Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Orthodox Spirituality: A Practical Guide for the Faithful and a Definitive Manual for the Scholar Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Dumitru Staniloae's goal in this book is to set out a complete exposition of the Orthodox spiritual path from beginning to end, and describing each step along the way with great detail. As he writes in the Introduction: 'the goal of Christian Orthodox spirituality is the perfection of the believer by his union with Christ. He is being imprinted to an ever-greater degree by the human image of Christ, full of God. So the goal of Christian Orthodox spirituality is the union of the believer with God, in Christ. But as God is unending, the goal of our union with Him, or of our perfection, has no point from which we can no longer progress.'
The content follows the typical division of spiritual growth into the categories of Purification, Illumination and Perfection (or Deification). Staniloae brings together teaching from a wide range of patristic and contemporary sources on these issues. He relies very strongly on the thought of Maximos the Confessor, Gregory Palamas, Symeon the New Theologian, and the French philosopher Maurice Blondel. This book is meant to be a counterpoint to modern existentialism, so he delves in depth into the way in which Orthodox spirituality engages with personhood and Being. Key issues that are dealt with (staples of Orthodox monastic writings) are the subjugation of the 'passions', the transformation of the mind and heart through contemplative prayer, the apophatic ascent to mystical knowledge of God, and the experience of the 'Divine Light' as the union with God.
Staniloae was a man of profound learning and spirituality, and also a humble man purified by suffering under communist oppression. This is a monumental work, written with simplicity and insight. It proves that Christianity has a store of spiritual knowledge and practice that is available to all believers for the transformation of their lives. I have reservations about how it might possibly be used as an esoteric guidebook to be followed apart from the life of the Church, and like many of these works the teaching comes from monastic settings that are separated from the 'secular' life. I struggle to see how these things could be taught to and practiced by ordinary Christian believers (though that is my difficulty, not Staniloe's). Another concern, which I also found with his systematic theology, is that there tends to be very little scriptural exposition compared with the vast amount of patristic theology that is quoted and explained. This book lacks the 'humanity' and concrete imagery of the Biblical spiritual writings. This is not necessarily a problem given Staniloe's goal with this work, but something to note and consider. These are minor quibbles, though, about a great book.
I would NOT recommend this book to anyone who has not at least some solid understanding of the Orthodox view of theosis and, more to the point, would not recommend it for anyone who is not Orthodox (especially inquirers). Given the heavy subject matter the book deals with as well as the depth into which Fr. Staniloae dives I would say that it is a text that is more for someone who has spent some years in the Church. That said, it is a wonderful book!