This book tells seven stories of early monastic spirituality of the desert fathers and mothers founded in fourth century Egypt. Monastic vocation of seeking God, in earnest quest imitating Jesus spread east, west and north even after the advent of Islam in the seventh century. For a first time reader, an introductory initiation into the desert spirituality would enhance probing to enjoying reading. 'The Desert Fathers, Antony and Pachomius, 'by Philip Rousseau, could be a prelude to the mystical experience. (The study of spirituality, C. Jones et al, pp. 119-130)
Actualizing Divine Journeying:
The importance of the endeavor of Tim Vivian could not be supported better than the eminent Patristic Charles Kannengiesser in stating that; "A spiritual achievement Maintains its value by being actualized from one generation to another. History needs to be more than a dead archive. It needs the vivid enactment of a tradition which keeps it alive in the heart and mind of people."
Patristic in Modernity:
The main challenge for such authentic effort to make original sources available is expressed by Fr. H. Alfeyev; "The distance-in time, culture, and spirituality- between the fathers and us is too great, it seems too difficult to surmount the obstacles that confound our attempts to penetrate the mind of the fathers. ... The works of the fathers are not a mere museum exhibit, just as the 'patristic faith' should not be understood as only a heritage of past centuries."
Rowan Greer, of Yale divinity, and Patristic scholar & author would give you an expert view; "Much more, however, needs to be said. Dr. Vivian's introductions to the lives supply both scholars and general readers with an excellent account of the settings in which these saints lived and prayed. We gain a vivid understanding of what a monastery was like and how it worked.
The central role of women in early Christian asceticism receives careful and balanced consideration. The miracles of these holy people and the function of their relics receive attention. Dr. Vivian's disciplined imagination opens to us a world that in the strict sense no longer exists." Coptic Church Review