ARRAY(0xa548b9cc)
 
Customer Review

97 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful synthesis of spirituality & history, 1 Jan 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: From the Holy Mountain: A Journey In The Shadow of Byzantium (Paperback)
I knew William Dalrymple as a fine travel writer after his early success with In Xanadu, a re-enactment of Marco Polo's journey to China. From the Holy Mountain attempts a more ambitious journey, and the author brings it off brilliantly. His narrative is a re-enactment of the travels of a 6th century Byzantine monk, John Moschos, who recorded the religious communities and the miracles he encountered in his book, The Spiritual Meadow.
Dalrymple travels in Moschos's footsteps, from Mount Athos in Greece, to the Great Oasis at Kharga in Upper Egypt. The journey takes Dalrymple across Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Israel before reaching his conclusion on the edge of the Sahara, surrounded by Egyptian army guards bristling with automatic weapons protecting him from Muslim fundamentalists.
The historical theme he brings to life is the way that Christianity began as a religion of the Middle East, centred on Alexandria and Constantinople, long before it became the established faith of Western Europe. But his travels take him through a series of conflicts: the Orthodox Church of Southern Turkey caught in the cross fire of civil war between Kurd nationalists and the Turkish state. In Lebanon, he walks through the remains of the Maronite Christian community who have propelled their country into a disastrous civil war. In Israel, the Orthodox monks and the Palestinian Christians are trying to cope with the growth of Jewish settlements across the Holy Land. And in Egypt, the Coptic Church is menaced by the growth of Muslim fundamentalism.
What makes the book special is the way Dalrymple can sink into Moschos's world. His eye for art and architecture brings the Byzantine world to life, and his ear captures conversations with monks who regard miracles and saints hovering above their monasteries as everyday events. The bizarre hallucinations and beliefs of the early Christian church become matter of fact occurrences as Dalrymple talks to Christians whose prayers, music and way of life have changed little over 1500 years. His outlook remains admirably compassionate. He brings off a journey through history that is intertwined with some of the nastiest conflicts of the 20th century. It's a lament to the disappearing world of Eastern Christianity, but it's also informative and spiritually very moving.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.7 out of 5 stars (51 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (43)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
10.99 7.69
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: London United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 10,536