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Orthodox Spirituality: A Practical Guide for the Faithful and a Definitive Manual for the Scholar by [Staniloae, Dumitru]
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Orthodox Spirituality: A Practical Guide for the Faithful and a Definitive Manual for the Scholar Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 397 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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The contemporary Romanian theologian shows how only the Christian teaching of God as a Trinity of persons with a single essence can provide a basis for a spirituality which makes possible a real union between God and man.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1250 KB
  • Print Length: 397 pages
  • Publisher: St. Tikhon's Monastery Press; 1st edition (18 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B2YF6J8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #592,413 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Clear and powerful work of synthesis by a great Orthodox theologian.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x98c85090) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a6d2c0c) out of 5 stars A full and detailed explanation of spiritual growth 28 Mar. 2010
By ecclesial hypostasis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I hesitate to review this book because my understanding and application of the topic that it discusses is so poor. But others can remedy my weakness as they are able.

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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a6d2c60) out of 5 stars Practical Book - Disregard the Description 31 Oct. 2013
By All - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a well-organized book as another reviewer has noted. The 'official' description is 'head spinning' and leads one to think it is an intellectual exercise with not practical value for the spiritual life: WRONG. This book is a good spiritual guide and educational tool.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a8ff0b4) out of 5 stars Western Christian Takes a Look East 12 Feb. 2014
By Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not easy reading for someone looking for an introduction to Christian Spirituality (and, "Yes, Virginia there is such a thing as Christian Spirituality). However, anyone who has read and comprhended Evenly Underhill's Mysticism (ISBN1-85168-196-5), and Bernard McGinn's Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism (ISBN 0-8129-7421-2) should find Fr. Staniloae's work a "had to read it" kind of experience.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a8ff09c) out of 5 stars I would NOT recommend this book to anyone who has not at least ... 2 Oct. 2014
By Patrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In spite of the translation issues (always a difficulty) and the formatting issues (I speak of the digital version), this is a work of staggering impact. Fr. Staniloe gives us a loving and vividly written guide through theosis and the wonder of the most ancient teaching of the Church on what salvation is within Christianity. Simultaneously, he sweeps away many misconceptions regarding theosis, and ably balances various concepts that, to some, create "problems" within the Fathers. The introduction, too, is masterful in clearing up mistakes regarding the use of the word "spirituality" and how its misapplication within the modern world should not "scare off" Orthodox from embracing it.

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!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a8ff468) out of 5 stars A Great Reference Work 21 Sept. 2013
By Richard G. McLaughlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A wonderful book for both Orthodox & non-Orthodox Christians. It will remain an excellent bedside reference work. I highly recommend it in addition to any other book by Stanlioae.
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