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John of the Cross: Collected Works [Paperback]

Saint John , Otilio Rodriguez , Kieran Kavanaugh
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 15.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 807 pages
  • Publisher: ICS Publications,U.S.; New edition edition (April 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0935216146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0935216141
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Revised paperback edition 1991.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction To The Mystical 5 Feb 2003
By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
“The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross” consists of the writings of this 16th century Spanish Mystic and Doctor of the Church. St. John was a Carmelite friar and friend of St. Theresa of Avila. A valued spiritual counselor, many of his works were written as instruction to religious who sought his guidance.
The book consists of four major works and many minor works. The major works are “The Ascent of Mount Carmel”, “The Dark Night”, “The Spiritual Canticle” and “The Living Flame of Love”. Each of the major works consists of a poem, written by St. John, and an extensive, word by word, explanation. In the explanation, St. John reveals his own theology, supported by verses from Scripture.
The minor works consist of letters written to his contemporaries as well as a collection of St. John’s poetry.
This is definitely not light reading. The reader must concentrate on his the text in order to appreciate what he is reading. I am glad that I read it from two perspectives. From an historical perspective, it provides the reader with a good introduction into the world of mystical writing. More importantly, from a spiritual perspective, this book gives the reader an insight into God’s call to all Christians to draw themselves more closely to Himself. The spirit of this book is difficult to explain. It is a classical book which is better experienced than described.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rapture 29 Dec 2009
Format:Hardcover
It took me two years to read and some of it is a bit impenetrable. However, the poetry is beautiful, the detailed descriptions of how to live freely without attachment and in the big love are in harmony with Tao, Buddhism etc and the spirit of/in the words just stays with you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 28 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a book! Really high philosophy , would recommend it it fully to readers who are spiritual and seking God..
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  64 reviews
231 of 236 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Insight Into The Mystical 5 Feb 2003
By James Gallen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross" consists of the writings of this 16th century Spanish Mystic and Doctor of the Church. St. John was a Carmelite friar and friend of St. Theresa of Avila. A valued spiritual counselor, many of his works were written as instruction to religious who sought his guidance.
The book consists of four major works and many minor works. The major works are "The Ascent of Mount Carmel", "The Dark Night", "The Spiritual Canticle" and "The Living Flame of Love". Each of the major works consists of a poem, written by St. John, and an extensive, word by word, explanation. In the explanation, St. John reveals his own theology, supported by verses from Scripture.
The minor works consist of letters written to his contemporaries as well as a collection of St. John's poetry.
This is definitely not light reading. The reader must concentrate on his the text in order to appreciate what he is reading. I am glad that I read it from two perspectives. From an historical perspective, it provides the reader with a good introduction into the world of mystical writing. More importantly, from a spiritual perspective, this book gives the reader an insight into God's call to all Christians to draw themselves more closely to Himself. The spirit of this book is difficult to explain. It is a classical book which is better experienced than described.
137 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NIV vs King James 13 April 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was almost dissuaded from buying this by Ms Ramirez' review but having all of John's works in one book was too much to resist, and I'm very glad I went ahead and bought it. Concerning the "old" English translation so admired by Ms Ramirez, it certainly sounds very beautiful but it is also very difficult to understand whereas this translation by Kavanaugh and Rodriguez is extremely easy to read and grasp. Sound and rhythm have their attraction, but I'll take understanding any day. Who among you honestly gathers more insight from the King James version of the bible as opposed to the NIV? The same principle applies here. The Collected Works does NOT read like a "text book", the layout is wonderful and the value of having all of John's works in hand is inestimable. Buy it, treasure it - it holds the full depth of true Christianity within it's covers. Indeed, it is a map of the landscape leading to heaven by one who knows the Way, and in simple terms understandable to all.
145 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, maybe too perfect 10 July 2000
By Jim Curry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The collected works of St. John of the Cross have been central to my own search for (or attempt to establish)a deep and authentic spiritual life. Because John is further removed than I realized twenty years ago from our current social context, it is very possible to misunderstand John in one way or another. His guidance is essentially flawless, but his parlance can be misunderstood. To remedy this in part, I obtained his collected works in the original Spanish. That has turned out to be helpful. While the translation is careful and correct, it necessarily fails to preserve the tone of the original in many specific contexts. To my own "ear" for prose, John actually speaks in a less sophisticated voice than the translator gives him. I find that voice easier to understand. My "bottom line" is that any interested person should definitely buy this book and read it thoroughly, but be quite careful to understand it in the original context. I know of no more difficult (or rewarding) book to read with actual insight.
82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "John of the Cross" Book to Own 27 Feb 2005
By Glutton for books - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
John of the Cross is best known to Enlgish readers for his spiritual classic "Dark Night," though he is hailed as one of Spain's greatest poets for his many poems that reflect his love for God, and his desire to known and love God better (his fame in that sense is simlar to Rumi's in which these are often used as romantic peoms for lovers too).

