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The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys
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The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Scholars of the patristic era have paid more attention to the dogmatic tradition in their period than to the development of Christian mystical theology. Andrew Louth aims to redress the balance. Recognizing that the intellectual form of this tradition was decisively influenced by Platonic ideas of the soul's relationship to God, Louth begins with an examination of Plato an ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1983)
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Zachary Kostopoulos
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Throughout the book, Louth does a careful job of situating early Christian mystical thought in its Platonic origins (especially Middle-Platonic), and he helpfully demonstrates both where it aligns with this tradition as well as departs from it. His chapters on the Platonic "beginnings" of mystical thought are devoted to Plato, Philo, and Plotinus before moving on to chapters concerned with Christian thinkers such as Origen, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, various Monastic contributors, as well as ...more
Ephrem Arcement
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnificent! Very clear developmental study of the contemplative tradition leading into the Christian movement and through its early centuries with excellent and very relevant chapters on the tradition's relationship to St. John of the Cross and the question of its validity. This is the best book of its kind!
Matthew
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a fine piece of introduction and analysis of what may, rather then 'mystical', more precisely be considered the contemplative strand of Christianity as it took on and then adapted (or at times rejected) the Platonic inheritance. The 2006 edition is definitely to be preferred, for in this edition Louth closes with a very challenging Afterword wherein he confronts the very concept of mysticism. We all think we know what the word means, but probably we don't.

After chapters on Plato, Ph
...more
Sarah
The early chapters on Platonism were helpful (and throughout, he does a good job of showing where the Christian tradition departs--often sharply!--from inherited Platonist ideas). The 2006 epilogue is worth a careful read as well.
Jeremy
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Excellent book illustrating the origins of the main lines of patristic mystical theology and its relationship with Platonism. Like all good books it has added to my "to-read" list.
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