to read and follow the advice.

I strongly recommend this edition.
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