The tenor of this book is rather personal, and so is our reaction to it: because we admire and respect Diogenes Allen and his work, we are happy to read about his study and appreciation of the Fathers of the Church. Like us, and like many of our readers, he sees the Fathers as great guides to a lifelong process of conversation, conversion, and transformation in Christ. It is wonderful to read Allen's insights into the message of Maximus the Confessor, St. Basil the Great, and St. Gregory of Nyssa, as if he were someone discovering nourishing streams of Tradition afresh. A special delight is his analysis of Evagrius of Pontus on the ''eight deadly thoughts.'' Warmly welcomed, and warmly recommended. Would be in New condition but for previous owner's stamp on title page. All else pristine.
An Eighth Day View:
Often spirituality today is isolated from church teaching and doctrine, as in Joseph Campbell s treatment of myth and the many forms of New Age theologies, but doctrine apart from the life of prayer is abstract and sterile. In Spiritual Theology Allen turns to the great teachers of the past the church fathers, Augustine, Maximus the Confessor, Bonaventure, Hugh of St. Victor, Calvin and Luther, George Herbert to recover a spirituality that is rich with the doctrines and disciplines of theology. Allen covers the great questions of the spiritual life: what is the Christian goal? what leads us toward that goal, and what hinders us? what is conversion? how can we discern our progress in the spiritual life? what are the fruits of the Spirit? A second purpose of the book is to introduce readers to the disciplines and texts of the threefold way, found in the eastern church from the fourth century on. Allen writes simply and clearly of the active life and the development of virtue, and the contemplative life, which includes coming to know God through the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture as well as directly, face to face, which is the domain of mystical theology. This book is a basic and accessible introduction to the classic writings and doctrines of the spiritual life.