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Christian Mysticism: Suggested Reading

Catholic Mystics | Protestant Mystics | Orthodox Mystics | Other Mystics


Catholic Mystics

The Seven Storey Mountain
By Thomas Merton
Harcourt Trade Publishers, 1998

"The Seven Storey Mountain" is one of the most influential religious works of the twentieth century. This edition includes a memoir of its publication by Robert Giroux, Merton's editor, and a brief introduction to Merton's thought by Father William Shannon, his biographer.

Also by Thomas Merton: A Thomas Merton Reader

The Way of Perfection
By St. Theresa of Avila
Image Books, 1991

A major work of this 16th-century Spanish saint, in which she discusses three requirements for a lasting love of prayer. The text was meant to serve as a guide for the practice of prayer and attainment of virtue.

Also by St. Theresa of Avila: The Interior Castle

Revelations of Divine Love
By Julian of Norwich
Penguin Putnam, Inc., 1999

Julian, an anchoress in the great medieval city of Norwich, described an extraordinary series of "showings" that she received from God. Through her experiences, she identifies the female nature of Christ's suffering and the motherhood of God.

Dark Night of the Soul
By St. John of the Cross
Riverhead Books, 2002

St. John of the Cross has been called "the most sublime of all Spanish mystics," and his spiritual masterwork, "Dark Night of the Soul," stands as one of the greatest contributions to the literature of mysticism.

Also by St. John of the Cross: The Poems of St. John of the Cross

The Cloud of Unknowing
Anonymous
Image Books, 1996

William Johnston 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.

Selected Writings
By Meister Eckhart
Viking Penguin, 1995

A collection of works by this medieval Christian mystic. Eckhart lived between 1260 and 1326. A number of his teachings were repudiated by the Roman Catholic Church after his death.

Protestant Mystics

The Pursuit of Man
By A.W. Tozer
Christian Publications, Inc., 1997

This work by A.W. Tozer, a 20th-century Protestant pastor from Chicago, is considered a spiritual classic.

Also by A.W. Tozer: The Pursuit of God, The Attributes of God

God of All Comfort
By Hannah Whitall Smith
Moody Press, 1956

This book, by the 19th-century feminist evangelist and reformer, attempts to bring enduring joy into the lives of troubled Christians and to show that everything Christ promised is available today to all believers.

Orthodox Mystics

Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart
By E. Kadloubovsky
Faber & Faber, Inc., 1992

"The Philokalia" is a collection of text written between the fourth and fifteenth centuries by spiritual masters of the Orthodox Christian tradition.

The Path to Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation
By St. Theophan the Recluse
Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1997

"The Path to Salvation" is the major work of this 19th-century Russian Church Father.

The Way of the Pilgrim
Translated by Reginald M. French
HarperSanFrancisco, 1991

This classic work of Russian spirituality tells of an anonymous peasant's quest for the secret of prayer.

The Desert Fathers: Translations from the Latin
Translated by Helen Waddell
Vintage Books, 1998

An introduction to the sayings and stories of the fourth-century men and women who left towns and cities to seek God in the deserts of Africa and Asia Minor.

On Prayer
By Archimandrite Sophrony
St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1998

A collection of articles on prayer and the spiritual life, together with some of the author's own prayers.

Other Mystic Texts

The Essential Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks
HarperTrade, 1997

A comprehensive collection of ecstatic poetry, "The Essential Rumi" brings the words of famed thirteenth-century Sufi mystic Jelalludin Rumi to contemporary readers.

The Zohar: Basic Readings from the Kabbalah
By Gershom Scholem
Schocken Books, Inc., 1995

The Zohar is the central work in the literature of the Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition. This volume of selected passages from the Zohar, culled by the greatest authority on Jewish mysticism, offers a sampling of its unique vision of the esoteric wonders of creation; the life and destiny of the soul; the confluence of physical and divine love; suffering and death; exile and redemption.

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