Item description for 21. St. Maximus the Confessor: The Ascetic Life, The Four Centuries on Charity (Ancient Christian Writers) by W. J. Burghardt & Maximus...
Overview The Ascetic Life is a dialogue between a young novice and an old monk on how to achieve the Christian life. The Four Centuries is a collection of aphorisms.
Publishers Description A monumental project which brings the English-speaking work key selections from the remarkable literature of early Christianity -- vertiable trasures of Christian faith and theology in superb translations.
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Studio: Paulist Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.74" Width: 5.76" Height: 1.03" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 1956
Publisher Paulist Press
Series Ancient Christian Writers
Series Number 21
ISBN 0809102587 ISBN13 9780809102587
Reviews - What do customers think about 21. St. Maximus the Confessor: The Ascetic Life, The Four Centuries on Charity (Ancient Christian Writers)?
Sherwood provided what was long overdue Jul 13, 2009
To borrow the opening line of Andrew Louth's introduction on Maximus, "St Maximus the Confessor was born in AD 580 in the Byzantine Empire, or the Roman Empire, as he and its inhabitants would have called it." Maximus is considered a Byzantine theologian (or Eastern Roman theologian) par excellence and universally considered the most important Christian theologian in the Seventh Century. Maximus (in the vein of those coming after him, such as John of Damascus) was a compiler in his theology. As a result of reading of the Fathers one will see much influence in his thought of the Cappadocians (especially the two Gregories) and their friend Evagrius (whose ascetical treatises have influenced much of the later monastic writings such as those found in the Philokalia). Diadochos of Photiki and Denys the Aeropagite's thought and ideas are also to be found in his writings. Maximus' genius is shown in his original presentation of the Father's thought. His writings for the most part are all occasional documents. The Ascetical Life gives advice to young monks in a question and answer format involving a (novice) Brother and an (experienced) Old Man. The Four Centuries on Love represent probably the most enjoyable and therefore the most popular of Maximus' writings. The style is aphoristic, with truths being presented as a single sentence and sometimes as a paragraph. They are profound thoughts and insights that are meant to be meditated on. Their brevity is also meant to aide in their memorization. Naturally being called Centuries there are a hundred aphorisms to be found, four-hundred total in the Four Centuries. Sherwood did the English speaking world a service by translating The Ascetical Life and the Four Centuries on Love into English for the first time in 1955.
Sherwood's introduction displays an adequate familiarity regarding his subject matter which is not surprising considering he had done previous writing and research on Maximus. Being a Roman Catholic scholar (who taught at the Pontifical Institute of St Anselm, in Rome no less), often times Maximus' thought is contrasted or explained against Catholic thought. His lengthy introduction was only surpassed recently by Louth. The only real critique I have of the author's translation involves the archaic use of English. Charity was favored over the now conventional term love. But his archaisms, especially when translating Maximus' quotations of Scripture, will only be a slight annoyance to most readers. The meaning of the text is still apparant enough. While I cannot speak on the Greek text underlying the Ascetical Life, I have translated much of the Four Centuries on Love. The Greek text is fairly straightforward and simple to translate in comparison to Maximus' other more profound theological works. Berthold and the translators of the Philokalia had the advantage of Sherwood's translation, so while theirs are superior, they deviate little from the foundational work of Sherwood. So this volume gives the English speaking world access to the entry level thought of Maximus, which had previously been esoteric, in an affordable hardback format. I would have to say any addition of Maximus' corpus to one's library is a wise decision.