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The Book of the Elders: Sayings of the Desert Fathers; The Systematic Collection

Translated by John Wortley
Foreword by Bernard Flusin

Number Two Hundred Forty of Cistercian Studies Series

“The Sayings of the Fathers is first and foremost an ascetic work assembled by monks primarily for their own use. It brings together the sayings of ‘the fathers,’ meaning the great monks (the ‘elders’) who were responsible for training disciples living in the semianchoretic communities of Egypt in the fourth and fifth centuries of this era. So these very short texts, presented in large collections, are firmly rooted in a very precise milieu, and they ought to be read in the way they were originally intended to be received: each one as the charismatic utterance of a spiritual father, addressed to his familiar disciples or, on occasion, to visitors who came asking for a saying that would help them in their quest for salvation. This is why the apophthegms make such an impression on us. The reader is directly confronted by the person of Antony or of Poemen with nobody in between, and the elder speaks to him as to a disciple, guiding him along the steep and narrow path of asceticism. And yet this is not the teaching of only one father or mother: numerous monks speak with many voices. The editors of the collection gathered up what they could find of the sayings of the fathers and mothers of old time and in this way tried to show that while in one way the elders proclaimed a single message, each person could doubtless find what was appropriate (even intended) for him in the diversity of the advice that was given.”


   Bernard Flusin
List of Abbreviations
The Book of the Elders
Index of Personal Names

Item Number: BKLP113C
Publication Data: Trappist, KY/Collegeville, MN: Cistercian Publications/Liturgical Press, 2012
Format: hardcover
Number of Pages: xxx + 386
Dimensions (l × w × h): 22.3 cm × 14.7 cm × 2.8 cm
Additional Information: dust jacket
ISBN: 978‒0‒87907‒201‒8

$52.95 (USD)


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