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The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection [Paperback]

By Benedicta Ward (Translator)
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Item description for The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection by Benedicta Ward...

The responses of these pioneer ascetics were remembered and in the fourth century written down in Coptic, Syriac, Greek, and later Latin. Their Sayings were collected, in this case in the alphabetical order of the monks and nuns who uttered them, and read by generations of Christians as life-giving words that would help readers along the path to salvation.

Publishers Description

Give me a word, Father', visitors to early desert monks asked. The responses of these pioneer ascetics were remembered and in the fourth century written down in Coptic, Syriac, Greek, and later Latin. Their"Sayings" were collected, in this case in the alphabetical order of the monks and nuns who uttered them, and read by generations of Christians as life-giving words that would help readers along the path to salvation.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Cistercian Publications
Pages   269
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.47" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.66"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2006
Publisher   Cistercian Publications
Series  Cistercian Studies  
ISBN  0879079592  
ISBN13  9780879079598  

Availability  9 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 10:42.
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More About Benedicta Ward

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Sister Benedicta Ward is a sister of the Community of Sisters of the Love of God. She is Reader in the History of Christian Spirituality at the University of Oxford and an honorary lecturer at Harris Manchester College.

Benedicta Ward currently resides in Oxford. Benedicta Ward was born in 1933.

Benedicta Ward has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cistercian Fathers
  2. Cistercian Studies
  3. Penguin Classics
  4. Studies in Christian History and Thought

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( D ) > Desert Fathers
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Cistercian studies 59)?

Review of The Sayings of the Desert Fathers  Apr 23, 2008
I am very impressed with the wide variety of desert fathers given in this source. It has increased my interest in exploring in more depth some of the desert fathers such as Macarius. I would suggest this to anyone who wanted an introduction to the stories given by and about the early monastic fathers of the Church.
Teleport to a life with the Fathers  Dec 7, 2007
All I can say is that if you love the simple way of the monks, the Church Fathers and Mothers, then you must read this book. The absolute gems to be found will completey renew your Christian faith and let you look at the Christian faith, and the Bible, in a completely new light.

Fantastic book for all peoples, Christian or not.
Absolutely Inspirational  Oct 19, 2007
I cannot tell you how much this book has enriched my spiritual life. The wisdom of the Desert Fathers is timeless, and not to be missed!
Best Book to read if you are interesting in learning more about your faith  Mar 20, 2007
This is the best book I have ever read, excluding the bible. It is so helpful and gives you the greatest advice. When reading about what the desert fathers have to say, you get so intuned with it and makes you to try to live a good life. It has helped me fight temptation. I will recommend this book to anyone who wants to change their old lifestyle and live a better one that makes you closer to God.
few better places to start on desert monasticism  Jan 18, 2007
For thirty years now Sister Benedicta Ward's translation of the sayings of 131 of the earliest monastics has served as an indispensable text for English speakers. In addition to her brief foreword and short biographical introductions (when they are known), the book includes simple maps on the inside front and back covers, a short glossary of terms, a chronological table of key events in the development of desert monasticism, a bibliography that is all too short and badly dated, and then two indices of key concepts, people and places. The sayings themselves stand alone without commentary. For contemporary extrapolations one can turn to the fine books by Archbishop Rowan Williams (Where God Happens, 2005) and John Chryssavgis (In the Heart of the Desert, 2003). For more complete primary resources, see the two works by John Cassian (360-435), Institutes and Conferences (900-plus pages), in which Cassian relates what he learned from and about the earliest monastics.

Beginning in the third century, three monastic experiments emerged in Egypt. St. Anthony (251-356), an uneducated Copt, is generally hailed as the father of the hermit monasticism centered in lower Egypt. Thanks to The Life of Saint Anthony by Athanasius, we know as much or more about Anthony than any other of the early ascetics. Other monks cooperated and collaborated in "cenobitic" monasticism. Pachomius (290-347) is generally credited with instigating this communal form of flight to the desert. Finally, in Nitria and Scetis small groups of monks lived near one another under the direction of an elder or "abba." In addition to Egypt, desert monasticism flourished in Syria, Asia Minor and in Palestine.

It's easy to dismiss the eccentricities of a Simon the Stylite (d. 459), who sat atop a fifty-foot pole outside of Antioch for forty years, or the ascetic excesses of food and sleep deprivation, but we honor these saints for their unique experimental spirituality that explored just what the words of Jesus might mean: "Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me." They stopped at nothing in "their lifetime of striving to re-direct every aspect of body, mind, and soul to God, and that is what they talked about" (Ward) in these "sayings."

In these sayings we are taught to "expect temptation until your last breath." That means doing battle with one's inner appetites, drives, thoughts, attachments (for example, to wealth) and desires. It also means the further you travel on the Christian journey the more you realize the breadth and depth of the struggle. Consequently, these monastics were above all things modest, non-judgmental, and deeply tender in regard to our human weaknesses. They were reluctant to take Christian office, made the certainty of their death a force for good in life, modest in what they thought they might know about Scripture, eager to keep silent, and appreciative of the diverse ways that each monk worked out his salvation. Ultimately, and in contrast to so much Christian spirituality of today, these desert monastics recommend a "hidden" form of discipleship, the focus of which is the interior geography of the human heart regardless of where they body finds itself. I have found these ancient saints to be wise guides for our contemporary world.

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