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Western Asceticism (Library of Christian Classics) Paperback – January 1, 1958

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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About the Author

Owen Chadwick is Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Cambridge in England. He is an ordained Anglican priest.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Library of Christian Classics (Book 17)
  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; RE ISSUE edition (January 1, 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664241611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664241612
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,359,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Stephen Long on April 7, 2009
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This work contains the sayings of the Desert Fathers organized thematically as well as the Conferences of St. John Cassian and the Rule of St. Benedict. These three works are an important foundation to monastic spirituality in both the Catholic West and Orthodox East. Additionally all three texts are quite dense with spiritual wisdom and a valuable resource for pastoral care and personal growth. Highly recommended as valuable to the scholar, pastor and layman alike.
God be with you.
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This volume contains a translation (from the Protestant perspective, if that matters) of (1) The Sayings of the Fathers, a 4th-5th century collection of sayings from the ascetic "Desert Fathers" of Egypt; (2) The "Conferences" of John Cassian [an abbott who lived about 365-435]; and (3) the "Rule" of Benedict of Nursia [about 480-543], who founded twelve communities for monks in Italy, and whose "Rule" is his moderately ascetic guidance for his own monks at Monte Cassino.

An abbess named Matrona said, "Many people living secluded lives on the mountain have perished by living like people in the world. It is better to live in a crowd and want to live a solitary life than to live a solitary life but all the time be longing for company." (Pg. 43)

A troubled hermit went to Abbe Theodore and complained that after eight years, he had found no peace. The abbe replied, "I have been a monk for seventy years, and I have not been able to get a single day's peace. And do you want to have peace after eight years?" (Pg. 83) An old man said, "Hermits have followed their own will in withdrawing from the world. But the obedient have cast away their self-will, and depend on God and the word of their spiritual father; that is why they shine the most." (Pg. 155)

Cassian observed, "The Lord, you see, placed the chief good in divine contemplation. All the other virtues... must be placed on a lower plane because they are sought for the sake of this one thing." (Pg. 200) Recalling the reason for his decision to join a monastic group rather than be a hermit, he wrote, "I therefore determined to fulfil my ascetic purpose in the (community), rather than become a half-hearted solitary... I no longer have freedom, I am no longer taken up into ecstasies of spirit. But I have this consolation...
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This was book was in very good shape when it arrived, which was quickly. The type is a little too
small. Anyway it is packed with many stories of the fathers, which should interest the Christian
scholar. A very dense collection of sayings.
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Book on Western Asceticism was advertised as used but appears to be new. The price was less than $2. Unbelievable bye.
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