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The Lives of Simeon Stylites (Cistercian Studies) [Paperback]

By Robert Doran (Translator) & Susan Ashbrook Harvey (Foreword by)
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Item description for The Lives of Simeon Stylites (Cistercian Studies) by Robert Doran & Susan Ashbrook Harvey...

In the flood of christian ascetics who left the world to seek God alone, Simeon chose a novel withdrawal. He mounted a pillar and remained there the rest of his life. To him came supplicants with al kinds of problems: personal anguish, sickness and pain, infertility, sin, and social transgression. Public issues were mediated at his shrine and slaves manumitted. Three views of the Stylite in three lives.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Cistercian Publications
Pages   241
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.56" Width: 6.38" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.66 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2006
Publisher   Cistercian Publications
Series  Cistercian Studies  
ISBN  0879075120  
ISBN13  9780879075125  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of May 23, 2017 08:50.
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More About Robert Doran & Susan Ashbrook Harvey

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Rene Girard is the Andrew B. Hammond Professor Emeritus of French Civilization at Stanford University and a member of the Academie francaise. He is the author of over fifteen books, including "Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World" (Stanford, 1987), and "Oedipus Unbound: Selected Writings on Rivalry and Desire" (Stanford, 2004). Robert Doran is Assistant Professor of French at Middlebury College.

Robert Doran was born in 1940 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Rochester, New York.

Robert Doran has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cistercian Studies
  2. New Interpreter's Bible

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Lives of Simeon Stylites (Cistercian Studies)?

A very useful text about a truly fascinating saint  Apr 17, 2009
This book presents, in English translation, three different lives of the fascinating late Roman saint, Simeon the Stylite. Simeon was the original "pillar saint"--a type of Eastern ascetic who took up his station between heaven and earth on a high pillar and never came down. In Simeon's case, he was atop the pillar for nearly 40 years!

The accounts in this book offer an interesting glimpse into this form of Christian asceticism that, frankly, strikes the modern reader as bizarre. Some of the anecdotes about Simeon recorded in these lives are awful--in the literal sense of that word--meaning that they fill the reader with a sense of awe that a man could actually suffer so much. He was afflicted by horrifying illnesses and his flesh eaten by worms. Because he was always standing, his feet became ulcerated. Yet, through all of this, Simeon trusted in God and never even considered coming down from the pillar even when urged to do so by his disciples. However, when ordered by a bishop to come down as a test of his obedience, Simeon showed himself willing. (He was stopped before he could do so.)

Because Simeon was such a holy man, he was able to work tremendous miracles through the power of God. Simeon's biographers offer a litany of dozens of such miracles--from curing cripples, to bringing rain, to saving Christians in distress hundreds of miles away.

This bulk of this book is made up of a translation of the anonymous Syriac life of St. Simeon which was written right after his death. It also contains two much shorter lives written during the life of the saint or immediately thereafter--that of Theodoret of Cyrrhus and of Antonius.

My only problem with the work concerns the introduction which is lengthy, highly theoretical, and dense. For a general reader or someone who wants to read the work as a spiritual exercise, it can be offputting. The author also goes on an extended tangent in the introduction comparing the ascetic practice of Simeon with that of the so-called "phallus climbers" who existed in Syria several hundred years before Simeon's day. The author concludes that Simeon almost certainly had never heard of this pagan practce. So the question is, why discuss it at all, then, beyond a passing mention?

Overall, however, this book is good and useful for comparing the Lives of St. Simeon on a scholarly level and putting them all together in one package. If you're looking for a life of St. Simeon Stylites to read for devotional purposes, however, I suggest The Life of Saint Simeon Stylites: A Translation of the Syriac Text in Bedjan's Acta Martyrum Et Sanctorum. Though an older translation, this work has the virtue of presenting in English the most complete recension of the Syriac Life.

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