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The Sacred in Life and Art (Greek) Paperback – 6 Jun 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Denise Harvey (Publisher); 2nd edition (6 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: Greek
  • ISBN-10: 9607120183
  • ISBN-13: 978-9607120182
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.2 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 885,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

We are becoming increasingly aware that the forms of our life and art - of our modern civilization generally - have over the last few centuries been characterized by the progressive loss of precisely that sense which gives virtually all other civilizations and cultures of the world their lustre and significance: the sense of the sacred. In fact, the concept of a completely profane world - of a cosmos wholly desacralized - is a fairly recent invention of the western mind, and only now are we beginning to realize the appalling consequences of trying to order and mould our social, personal and creative life in obedience to its dictates. This book examines the nature and significance of the scared itself, why the sense of its presence has been eroded from our consciousness over recent centuries, how we can re-awaken this sense, and what such a re-awakening must mean in terms of our personal and creative life. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware writes: 'Through his sense of the sacred, through his emphasis upon the visionary intellect, and through his acute perception of the ecological crisis, Philip Sherrard is truly a prophet for our present age, a messenger whose winged words are addressed not so much to the 20th century in which he lived as to the 21st century that is now unfolding. As a defender of sacred tradition, his face was turned not primarily to the past but to the future. . . . Although he was a master-craftsman in his use of language, with a vivid appreciation of the beauty of words, yet he remains a difficult writer, who demands from his readers a serious commitment. Yet, although difficult, he has also the ability to alter the basic outlook and the priorities of those who are prepared to listen to him with an open heart. His are among the few books that I choose to read not once but many times. And if I do so - if his works have changed my life as they have changed the lives of others - that is above all because he himself lived what he taught.'

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I have not read a book for such a long time that I have found myself having so much empathy with the author, who is as profound as he is eclectic. This is not new-age thinking, in fact it is very traditional thinking, and what many see as the malaise in the world, comes down to us seeing things not in the wrong way as such, but our perceptions are bounded by looking in the wrong direction. Much of the cause of this he attributes to post-Renaissance thinking, and the irony is, that the limitation in perspective is an evolutionary one. He does not, as CS Lewis brilliantly says in ‘The Discarded Image’, review what has been lost as though it cannot be regained; he examines what has been lost within the context of how it might be regained, and there could be something sacred as a center in our lives and art – for real living is also an art. While he is very clearly rooted in the Orthodox Tradition, it would be a mistake to see this as a Christian polemic, for much of what he says transcends the literalists view of Christianity, placing it within a universal scale and actually quite practical.

To illustrate this twofold approach, a couple of chapters might serve as illustration. In ‘Modern art and the heresy of Humanism’, he begins by talking about the post-WW1 influence of Herbert Read, and how it has led to a loss of genuine figurative art, that being replaced by abstract art. The recent RA’s Richard Diebenkorn exhibition, where in his ‘evolution’ he was rounded upon by critics for reverting back to traditional perspective – that is ones that could be appreciated by ordinary people.
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