A History of Christian Spirituality: An Analytical Introduction
This modern classic explores the key concepts and people who have shaped our Christian spiritual heritage. At the time it was first published, the author wrote, "This book is the result of finding nothing to recommend to my students as an introduction to the wide variety and great richness of the Christian spiritual experience. The texts available are either too detailed, too unbalanced, or both." This situation remains the same today, more than twenty years later. Now this concise and very readable introduction to Christian spirituality is available for a new generation of readers. Holmes begins with the Jewish antecedents, and proceeds through the New Testament period, monasticism, the Middle Ages, Byzantine spirituality, and the modern period. He ends his overview with key contemporary figures such as Simone Weil, Thomas Merton, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Brief bibliographies of the books written by each notable figure are included for those who wish to read more extensively. A History of Christian Spirituality is the perfect book for introductory classes at the M. Div. level, for diaconate programs, lay people or parish study classes of all Christian denominations, and for any reference collection. This is a unique and invaluable learning tool and reference for readers, students, or teachers who want a quick explanation of the significance of a person or idea, or who are interested in a broad overview of the entire field.
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Compact and SuperbUser Review - Christianbook.com
This book is exactly what it purports to be, an analytical introduction to the history of Christian spirituality. The author runs, more or less chronologically, through an overview of the development of Christian thinking, from about the time of Paul onwards. He presents both thumbnail sketches and brief assessments of the tenor of thought of various Christian writers. His focus is primarily on the inner experience of God and the Holy Spirit, from which Christian "spiritual masters" have developed their insights into the Way of the faith. The evolution of doctrine is purely secondary to his purpose, which gives the book its greatest value. The reader will find listed the names of authors who are either less known or downright obscure in the history of Christian spirituality, but whose influence is indisputable. There is much food for thought for the serious student of Christianity, together with outlines for a program of research and development of the history of Christian thinking which, if followed, would take decades to complete. The one quarrel I have with the book is that the classification schema which the author develops for the types (and consequences) of Christian mysticism is essentially of no value to a descriptive summary of the experiences underlying the thinking of a particular master, or the patterns of spiritual thought characterizing a particular era. This is a minor objection, however. The reader's remedy is simply to skip over the verbiage which seeks to apply the schema at various points in the book. Perhaps the most provocative comment which the book offers occurs near the very end. The author, summarizing his analysis of the Christian spiritual masters whom he has examined and assessed, says of their insights, taken together: "There is no permanent resting place; no one has captured the ineffable God in his or her formulae; perfection lies in the desire for God, not in the accomplishment of the union." That thought speaks volumes for the ways i ...
Review: A History of Christian Spirituality: An Analytical Introduction (The Library of Episcopalian Classics)User Review - John - Goodreads
Holmes has done us a good service in writing such a book. As far as I'm aware, there really isn't anything like it -- a history of Christian spirituality/prayer from the ancient church up through the ... Read full review
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