Item description for Nicholas of Cusa: Selected Spiritual Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality) by H. Lawrence Bond & Nicholas...
Overview For the first time in one volume in English are the spiritual writings of this outstanding intellectual figure (1401-1464) whose work anticipated modern problems of ecumenicity and pluralism, empowerment and reconciliation, and tolerance and individuality.
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Studio: Paulist Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.55 lbs.
Release Date Apr 30, 1997
Publisher Paulist Press
Series Classics Of Western Spirituality
ISBN 0809104822 ISBN13 9780809104826
Reviews - What do customers think about Nicholas of Cusa: Selected Spiritual Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality)?
Beautiful synthesis of theology, philosophy and mysticism Nov 23, 2006
Nicholas of Cusa is a rare and lonely genius who straddles the time of change between the late medieval period and the early Renaissance. A cardinal in the Roman Church, Cusa like many more modern mystics, led a highly active as well as contemplative life.
This collection of writings includes Cusa's most important work, 'On Learned Ignorance' as well as several smaller works including 'The Vision of God' and 'The Unknown God.'
Cusa's mysticism is deeply speculative and intellectual, perhaps more so than any other Christian mystic except Eckhart and Eriugena. At the heart of Cusa's mysticism is God's absolute infinity, which renders God utterly and entirely incomprehensible to the human mind. Because incomprehensibility is not merely due to a defect of the human mind but is an attribute of God himself, Cusa rigorously adopts a strongly apophatic approach to God, developed along lines already laid out by Dionysius the Aeropagite, Eckhart, and Scotus Eriugena.
In the Learned Ignorance Cusa likens God to the 'absolute maximum' who while ineffable, contains the fullness of being and reality. The absolute maximum is God's essence as it is in itself, what philosophers might now call the Absolute. In the absolute maximum, which is basically God's infinite nature, all coincidences and opposites merge into one basic unity. In other words, the many become the one and the one becomes the many in God's plenitude of being.
Cusa then goes on to describe how God is related to the universe. The universe is the absolute contractum or minimum, crudely a mirror of God's infinity and infinite itself, but not God. The universe presents the believer with an overwhelming expression of God's ineffability, however God himself by virtue of his absolute infinity remains shrouded in incomprehensibility and mystery. One of Cusa's favourite sayings is the ancient maxim 'God is a sphere whose circumference is everywhere and centre is nowhere.'
Cusa also argues that as God is radically unknowable, also the universe is in a way radically unknowable. Humans are engaged in an ever deepening vision of God through creatures, though God himself will forever remain unknown to the created mind. Like Eriugena and Eckhart, Cusa pushes his apophatic theology and mysticism to the very limit and seems to argue at times even creatures themselves are somehow theophanies or appearances of deeper realities or reality which we can never know. In this sense he seems to anticipate Kant, who put a radical barrier between the knowable and the unknown.
Cusa's vision of God contains astonishing philosophical and theological depth which remains unmatched until the arrival of Spinoza. His vistas of an infinite universe are perhaps unmatched until the arrival of the mystical cosmology of Giordo Bruno and the universe of Isaac Newton.
While perhaps Cusa's vision may not be appropriate for today's universe, his courage in exploring the hidden deeps of God's being are to be admired for their profoundity and originality, and one looks forward with hope to the next Cusa who will integrate all things into a grand vision before which one feels only awe.
A Path to a Pure Spiritual/Modern World Sep 25, 2004
This book is one of many translations that are currently being made for English language readers on the 15th century writings of Nicholas of Cusa. New translations of Cusanus writings began to appear in the late 1970s by Jasper Hopkins of the University of Minnesota. Free copies of some of Hopkins translations are available on the Internet at http://www.cla.umn.edu/jhopkins/. Today, translations of these 15th century writings are also being made by the American Cusanus Society. The author of this book is past president of this society.
The writings of Nicholas of Cusa are significant because his writings, on God and our world, initiated the modern world in which we live today. To me, his writings are the most important religious writings to be found on this site.com today. His writing will help people transform the out-dated ancient views of God and our world they have been taught into modern views supported by modern science. Without this transformation, a person becomes conservative with a closed mind and will not understand the natural changes that are taking place among liberal and open-minded people.
This book is a necessary addition to any home or public library. It is necessary by any person who is working on the unification of science and theology. And, it is necessary for any person who believes that a pure spiritual/modern world is possible beyond the materialistic-driven spiritual/modern world in which we live today today.
The Neo-Gnostic Christian Mystic Oct 22, 2003
Of all the great Christian mystics that I have read, Nicholas de Cusa is one of the finest. In the masterpiece "On Learned Ignorance" he reveals the "coincidence of opposites," which is the point in infinity when all opposites unite and become blended together in God's infinity, the Infinite Line, which is the Absolute Maximum and Absolute Minimum combined, i.e., the two points (contradictions) of a finite line converging and becoming unified, or equal in God's un-being existence, where there is no proportion between the infinite and the finite. He believed that Jesus Christ is the Gate Keeper of the "coincidence of opposites." We can only understand God through a "learned ignorance" because God is beyond being, beyond all understanding. This work alone is worth the cost of the entire book. Also included are "Dialogue on the Hidden God," "On Seeking God," "On the Vision of God," and "On the Summit of Contemplation." All these works together form a synthesis in Nicholas' philosophy/theology. Nicholas was very gnostic. He takes Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite's mysticism to the next level, if that is even possible. You will also see the obvious influence that Meister Eckhart had on him. There's a wonderful Foreward, Introduction, Abbreviations, Notes to the Text, A Brief Glossary of Cusan Terms, Select Bibliography, and Indexes. This book is a must have for any Christian-mysticism collection. I highly recommend this volume.
A Delightful Experience! Apr 30, 2000
This book affords the scholar and novice alike a wonderful foray into the thought of Nicholas of Cusa. A fine collection of principal titles by Cusanus, this book is one full of enigmatic charm and probing insight! The forward and introduction provide a helpful entryway to the texts which are supplemented by a useful glossary of key terms and several notes.