A marvellously readable translation of the great Middle English classic of Christian mysticism. Now part of the beautifully designed Shambhala Pocket Library collection. This anonymous fourteenth-century text is the glory of English mysticism, and one of the most practical and useful guides to finding union with God ever written. Carmen Acevedo Butcher's new translation is the first to bring the text into a modern English idiom--while remaining strictly faithful to the meaning of the original Middle English. The Cloud of Unknowing consists of a series of letters written by a monk to his student or disciple, instructing him (or her) in the way of Divine union. Its theology is presented in a way that is remarkably easy to understand, as well as practical, providing advice on prayer and contemplation that anyone can use. Previous translations of the Cloud have tended to veil its intimate, even friendly tone under medieval-sounding language. Carmen Butcher has boldly brought the text into language as appealing to modern ears as it was to its original readers more than five hundred years ago.
Written by an anonymous English monk during the late fourteenth century, 'The Cloud of Unknowing' holds an important place in the history of both Western literature and spirituality. Though originally intended for a select audience, the work's simple, engaging style has won it widespread popularity since it rediscovery more than century ago. 'The Cloud' puts forth a method of contemplation that stresses the impotence of the understanding to break through the cloud of unknowing that separates God and humanity. Rather, 'it is love alone that can reach God in this life.'
Those who turn to spiritual classics for guidance and inspiration often find their style daunting. The original texts still have much to offer but their diction and idiom, chosen for another era and audience, pose an obstacle to many contemporary readers. The Cloud of Unknowing for Everyone is the latest in a series that aims to make some of the greatest Christian teachers accessible to all. The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an unknown fourteenth century author, points out that all we can know of God is slight; God in Godself is unknowable to our limited intellect and thought. Only love can bridge the gap, love like an arrow of longing simple, straightforward and direct. All who feel called to a life of prayer will be captivated by the balanced, precise and practical insights of The Cloud. In her retelling of this classic, Obbard invites contemporary readers to join previous generations who have discovered the riches of this classic text.
Written by an anonymous English monk during the late fourteenth century, The Cloud of Unknowing is a sublime expression of what separates God from humanity and is widely regarded as a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality. A work of simplicity, courage, and lucidity, it is a contemplative classic on the deep mysteries of faith. "Lift up your heart to God with a humble impulse of love and have himself as your aim, not any of his goods ... Set yourself to rest in this darkness, always crying out after him whom you love. For if you are to experience him or to see him at all, insofar as it is possible here, it must always be in this cloud and in this darkness." –– The Cloud of Unknowing
THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING and THE BOOK OF PRIVY COUNSELING are the first explorations in the English language of the soul’s quest for God. Written in Middle English by an unknown fourteenth-century mystic, THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING expresses with beauty a message that has inspired such great religious thinkers as St. John of the Cross and Teilhard de Chardin, as well as countless others in search of God. Offering a practical guide to the life of contemplation, the author explains that ordinary thoughts and earthly concepts must be buried beneath a “cloud of forgetting,” while our love must rise toward a God hidden in the “cloud of unknowing.” THE BOOK OF PRIVY COUNSELING, also included in this volume, is a short and moving text on the way to enlightenment through a total loss of self and a consciousness only of the divine. William Johnston, an authority on fourteenth-century mysticism and spirituality, provides an accessible discussion of the works, detailing what is known about the history of the texts and their author. In a new foreword, Huston Smith draws on his extensive knowledge of the varieties of religious experience to illuminate the relevance of these works for contemporary readers.
"Unlike many mystics, who celebrate ecstasies, visions, voices, the scent of strange perfumes, [and] the hearing of sweet sounds, he believed that the key to a closer relationship with God required private thought and prayer, and the elimination of all other distractions. He distrusted psychic phenomena, believing they were the accidents rather than the substance of the contemplative life, and quite possibly the work of the Devil. He felt that such hallucinations led only to self-deception and brought the believer no closer to God. Humorous at times, and written in plain English, The Cloud of Unknowing is intended for the general reader, especially the beginner in contemplation unsure about how to overcome initial difficulties. British writer of prose and poetry EVELYN UNDERHILL (1875 1941) was a fellow of King s College for Women and King s College, and was the first woman to lecture to the clergy in the Church of England. Through her radio appearances and her stint as editor of the political magazine The Spectator, she was a familiar voice in British public life between the wars. She authored more than 30 books (some under the pseudonym John Cordelier), including Concerning the Inner Life and Radiance: A Spiritual Memoir."
For centuries, mystics have groped for words in which to account for the supreme reality of this experience which not only illuminates a man's mind and fills his heart with new strength, but even radically transforms his whole life. All this is said in classic and unforgettable pages by TheCloud of Unknowing, the work of an anonymous fourteenth-century English writer.
This is the extended and annotated edition including * an extensive annotation about Monasticism and its meaning for the book that follows * an interactive table-of-contents * perfect formatting for electronic reading devices The Cloud of Unknowing (Middle English: The Cloude of Unknowyng) is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century. The text is a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer in the late Middle Ages.The Cloud of Unknowing draws on the mystical tradition of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Christian Neoplatonism, which focuses on the via negativa road to discovering God as a pure entity, beyond any capacity of mental conception and so without any definitive image or form. This tradition has reputedly inspired generations of mystical searchers from John Scotus Erigena, through Book of Taliesin, Nicholas of Cusa and St. John of the Cross to Teilhard de Chardin (the latter two of whom may have been influenced by "The Cloud" itself). Prior to this, the theme of "Cloud" had been in the Confessions of St. Augustine (IX, 10) written in AD 398. (courtesy of wikipedia.com)