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Walter Hilton: The Scale of Perfection (Classics of Western Spirituality) Paperback – January 1, 1990


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Product Details

  • Series: Classics of Western Spirituality
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press; First Edition Thus edition (January 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809131943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809131945
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,089,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Walter Hilton (d. 1396) was an English Augustinian mystic. He attended Cambridge University, and at some point, probably before 1386, he rejected the legal and administrative career available to him and retired from the world as a hermit. Later he decided that his true vocation was not to the heremitic life, but to a religious order. According to manuscript tradition, Hilton died as an Augustinian Canon Regular in the priory of St. Peter at Thurgarton in Nottinghamshire. His spiritual writings were widely influential during the fifteenth century in England. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth G. Melillo VINE VOICE on July 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Walter Hilton's massive undertaking (the first thorough treatment of ascetic theology in the English language) is as rewarding for those today as in his own era - and a careful reading makes one realise that he was treating many of the same difficulties we would find in our own time. This is by no means light reading, but the lawyer's mind, theologian's precision, and pastoral father's homely charm are a winning combination. (How can anyone resist one who, after giving an explanation of sin so with the lawyer's accuracy that one nearly searches for the section on plea bargaining, then tenderly reassures his reader that God is most generous with forgiveness or "heaven would be much too empty?)I would recommend it (if not require it) of anyone with an interest either in ascetic theology or fourteenth century England.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Author Peter Ackroyd (The Life of Thomas More) says that Hitlton's "Scale of Perfection" and Kempas'"Imitation of Christ" are part of the broad tradition of late medieval Christian piety. Both books played a central part of Thomas More's life. Scale of Perfection is concerend with the active Chrictian life in the world. Hilton also wrote a volume entitled "The Mixed Life."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. P. Jay on May 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
Walter Hilton was born about 1340. He was a hermit, and he wrote to a devout layman of wealth and household responsibility, advising him not to give up his active life to become a contemplative, but to mix the two. He wrote about the value of the sacraments but not all the rules and "obligations" which later would be attached to them. His stressed that there is no love of God unless there also is love of neighbour (one cannot love the head of the Body and neglect the feet) He suggested that Christians progress from fear of punishment to fear of offending love. He said that heretics were often the deeper explorers into the mystery of God, which the church regarded as a threat because it did away with the need for priests to be the only arbiter of what was `right'.
Hilton continually uses the term `prayer' in his writings, and we need to amend this to `contemplation' or an inward reaching out to the Divine which, perversely usually means going deep within! ""Seek that which is lost, God wishes to be found. Every one who seeks will find. The search may at times be arduous, but the finding is full of joy, dig deeply for it, you shall find it; you must dig deeply in your heart, you must cast out love and desire for Earthly things together with the sorrows and fears that go with them. In this way you will find true wisdom."

"The purpose of prayer is not to inform our Lord what you desire, for He knows all your needs. It is to render you able and ready to receive the grace which our Lord will freely give you. This grace cannot be experienced until you have been refined and purified by the fire of desire in devout prayer. For although prayer is not the cause for which our Lord gives grace, it is nevertheless the means by which grace, freely given, comes to the soul." Book I, ch. 24 (p.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By livetoread_readtolive on July 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hilton has a LOT to say to the 21st century and is well worth reading - not bad for a book from the late 1300s. This edition is a scan of a 1908 publication of an 1870 translation - if you are adept at reading English of this era, not a problem, but English has changed in the past 140 years. Quality not bad for the first half: if you want an affordable way to see what Hilton has to say to today's reader, this may be the version for you. Second half, scan quality goes down - my copy has 6 pages illegible and others marginal - annoying if you want to seriously study and apply Hilton's work to your life; if so look for a more recent translation and pay the extra bucks to get a clean copy.
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