Life of St. Antony
Ancient Christian Writer's Series
(Also: Saint Anthony)
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Newly Translated and Annotated by Robert P. Meyer, Ph. D.
Newman Press, New York. ____________
Author: Athanasius of Alexandria
Review by J. Miller (Honolulu, Hawaii):
One wonders if the work did not
leave its readers breathless in the 4th century the way it does today, but
given its popularity, I suspect so. The initial shock comes simply
from the true details of the story, that a simple man in his thirties
withdrew from the normal course of urban life to live a radical, mystical
Two Greek philosophers sought him out and witnessed a possession, to which he replied, "Let's see you cast those out with your syllogisms."
Likewise, he received a letter
from the Emperor, which he greeted with equal disinterest (though
less disdain) as Diogenes.
To the modern, post-enlightenment writer you must either reject it as mythical as buy into it as historical. And the immediate consequence is that one wonders what one is missing out on.
No sermon on fasting could make you want to fast more. No seminar on prayer could make you more likely to do it.
Antony's life does today exactly what it did for the early church: inspire a radical alternative that is mysteriously beyond criticism. ______________________________
Comments of The Prayer Foundation: ™
Written by Athanasius of Alexandria, (see also: Athanasian Creed), this is the book that expanded Christian monasticism from a localized Egyptian Christian practice to a worldwide phenomena that would dominate Christian life for more than the next 1,000 years.
Before this book, there were No monks in Europe (not even in Italy). No monks in Ireland. None. Nada.
After this book, well, you know what happened.
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It will be of interest to those desiring to learn more about the historical beginnings of Christian monasticism.
Copyright © 2007 S.G.P. All rights reserved.