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Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition Paperback – October 8, 2002
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From Library Journal
While the institutional church has frequently set boundaries limiting what ideas, beliefs, and practices could be considered Christian, Smoley, a former editor of Gnosis magazine, reminds readers that adventurous seekers have always borrowed freely from many sources to enhance their inner spiritual knowledge. Smoley collectively labels these disparate voices "inner" (or "esoteric") Christianity. The writings used to construct this tradition are diverse, ranging from Gnostic gospels and kabbalistic cosmologies, through late medieval alchemical theory, right up to Swedenborgian and New Age teachings. An initial chapter spells out the historical breadth of these traditions, but the bulk of the book offers a contemporary synthesis, providing insight into the deeper, mystical meaning of traditional Christian doctrines. Quotations from the sources are usually more engaging than the synthesis itself, but the author makes the case for listening more closely to an eclectic Christianity's own esoteric voices. Many readers will filter much of the material through a selective sieve of skepticism, but the book overviews a wide range of material and provides a solid introduction to esoteric Christianity for the general reader. Recommended for all libraries.
Steve Young, McHenry Cty. Coll., Crystal Lake, IL
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A wide range of material . . . provides a solid introduction to esoteric Christianity."— Library Journal
"Smoley traverses a vast continent of belief and practice in this lively guide to Christian esotericism, and he does so with great intelligence and style."—Philip Zaleski, editor of the Best Spiritual Writing series
"We overlook the very heart and soul of Christianity when we reduce it to rules, dogmas, and rigid moral directives. Inner Christianity helps correct that mistake by spelling out, clearly and thoughtfully, the subtle interior mysteries of this religion. This book could help many, Christians and others, find a new level of intelligence in Christian thought and practice. It could change the direction of your spiritual life."—Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and The Soul's Religion
"In this deeply wise and important work, Richard Smoley restores the realm of inner space to the Christian tradition. Drawing upon a wide range of mystical and esoteric literature and practice, he shows how multidimensional is the Christian message, and how profound its understanding of the nature and purpose of the psyche. In a time of so much change and confusion, this potent book serves as a source of profound guidance and gnosis."—Jean Houston, Ph.D., author of A Mythic Life and Jump Time
"Richard Smoley has rolled away the rock of symbol, myth, metaphor, and obscuration and resurrected the radiant light of an inner Christianity. In clear and vibrant language, he makes the deepest wisdom of the Christian tradition available and accessible to everyone. This book is an empowerment of faith and spirit and will, I predict, become a classic for all who walk the path of Christ in the midst of their everyday lives."—David Spangler, author of Everyday Miracles, Blessing: The Art and the Practice, and Apprenticed to Spirit
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Top Customer Reviews
Even though I have read dozens upon dozens of books on or pertaining to Christian mysticism over the past four decades, I still gleaned nuggets from this text and highly recommend it for those looking to attain or augment intellectual knowledge of the "Esoteric Tradition" and gnostic-mystical Christianity.
This is the age of countless books that advertise themselves as spiritual, mystical, and all together the biggest thing that can come into your life. Most of what is on the market today in these genres is about making big promises of life changing information, so that the reader will buy the book and allow the author to "manifest abundance". They are, for the most part superficial and lacking in true spirituality. That is not this book. A real scholar was at work in Inner Christianity. The author explores the rich tradition and deep themes of spiritual growth through esoteric Christianity. Finally, all of this great theological and mystical information is somehow, made into a fascinating read by Richard Smoley.