Reading the Church Fathers discussion

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General > Recommendations for our second group read of 2018

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message 1: by Nemo (last edited Mar 21, 2018 01:53PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Mark Twain defined classics as "something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read".

I think an online book group like this one is the best place to read those type of “classics”, because people can pool their mental resources together to help each other get the most out of the book, by getting into it first. However, I can’t think of a Christian “classic” that fits Twain’s definition...

Are there any Christian classics that you want to have read, but never have? Would you like to share a book you’ve read or written on the Church Fathers with this group?

Now is the opportunity to nominate the book for our group discussion.


message 2: by David (new)

David Theresa of Avila - The Interior Castle

Dante’s Inferno

Not really early church...


message 3: by Nemo (last edited Mar 22, 2018 12:24PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments David wrote: "Theresa of Avila - The Interior Castle

Dante’s Inferno
..."


Have you read them? Would you be willing to organize the group discussion?


message 4: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Aha, Dante's Inferno.. yes that is a very powerful read. I have read it, after I had read the book How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History's Greatest Poem.
Later I listened to the great audio course on the Divina Comedia Dante's Divine Comedy, which explained a lot of the background, and made me even more amazed at this most stunning wonderful masterpiece.
I have started reading the Purgatorio, but there are so many other things, that I have not yet come far.
What I did with the Inferno, was just read one canto a day. That was manageable.

I have also listened to an audio version of The interior castle. Actually, I have come halfway, but some things she says were jarring me so much that I found it difficult to continue, although there are many good things in it too.
Perhaps it might work for me if we did that with the group, and someone could provide more background information.


message 5: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Yesterday I had an evening in my Church that ran through the book The Life of Moses by Gregory of Nyssa (I had thought we would study it in more evenings, but apparently I was mistaken, it was just an introduction and some cursory reading of some paragraphs).

Anyway, I think that book would make for a good group read too. The particular version that I bought also has a great introduction which explains a lot that makes it more helpful for me. (For example he explains a bit about the structure, that in those times they always started with a re-telling of the biblical story, with the raw facts a bit smoothed out so that the Greeks wouldn't think it was too barbarian. Now this was most helpful for me, because I was quite irritated with Philo for presenting Moses as such a picture perfect person.)

To come back to the point: this 'The Life of Moses' by Gregory of Nyssa is a great book about spiritual growth, I think, and how we can relate to God, who is invisible, but still wants us to seek him (and we want it too, I think)


message 6: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Ruth wrote: "Aha, Dante's Inferno.. yes that is a very powerful read. I have read it..."

Dante convinced me that Inferno really exists ... We’re in it.


message 7: by David (last edited Mar 23, 2018 10:59AM) (new)

David I would not feel comfortable leading a discussion on Dante.

I plan to begin Theresa in the near future, though I won't read it at a fast pace. I like to read a "spiritual master" as part of my daily readings, just a page or two to chew on throughout the day. I've found this a beneficial practice to learn from the saints who have gone before us. If people wanted to do that, i could create a reading plan that would be quite drawn out...

BTW, I've read Gregory of Nyssa's Life of Moses in the same way and would be into reading it again.


message 8: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Nemo wrote: "Ruth wrote: "Aha, Dante's Inferno.. yes that is a very powerful read. I have read it..."

Dante convinced me that Inferno really exists ... We’re in it."


Yes, agreed! I thought it was most refreshing to read a book where bad things are just called what they are: bad.

However I think all three books depict our current life. Some of us live in hell, but Dante depicts a journey that can lead us out of it. I think by first coming to see the state we're in, and then by being honest and accepting guidance to the right direction, we can actually come to see that heaven is possible now too.


message 9: by Ruth (new)

Ruth David wrote: "I would not feel comfortable leading a discussion on Dante.

I plan to begin Theresa in the near future, though I won't read it at a fast pace. I like to read a "spiritual master" as part of my da..."


Yes, I think this slow type of reading would fit me better as well. It gives one more a chance to actually ponder things and then formulate my ideas to share with the group.
Also because I have the habit of reading all sorts of things simultaenously, but of course only a limited amount of time.

I have also been wondering about the way we interact as a group. It seems to me we all prefer to read at our own pace, some fast, some slow. This makes it difficult to read a book together. But we do all share an interest in the Church Fathers. So perhaps we could better just read whatever we are interested in, and then share what we've found here?

Or do a bit of both, for I do appreciate the book suggestions and group discussions that we have had in the past. It's just that if you want to come along it really takes up a lot of time


message 10: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Ruth wrote: "However I think all three books depict our current life. Some of us live in hell, but Dante depicts a journey that can lead us out of it..."

Yes. Of the three books of Divine Comedy, Inferno is the most read, Paradiso the least. I suspect it is because the Inferno is the most identifiable in our lives. Purgatorio was a little disappointing to me, for I couldn't figure out how Dante got out of it so fast, which made me doubt the whole concept.

Having said that, DC is definitely a great classic.


message 11: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I am also very interested in reading about the trinity, so another suggestion of mine would be 'on the Holy Trinity' by Gregory of Nyssa


message 12: by David (new)

David I think the Cappadocian Fathers are great, some of their stuff also seems very contextual and hard to follow. I've read Gregory of Nyssa's The Great Catechism, and would recommend that, along with The Life of Moses. His other stuff is probably great too. Gregory of Nazianzus' Theological Orations could be good. Then there's Basil the Great's On the Holy Spirit.

We could also move on to the Western Perspective, and read Augustine's On The Trinity.

I've also read Basil's On Social Justice and Gregory's On Wealth and Poverty (I think those were the titles) which are both incredibly challenging and practical.


message 13: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Ruth wrote: " It seems to me we all prefer to read at our own pace, some fast, some slow. This makes it difficult to read a book together. But we do all share an interest in the Church Fathers. So perhaps we could better just read whatever we are interested in, and then share what we've found here? .."

I thin that is OK too. We can both read books together as a group following an agreed upon schedule, or share our individual reads here whenever we have time. In fact, the folder structure for the group was set up to accommodate both types of discussions.

Personally I like to post excepts from the Church Fathers on the group blog, and use Goodreads for Q&A type of discussions.

We (myself included) often have questions about the things we read, and a group forum provides a venue to discuss those questions and get insights that one might never get on his/her own.


message 14: by Nemo (last edited Mar 27, 2018 10:15AM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments I just posted “Reading Schedule and Text” for Gregory’s Life Of Moses. Let me know if that works for you.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 15: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Yes, fine with me, looking forward to this!


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