In Christian Spirituality: A Historical Sketch, George Lane looks to the sources of the Christian spiritual tradition in order to establish a firm ground for a vital contemporary spirituality. Quoting the great Jesuit scientist and mystic Teilhard de Chardin, “Everything is the sum of the past; nothing is comprehensible except through its history,” Lane examines the masters of Christian spirituality in their historical context. He shows why the hermits of the East, the monks of the West, Basil, Athanasius, Origen, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Dominic, Francis, Ignatius Loyola, Teilhard, and others were so influential in their time and why they have much to teach us today.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Lane sets out on a project that is over-ambitious and over-eagerly titled, but he ends up with a survey that is playful and interesting. It doesn't pass as a survey of the history of Christian spirituality, but it does give worthwhile highlights.
It begins by touching on the ancient eastern tradition of Origen, his influence on Evagrius, their influence on Pseudo-Dionysius and Cassian, and the continued influence as far ahead as Aquinas. This Platonic tradition, though not of orthodox creed, emphasized apatheia towards the active life and anaesthesia in the contemplative life. Benedict's Rule then emphasized a spirituality that arose in community. The Dominicans and Franciscans in the 13th century reawakened active service of the poor as a form of spiritual exercise. In the Later Middle Ages, through the influence of Pseudo-Dionysius, Eckhart, Julian, and the Cloud of Unknowing emphasized a mystical union with the divine. Details of daily life were said to contribute...
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