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The Cloud of Unknowing & the Book of Privy Counseling (Spiritual Classic (St. Anthony Messenger Press)) Audio CD – Audiobook, 12 Jun 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Franciscan Media (12 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0867168714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0867168716
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.7 x 13.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,929,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

William Johnston--an authority on fourteenth century spirituality and specifically on the writings of this unknown author--provides a substantive and accessible introduction detailing what is known about the history of this text and its relevance throughout the ages. Also included here is the author's other principal work, "The Book of Privy Counseling--a short and moving text on the way to enlightenment through a total loss of self and consciousness only of the divine. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Originally written in Middle English by an unknown mystic of the fourteenth century, The Cloud of Unknowing represents the first expression in our own tongue of the soul's quest for God. A literary work of great beauty in both style and message, it offers a practical guide to the path of contemplation. The author explains how all thoughts and concepts must be buried beneath a "cloud of forgetting", while our love must rise toward God hidden in the "cloud of unknowing". William Johnston - an authority on fourteenth-century spirituality and on the writings of this unknown author - provides a substantive and accessible introduction detailing what is known about the history of this text and its relevance throughout the ages. Also included here is the author's other principal work, The Book of Privy Counseling - a short and moving text on the way to enlightenment through a total loss of self and consciousness only of the divine. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 23 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
It is perhaps perfectly appropriate that the author of 'The Cloud of Unknowing' is himself or herself unknown. This is a spiritual classic, a masterpiece in the real sense of the word. The style of writing is grand, well-versed and perfectly in concert with the subject; the ideas contained are some of the most sublime and inspired pieces of writing ever written in the English language. The book does not subscribe to any particular denominational or institutional framework, making it a piece of art and wisdom available to the whole of Christendom, and even appeals to those outside the formal bounds of Christianity.
This work has been compared to the work of C.S. Lewis, Plato, and other Christian mystics and theologians, with good reason. 'The Cloud of Unknowing' is part of a chain, influenced by and in turn influencing many other mystical writers. This is not a work of philosophy or apologetics, as the author is not concerned to prove the existence of God or set up any sort of metaphysical framework which must be accepted. The world around us is a given, and God is a given, and our task is to order our attention and love toward God so that it incorporates and includes the reality that is around without distraction. One perhaps hears echoes of this in Tillich's ultimate concern?
One of the things that makes 'The Cloud of Unknowing' a popular piece on an ongoing basis is this respect for reality. The author does not require super-human feats of contemplative power; this would be to deny the reality of the creature that we are, as God's creation. Contemplative work must be done in tandem and in cooperation with the rest of our life's needs.
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Format: Paperback
For me, this has always been the most meaningful and uplifting book on prayer and the spiritual life. It caught me in my twenties I am returning to it in my sixties with delight. I especially like The Book of Privy Counseling, written so simply and freshly and totally accessibly to a modern reader.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well worth reading if you want to know how to learn to press closer into God and discover more of his nature.This book is best for people who are really serious about furthering their development in God.This book is no use to you if you want to gloryfy yourself instead of God. If you want to learn to humble yourself before God and be open to his words and his actions and to empty yourself of every thing but him then you will find this book a treasure.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Written by an unknown author in the 14th Century this spiritual classic is very, very deep and beware not easy to understand not only because of the subject matter but because of the language and metaphor of the time. It might take a lifetime to understand it and not everyone is likely to want to go this deep. However, anyone who takes the first step and suspends all expectations and listens to these CDs will find that the subject matter will resonate in different ways. If you truly have faith ('pistis') then this work is for you. If dabbling then potentially dangerous as the author points out. Proceed with caution.

The narrator's voice is very soothing (a monk no less). Just remember that this classic is all about an all embracing love, a mystery that invites us to seek it. There is so much more I could say but that is only my impoverished opinion. Find out for yourself. Just know that it involves a spirit of deep contemplation and not book learning and once you embark into the depths there is no end to the plumbing that ensues and not always pleasant ... but persevere ...

There is not much more to say. Words are wasted and rather futile as they will colour your idea of the message. Taste and see. Hear and understand. Each time you LISTEN you will come away feeling you have grown slightly in your own understanding. The book is all about that cloud of unknowing ... how can anyone begin to unravel what it all means in words? A paradox.

Practice. Sit, listen and keep coming back to the word 'love'. That is it put simply. You may not need to get entangled in the words and thoughts of this book which might throw you off kilter.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 91 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good readable translation, great work on contemplative prayer 21 Sept. 2013
By Bernard Stephenson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had read The Cloud of Unknowing before, but in archaic English style that made it difficult to follow. It wasn't very accessible. Even though this translation has been in print for quite some time, it seems fresh. For me it made all the difference. With this translation spirituality oozes out of each chapter, so it is uplifting and a delight to read. I'm glad that unlike other books out there, it included The Book of Privy Counseling, which I found to be a concise summary of much of the material in the Cloud of Unknowing - pared down and to the point. I actually like it better than the more famous Cloud of Unknowing.

Anyone who practices contemplative prayer, or one of its many-named variants, will appreciate this classic text. Just goes to show that when you get to the heart of the matter, a fourteenth century work is as relevant today as it was back then.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for anyone who interested in Spirituality 8 Oct. 2014
By B. S. T. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written in a very relaxed conversational style that is quite inviting and appropriate to the subject of contemplative prayer, I would highly recommend this edition. Contemplative prayer is the practice of entering into God's love. The author describes this love as the Cloud of Unknowing in which we loose ourselves in God's presence. Having stood the test of time (written in the 14th century) the Cloud of Unknowing feels quite contemporary, yet cuts through the superficial spirituality that is pervasive today to provide a robust connection with God and tradition.

While I come out of the Christian tradition, I would think that the Cloud of Unknowing would be helpful to people of other faith traditions who are seeking a spiritual awareness. It's concepts and language would be quite easily adapted. I think that most people who approach the book with an open mind will find that they are drawn closer to the divine.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guide to Christian Contemplative Prayer 20 Aug. 2013
By Edward J. Barton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This timeless classic is a must read for anyone who is serious in their prayer practice. Written nearly 700 years ago, the author touches the mystic that transcends religion, time, creed or geography. The translation reads easily, and any modern reader will appreciate both the introduction as well as the modern English translation of the original. There are both practical and theoretical elements of contemplative prayer reviewed, and a focus on transcendence of love and perfect prayer.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cloud of Unkowing is not a book to be ... 3 Mar. 2015
By Jim L. Medlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Cloud of Unkowing is not a book to be merely read and therefore taken lightly. Reading or listening to this book demands time spent in reflection. The guidance it offers for the spiritual journey is timeless. Spiritual direction is guaranteed to the one whose heart hungers for God.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for reflections and guidance. 27 Sept. 2013
By Paul Craska - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Organization is great for reflecting on individual concepts without being overwhelmed. Over time the reflections come together and give rise to the truth that God is love and love of God can't be separated from love of neighbor. Do not try reading it straight through. Take one Chapter a day and take the time to reflect on how the idea presented can aid in being more open to God in daily life.
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