Item description for Disputed Questions by Thomas Merton...
These essays explore the coming together of the active and the contemplative life and the relationship of individuals to society. Merton's writing is both lively and profound as he leads the reader through the hard questions of modern existence. "Merton was...one of the most prophetic Catholic writers of our time" (New Republic). Preface by Father M. Louis.
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Studio: Mariner Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.98" Width: 5.36" Height: 0.73" Weight: 0.58 lbs.
Release Date Apr 26, 1985
Publisher Harvest Books
Edition and and and
ISBN 0156261057 ISBN13 9780156261050
Availability 0 units.
More About Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, spiritual director, political activist, social critic, and one of the most-read spiritual writers of the twentieth century. He is the author of many books, including The Seven Storey Mountain.
Reviews - What do customers think about Disputed Questions?
Departure Feb 27, 2007
This book seems to be somewhat of a departure from Merton's other work in the sense that it lacks the focus on spritual philosophy that makes him such a valuable writer. Where other books by Merton seem to have a clear theme, this seems to be a mixed bag of disputed topics from Merton's time and other eras.
The first third of the book dwells on the "Pasternak Affair" and Pasternak's novel "Dr. Zhivago". Not being familiar with Pasternak's book, I felt as though I was reading a literary review which was not able to grab my attention. The one section that made me reflect were the sections on religious art and church decorations. At a certain point, does the art distract one from the idea behind the art, causing the art to lose meaning? Another section focuses on the evolution of the Camelite order. This is not a bad section, but it is dramatic shift in theme from the previous themes and skews the focus.
While spiritual reflections are present, they are scattered. Merton does reflect on the solitary life saying, "It is much easier ... to have the will of God filtered to us quietly through society, through the decrees of man, through the orders of others." With this being one of the more outstanding notes, this book is obviously not as well known in the scope of Merton's work for a reason.
Deep Insights Feb 17, 2004
Although this collection of essays covers a wide variety of subjects, from the roots of the Carmelite order to current (1960) political issues, it has an important connecting theme, the nature of the individual's relationship to society. My favorite selections were:
"The Pasternak Affair" is a penetrating analysis of Pasternak's work and his poetic struggle to be human in a harshly dehumanizing communist society. In addition, Merton's commentary touches on how our own "free" society is in a much more insidious way nearly as dehumanizing. Clearly, Merton, who had some correspondence with Pasternak, dearly loved the man and his work.
"The Power and Meaning of Love" is one of the most beautiful explorations of what it means to love and be loved that I have read.
"Philosophy of Solitude" boldly asserts that we are all solitaries; the only question is whether we accept it or run away from it. Society, in a sense, is nothing more than a structure of distractions that enables us to ignore our intrinsic lonliness. However, if we turn and face our solitary nature, we can discover that we are not empty at all, but full of God. Merton explains with magnificent clarity how we should pursue this discovery, and how to avoid the pitfalls that can lead us, with the best of spiritual intentions, astray.