The Mystics of the Church

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J. Clarke & Company, limited, 1925 - Religion - 259 pages
Evelyn Underhill's classic book on mysticism shows not only the historic development of Christian mysticism and its influence on the Church, but gives a deep insight into the spiritual growth of the individual mystics, their struggles, achievements and influence. Covering the whole development of the Christian Church from St Paul to the present century, the author illustrates the differing backgrounds and approach of many of the great mystics such as St Augustine of Hippo, whose writings helped to create the Church's understanding of its mystical character; and St Francis of Assisi whose example proved an inspiration to many. The book gives much more than an opportunity to 'meet' the great mystics, however, as it also provides a frame-work for the analysis of true mysticism and false, contrasting Catherine of Siena, a girl of the people whose transcendental mysticism benefited any in an age of ecclesiastical degradation, with the well-born and beautiful Madame Guyon, whose excesses brought mysticism into disrepute. Evelyn Underhill illuminates the whole of her subject by drawing attention to the differences of approach that can bring man along the road to the divine, from the zealous militancy of a Loyola to the passivity of the Quietists. This absorbing study by one of the great writers on mysticism covers every aspect of the subject and gives a clear understanding of the mystics' world in writing that is both informative and stimulating.

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