Item description for The Spiritual Meadow (Pratum Spirituale) by John Moschus & John Wortley...
Overview 'I have plucked the finest flowers of the unmown meadow and worked them into a row which I now offer to you', wrote John Moschos as he began his tales of the holy men of seventh-century Palestine and Egypt. This translation offers readers contemporary insights into the spirituality of the desert.
'I have plucked the finest flowers of the unmown meadow and worked them into a row which I now offer to you', wrote John Moschos as he began his tales of the holy men of seventh-century Palestine and Egypt. This translation offers readers contemporary insights into the spirituality of the desert.
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Studio: Cistercian Publications
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.67" Width: 5.83" Height: 0.69" Weight: 0.82 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2006
Publisher Cistercian Publications
ISBN 0879075392 ISBN13 9780879075392
Reviews - What do customers think about The Spiritual Meadow (Pratum Spirituale)?
I liked it a lot. Nov 15, 2004
Personally, I liked it a lot, but I don't think this is for everyone so I gave it four instead of five stars. It is a volume filled with beautiful stories from John Moschos' travels from either Constantinople or Mt. Athos, down through the Levant, and finally ending in Egypt. Some of the stories are obviously confusions of other stories which he has already told while others which he claims are visions, are probably not. An examples of the latter is that he will sometimes introduce one of the miracle stories as "One day when Abba so an so was working outside, it was at the greatest heat of the day and suddenly such and such appeared to him..."
Other stories vary from a priest who wouldn't baptize women because he struggled with becomng 'aroused' while annointing them. In response, Saint John the Baptist appeared to him, made the sign of the cross over his groin and never again did he struggle with the problem. Please, though, understand that there is a significant spiritual meaning to all of these stories regardless of how funny some of them appear on the outside. For examples, the saints will always and without fail pray for and help as much as they can, those who call upon them. It is really a book for the mature reader but well worth it.
Historical notes are also a big bonus. There is an entire appendix of them which I found extremely helpful and explanatory.
I enjoyed it and found this to be very edifying in the simplicity, love, and beauty with which it was composed.
You Can't Judge This Book By Its Cover Sep 1, 2004
I know the old expression "You cannot judge a book by its cover" is perhaps the most overused cliché in the English language, but I assumed that a book titled "The Spiritual Meadow" with flowers on its cover would be a sweet, or at least semi-sweet title with ancient tried and true spiritual quotes, a Desert Father's Lite so to speak. Well, it's not. If anything, the Desert Fathers could be described as "Spiritual Meadow Lite" rather than the other way around.
The book itself is an example of an early Christian travel tale. John Moschos traveled to visit the monasteries in Palestine and the book is a recording of his observations, the stories he heard, and the wisdom he learned along the way. The people we meet in the book are serious about the Christian life, and the importance of austerity. There are no excuses for anything but the best from all followers, and readers could wonder if anyone could truly be a follower of Christ. The stories themselves can be a bit difficult for modern Christians to understand, and could seem so far removed from today that the writings are little more than a curiosity. Readers could decide that the writings are too severe, and in some cases, anti-Semitic, at least by our standards. Some of these thoughts were my immediate observations after reading many of the excerpts, especially of I read these writings too critically. Yet when I think about the time in which these monks lived, the power of their witness, and their dedication to God, and this is where the power of this work can be found, and makes it timeless. From a historical point of view, we get an up close and intimate look at early monasticism.
Potential readers should note that the translation of this work is literal. Some of the pieces are available only in fragmentary form and this is how it is presented. This is a plus for the work in my estimation. Readers can wrestle with the actual text rather than what a translator feels the text is missing.
BUY THIS BOOK TOGETHER WITH... Mar 22, 2001
If you (1) enjoy reading the writings of Orthodox believers from centuries ago, (2) love good travel writing, AND (3) seek further spiritual enrichment on your Christian walk, buy Moschus's "The Spiritual Meadow." I strongly recommend that you also buy "From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East" by William Dalrymple (see the link under "Customers who bought this book also bought..."). In the mid 1990s Dalrymple used Moschus's book to retrace the journies Moschus made and makes a strong case for the fragile state of contemporary Middle East Christianity--something Moschus even noticed just starting to manifest itself way back in c. 580 A.D. Each book complements the other. Buy them both. Don't worry about the money outlay, which isn't much anyway. You won't be disappointed.
Excllent Jan 16, 1999
This book exemplifies the wisdom of the desrert fathers in the late 6th century. The monk John Moschos, compiled their sayings and wrote to his spiritual son , Sophronius, that their wisdom was like that of beautiful flowers in a spiritual meadow. Sophronius then went on to become Patriarch of Jerusalem.
An oasis in the desert. Jun 19, 1998
St John Mochus spent several years travelling throughout the deserts, rather like a 'roving reporter' of today, wanting to gather the stories of the spiritual giants of the desert (who often lived many distances apart in purposely difficult to get to places (so that they could lead their lives of prayer and struggle with more focus and attentiveness)) that lived during his own lifetime, and this is exactly what he did.
These stories are all real, straight from the mouths of 6th century Eastern Christian monks, and each is a word of wisdom - food for thought - sometimes shocking our pre-conceived notions of things - and ends up showing just how the Eastern Orthodox Church is of that same ethos today as it was then. A modern day example would be the monks on Mt Athos - and it should not be surprising that contemporary emulators of St John Mochus, compiling stories from Orthoox monks, will find similar true accounts today.