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Athanasius : The Life of Antony and the Letter To Marcellinus Paperback – January 1, 1979
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The first work, The Life of Antony, is a work about the father of Christian asceticism, St. Antony of Egypt. It contains both narrative and doctrinal content; the doctrinal content is presented in the forms of discourses by Antony, usually to groups of monks. He teaches much on demons and the discernment of spirits, the fate of souls after death, the importance of staying within the Church and staying away from schismatics and heretics. The discourses are, at a few points, a bit polemical - like many works from the early Church - but not excessively overbearing.
The uniqueness of the story is not just in Antony's doctrinal discourses, though. The narrative teaches things all its own. One of these things is that by separating one's self from the world the holy person becomes so much more indespensible to the world. Although Antony lived as a monk separate from the world, he was never separated from the world; in geographically and spiritually separating himself from the world, Antony became that much more involved in his world. He taught, healed, exorcised demons and engaged in debates with philosophers, all of this because of his reputation as a holy man.
From this follows something else taught by the narrative: the pursuit of God truly transforms one and causes one to become a conduit for God's healing and redemption of the world. Antony received visions and words of knowledge about people and things about to occur and more people were converted to the Christian faith. The work of Antony, as the book repeatedly emphasizes, is the work of God.Read more ›
Having said that, I'm not saying that our culture is totally destitute of morality. There are examples every day of folks who love and work for justice and righteousness. They don't always make the news, which is sad.
Antony, the Father of Monks:
I was captivated when I first heard, at an early age of twelve, the Life of St. Antony, written by Athanasius, the heroic defender of church orthodoxy. The stories of Antony's battles with demons, and his toil and escape into the desert to avoid temptation, appeal to Coptic kids, even at early age and is used by the church to promote the monastic ideals in childhood.
The Vita Antonini, which St Athanasius wrote as the hagiography of Saint Antony, unveils fascinating mystical encounters while living daily within the boundary of a world ruled by the Powers of darkness. Written about 357, three decades after his election for Papacy in the great church of Alexandria, the Megalopolice. Athanasius for more than a half century toiled to preserve Nicene Orthodoxy, championed by him and by his successors establishing the solid foundation upon which Christian faith of the Christian East was built.
Antony's monastic pilgrimage was plagued with spiritual warfare during which Antony resisted temptation and became a target for renewed attacks. The rest of the work could be sorted as a manual of monastic instruction, with particular emphasis on resisting evil through self mortification. Within the same patristic tradition John Cassian and Evagrius Ponticus wrote their marvelous books for lay and monastics. Athanasius records Antony's struggles, and tells his readers how to recognize and fight the devil. St.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book so far for the actual contents by St. Athanasius, which run from pp. 29 - 129.
However, you will be bored to tears by a preface of 21 pages, followed by an... Read more
A marvelous way to understand a historic book about a time far removed from our own, yet one that offers
a richness to the spiritual life rarely found in today's writings.
An interesting read regarding spiritual warfare and how to deal with your own weaknesses. I haven't gotten to the Letter to Marcellinus on how to read the psalms yet. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Karen Thompson
Used this book as a resource in class. As a primary source document, it's certainly a thought provoking read.Published 7 months ago by Philip J. Yoder
In our time, many of us have been influenced by the wonderful testimonies of C.S. Lewis, "Surprised by Joy" or N.T. Wright's "Surprised by Hope". Read morePublished on June 26, 2014 by Andrew Dahlburg