Read Roots of Christian Mysticism: Texts from Patristic Era with Commentary by Olivier Clément Free Online
Book Title: Roots of Christian Mysticism: Texts from Patristic Era with Commentary|
The author of the book: Olivier Clément
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Loaded: 1783 times
Reader ratings: 4.5
Edition: New City Press
Date of issue: January 1st 1996
ISBN 13: 9781565480292
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 954 KB
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I first read this book for a graduate class in Early Christianity at SLU in fall 2008. If I had to "blame" a single work for making me fall hopelessly in love with theology in general and patristics in particular, I would choose The Roots of Christian Mysticism.
Why? Clément not only demonstrates a masterful command of primary sources, but provides commentary illuminating the fact that the early Church's greatest theologians viewed theology as a way of life. That is, for the Fathers of the Church, "doing theology" was a rigorous intellectual pursuit, which was also inseparable from a life of prayer, faithful Christian living, and communion with the Church. Clément was among the first to introduce me to the idea of authentic theological inquiry as requiring the synthesis of mind (intellect) and heart (affections), a notion which would be more thoroughly fleshed-out for me in the works of Augustine and Bonaventure.
For example, Clément writes:
"Prayer and theology are inseparable. True theology is the adoration offered by the intellect. The intellect clarifies the movement of prayer, but only prayer can give it the fervor of the Spirit. Theology is light, prayer is fire. Their union expresses the union of the intellect and the heart. But it is the intellect that must 'repose' in the heart, and theology must transcend it in love."
Overall, this is an excellent introduction to the Fathers, which are made much more accessible to young students thanks to Clément's thoughtful presentation of primary texts and his own commentary.
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Read information about the authorOlivier Clément was a French theologian and convert to Orthodox Christianity who taught at St. Sergius Institute in Paris.
He was born in 1921 in the south of France. In his youth he was a non-believer. As he grew to maturity, he became influenced by a number of Orthodox theologians in France, notably Vladimir Lossky and Nicholas Berdiaev, eventually receiving baptism at the hands of Fr Evgraph Kovalesvky, later Bishop Jean-Nectaire of Saint-Denis.
Although a committed school teacher, Clément was most devoted to his work at the St Sergius Institute and to his writing. His work was wide-ranging — from poetry to literary criticism, philosophy to theology, and extended to book-length interviews with figures such as Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and one of his successors, Bartholomew.
The most widely distributed of Clément's many books was perhaps his introductory work on the Orthodox Church in the popular Que sais-je? series, first published in 1961 and now in its seventh edition.
Clément also enjoyed friendship and entered into dialogues on major spiritual themes with a number of imminent personalities including Patriarch Athenagoras, Pope John Paul II, the priest and theologian Dumitru Staniloae, and the brother Roger of Taizé.
Modest, kindly and balanced, and supported faithfully by his wife Monique, Clément worked selflessly to unite Christians of different backgrounds, to unite France’s various Orthodox communities, and to inspire readers and listeners with a love of the Orthodox tradition which, he believed, would enrich the whole Church.