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Visions of God: Four Medieval Mystics and Their Writings Paperback – Nov 1994


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (Nov. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553351990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553351996
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 805,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Karen Armstrong is one of the world's leading commentators on religious affairs. She spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun in the 1960s, but then left her teaching order in 1969 to read English at St Anne's College, Oxford. In 1982, she became a full time writer and broadcaster. She is a best-selling author of over 15 books. An accomplished writer and passionate campaigner for religious liberty, Armstrong has addressed members of the United States Congress and the Senate and has participated in the World Economic Forum.

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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 May 2004
Format: Paperback
The four medieval mystics discussed here bear witness to the depth and variety of English spirituality in the 14th century. By lifting the veil of obscurity, Armstrong makes an admirable contribution towards restoring to prominence some of the important voices of the Western mystical tradition. These texts may show the way forward for a religion that seems to have become sterile in its senescence, especially in its mainstream Protestant tradition and particularly in Europe.

Armstrong analyses each of the four mystics in an introduction to selections from their major works that are reproduced here:
(a) The eccentric Richard Rolle of Hampole and his work "The Fire Of Love".
(b) The unknown author of "The Cloud Of Unknowing" and this moving text.
(c) The sober Walter Hilton and his "Ladder Of Perfection".
(d) Julian of Norwich and her book "Revelations Of Divine Love."

All four of the authors journeyed inward to the core of the self and each in their own way articulated a personal faith that represents an intimate relationship with the divine. In the introduction Armstrong argues that the mystical experience is similar across all religions. Her analyses and interpretations of these texts ought to inspire and encourage contemporary seekers in the Christian tradition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
105 of 106 people found the following review helpful
A light on the Western mystical tradition 13 April 2002
By Peter Uys - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The four medieval mystics discussed here bear witness to the depth and intelligence of English spirituality in the 14th century, and their work may show the way forward for a religion that seems to have become sterile, especially in its Protestant version. Armstrong discusses each of the four mystics in an introduction to selections from their major works that are reproduced here:
(a) The eccentric Richard Rolle of Hampole and his work The Fire Of Love
(b) The author of The Cloud Of Unknowing followed by this deeply moving text
(c) The sober Walter Hilton and his Ladder Of Perfection
(d) Julian of Norwich and her work Revelations Of Divine Love.
My favorite text is The Cloud Of Unknowing which is mentioned in Leonard Cohen's song The Window on his album Recent Songs (1979). It is very accessible in its gentle humor and its emphasis on the heart-felt spiritual experience but I can also relate to the more serious work of Julian of Norwich. Richard Rolle is a bit extreme and one-dimensional for my taste, while I found Walter Hilton to be not "mystical" enough. But all of them journeyed inward to the depths of the self and each in their own way created a personal faith that offers a more intimate experience of the divine. Armstrong's insightful introduction demonstrates how the mystical experience is similar in all religions and her interpretations of these texts are guaranteed to encourage modern seekers of spirituality and transcendence in the Christian tradition. Above all, in this book Armstrong has done much to restore the greatest voices of the long-lost Western mystical tradition to their rightful place. In this 21st century, many adherents of mainstream Christianity may rediscover the mystical experience and find it to be a more meaningful form of religious practice than the conventional and dogmatic expressions of faith.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
excellent! 11 Jan. 2009
By Indy Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Karen Armstrong has a wonderful way of teaching and has a realistic grasp of God and organized religion. Pick any of her books to read and you will be so much better for having done so.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars 11 Aug. 2014
By grace moon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another essential read from historian Karen Armstong on lives of 14th C. english mystics.
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