His writing in general exhorts people to love God, and reflect the idea that by purging one self of vices and cultivating virtues (chief among which are charity towards others and humilty in all) one will be better able to understand God's intentions for us and better able to love, which is the reflection of God to others. People he inspired included Therese of Liseux, Edith Stein, Teresa of Avila, and Pope John Paul II.

"Dark Night," portrays the passive purification that one's soul experiences when growing closer to God. It was written after "Ascent of Mount Carmel," which gives instructions as to how a person should work to actively purge the soul of imperfections in order to move closer to God. Both of tehse wroks have many similariteis with yogic and Buddhist philosophy.

The two works are deeply integrated and best read together. However, it is very difficult to find copies of "Ascent of Mount Carmel," since the work was incomplete. This volume offers one of the rare copies of this treasured text.

"The Collected Works" were translated and organized by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, both of whom are Carmelite priests. The translation is as easy to read, as one can find of John's work, whose writing style is not as accessible as that by other popular mytics such as Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena. The book comprises everything written by John of the Cross, including his poems and some letters. The authors preface each work with a background that gives a summary of its importance and the historical context in which it was written.

The introduction of the book has an excellent abbreviated biography of John of Cross, and explains the influence that Teresa of Avila had on him and vice versa. The book's appendix has a glossary of terms which helps the reader better comprehend John's writing.

The use of footnotes through out the text is not excessive and does not interrupt the flow of the writing by distracting the reader's attention, but rather provides essential information at junctures in which the reader might be thinking "what???" There is also a helpful timeline in the beginning of the book that juxtaposes John of the Cross's life to events in Spanish history and the life of the Church. Finally, the book includes drawings made by John of the Cross that he designed to articulate his ideas to those he instructed. I can think of no better book with which to study John of the Cross in the English language, and when the book presents his drawings and poems, it offers the Spanish version next to the English.
108 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross 3 Oct 2001
By Alice L. Ramirez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In general, it's a book worth having because it includes his Sayings of Light and Love and his letters as well as his poetry and his major works: Ascent of Mt. Carmel, The Dark Night, the Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love.
My complaint has to do with the very prosaic nature of the translations. The abovementioned major works in this edition are written in academic American English. Even the layout screams "textbook." I first came upon John's major works online, on a site called "Ethereal Library." I read The Dark Night and Ascent .. in translations that captured a much greater sense of John's poetry and mysticism, as well as a sense of his own time and place in slightly (but not overwhelmingly) archaic language, where even the layout suggested more a long prose-poem than academic text. That other version was flavorful, glowing and delicious and, after reading it, I fell in love with St. John of the Cross.
Had I read this rather dry, textbook-style version first, I probably would have dismissed St. John as boring and difficult. For someone already familiar with St. John of the Cross, however, this book definitely offers examples of his thought and writing not normally available.
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