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Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys Hardcover – 12 Mar 1981

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st Edition edition (12 Mar. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198266553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198266556
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,116,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Great summary. Fine insights."--Jill Raitt, University of Missouri, Columbia --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Andrew Louth is Professor of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, University of Durham. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Inside This Book

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First Sentence
IT could be argued that mystical theology, or perhaps better, a doctrine of contemplation, is not simply an element in Plato's philosophy, but something that penetrates and informs his whole understanding of the world. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While the cover announces 'new edition', as Andrew Louth says in his new introduction, to have actually written a new edition would have been a different book, but there is an afterword 2006 and an extension to the bibliography. The book is directed towards two principle interests: that of the influence of pre-Christian philosophy - especially of Plato and Plotinus, on the development of Christian mysticism - which really, Louth suggests starts with Origen; and the separation of mystical theology from dogmatic theology, in much the way that Hadot talks about the separation of theology and philosophy whence philosophy became a handmaid to theology. The context defined is from 'Plato to Denys', and the structure of discussion is more or less chronological. The writing is crisp and very clear, and very readable, without assuming a particular familiarity with the writers being discussed.
I initially bought it on the recommendation of a Plato scholar who described it as a very succint overview of the influence of Platonic thought on Christianity. I would endorse that but the quality of the writing enabled me to read on with great interest. In between the chapters on Plato and Plotinus there is a chapter on Philo, who focused on the contemplation of scripture, and laid much of the ground for the later Origen. The chapter on Plotinus opens with the following: 'Plotinus is more than an episode in our passage from Plato to the Fathers. In him we find the supreme exponent of an abiding element in what we might call 'mystical philosophy'. He represents man's inherent desire to return to heaven at its purest and most ineffable.' The book is full of as many surprises as it is insights. The concept of 'likeness and unlikeness' in St Bernard's theology, has its source in Plotinus.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent history of the influence and adaptation of Platonism on the developing Christian mystical tradition. The 2007 afterword is necessary reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very good book of a brilliant scholar and theologian. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the mystical life of the church and the hesychasm.
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