The Desert Fathers
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The Desert Fathers

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  109 ratings  ·  9 reviews
By the fourth century A.D., devout Christians--men and women alike--had begun to retreat from cities and villages to the deserts of North Africa and Asia Minor, where they sought liberation from their corrupt society and the confining shell of the social self. The Desert Fathers is the perfect introduction to the stories and sayings of these heroic pioneers of the contempl...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 24th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1936)
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Nicholas Whyte[return][return]Helen Waddell has selected her favourite bits from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers compiled by Pelagius in the early fourth century, perhaps a third of it, and then added on various other texts, concluding with the Lives of St Pelagia the Harlot and St Mary the Harlot, which are about as exciting as you would expect.[return][return]a fascinating insight into the lives and mentalities of the first Christian monastics - men and women who felt...more
I read this as an undergrad and grad student, and it's a fascinating look at early monastic life. Some of the desert fathers (and mothers---a few women are included here, but there is a separate volume of writings by early female monastics) are a bit overboard. It's interesting reading, though, as we see adherents of a new faith trying to find their way and learn how to live consistently with the Gospel. This batch of new Christians has retreated from the world, trying to "work out their salvati...more
Lots of great wisdom here. Even if you only have a few minutes, put this book by your bed and you can glean so much just from reading a few of these sayings from the Desert Fathers.
John  Owen
super strange and interesting. sometimes you just gotta become a hermit in the desert.
Will Brown
This is an amazing book. The sayings and stories of the Desert Fathers is insightful I'm not even Catholic and I find these stories about so absolutely inspirational even I am amazed. Perhaps modern churches should head backwards instead of always saying they are forward looking. Just sayin eh!
These guys kicked more booty in an hour than you and all your urbane friends could even think about kicking if you ever even got up off the sofa. Smart, dedicated, and tough as nails -- that's what I'm talking about. Smackdown!!! Desert style.
I didn't see it as something where I agreed with the message of every story and saying (some don't agree with each other), but it is a different kind of wisdom than you will get anywhere else in the world.
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Helen [Jane] Waddell was a British scholar, translator and author.
More about Helen Waddell...
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“The truth is that solitude is the creative condition of genius, religious or secular, and the ultimate sterilising of it. No human soul can long ignore "the giant agony of the world" and live, except indeed the mollusc life, a barnacle upon eternity.” 1 likes
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