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Visions Of God: Four Medieval Mystics and Their Writings

por Karen Armstrong

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The mystics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were, writes Karen Armstrong, like "the astronauts of our own day.nbsp;nbsp;They broke into a new religion, blazed a new trail to God and to the depths of the self, a trail far from the beaten pilgrimage paths of Chaucer and Langland."nbsp;nbsp;Mysticism is a spiritual mystery shared in some form by all faiths; it has a supernatural quality that extends beyond the given boundaries of religious creed and may be experienced by any lay person.nbsp;nbsp;The thrilling intensity of a mystical experience, as represented in this volume by the writings of four mystics of the Middle Ages, can inspire other spiritual seekers with its insight into the limitless wonder of both human and divine experience. Dissatisfied by the strictures of dogma and a religion that failed to quench the human thirst for knowledge of a mystical order, these four mystics--Richard Rolle of Hampole, Walter Hilton, Dame Julian of Norwich, and the unknown author of The Cloud Of Unknowing --communicate an intense and passionate experience of faith rare in any time.nbsp;nbsp;Because of their unique beliefs and spiritual strength, their knowledge and writings have proved timeless, and in this beautiful volume show contemporary seekers important new insights into the nature of divine love.… (mais)
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Visions of God consists of selections from four fourteenth century English mystics (Richard Rolle, the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Walter Hilton, and Julian of Norwich), along with introductions and brief commentary by Karen Armstrong. The collection is eminently readable and should serve to make these important sources more accessible to a general audience. The selections are arranged chronologically, but Armstrong's reflections also place them in a “developmental” sequence, with Rolle serving as a cautionary tale against “spiritual freelancing”—a role in which he was often cast by his contemporaries; The Cloud of Unknowing and Hilton's Ladder of Perfection serving as sensible popular introductions to disciplined spiritual development; and Julian serving as an exemplar of “prophetic” visionary experience sensitive both to the discipline of the Church and the needs of common folk. Armstrong compares these authors to astronauts exploring inner space and makes a strong case for their contemporary relevance. She draws an analogy between spiritual discipline and psychoanalysis, emphasizing the importance of competent direction in both. This collection will be an important contribution to contemporary discussion, of particular interest to those seeking to reclaim a mystical tradition that has often lain dormant in the West.
  stevenschroeder | Jul 31, 2006 |
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Until recently, each of the great religions of the world developed independently and had little contact with one another. (Introduction)
Richard Rolle's conversion to the solitary life tells us a good deal about his spirituality.
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The mystics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were, writes Karen Armstrong, like "the astronauts of our own day.nbsp;nbsp;They broke into a new religion, blazed a new trail to God and to the depths of the self, a trail far from the beaten pilgrimage paths of Chaucer and Langland."nbsp;nbsp;Mysticism is a spiritual mystery shared in some form by all faiths; it has a supernatural quality that extends beyond the given boundaries of religious creed and may be experienced by any lay person.nbsp;nbsp;The thrilling intensity of a mystical experience, as represented in this volume by the writings of four mystics of the Middle Ages, can inspire other spiritual seekers with its insight into the limitless wonder of both human and divine experience. Dissatisfied by the strictures of dogma and a religion that failed to quench the human thirst for knowledge of a mystical order, these four mystics--Richard Rolle of Hampole, Walter Hilton, Dame Julian of Norwich, and the unknown author of The Cloud Of Unknowing --communicate an intense and passionate experience of faith rare in any time.nbsp;nbsp;Because of their unique beliefs and spiritual strength, their knowledge and writings have proved timeless, and in this beautiful volume show contemporary seekers important new insights into the nature of divine love.

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