This anonymous fourteenth-century text is the glory of English mysticism, and one of the most practical and useful guides to finding union with God ever written. Carmen Acevedo Butcher’s new translation is the first to bring the text into a modern English idiom—while remaining strictly faithful to the meaning of the original Middle English. The Cloud of Unknowing consists of a series of letters written by a monk to his student or disciple, instructing him (or her) in the way of Divine union. Its theology is presented in a way that is remarkably easy to understand, as well as practical, providing advice on prayer and contemplation that anyone can use. Previous translations of the Cloud have tended to veil its intimate, even friendly tone under medieval-sounding language. Carmen Butcher has boldly brought the text into language as appealing to modern ears as it was to its original readers more than five hundred years ago. Also included in the volume is the companion work attributed to the same anonymous author, The Book of Privy Counsel, which contains further advice for approaching God in a way that emphasizes real experience rather than human knowledge. To learn more about the author, visit her website: carmenbutcher.com
Release on 2004-08-31 | by HarperCollins Spiritual Classics
Author: HarperCollins Spiritual Classics
Pubpsher: Harper Collins
Written by an anonymous English monk during the late fourteenth century, The Cloud of Unknowing is a sublime expression of what separates God from humanity and is widely regarded as a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality. A work of simplicity, courage, and lucidity, it is a contemplative classic on the deep mysteries of faith. "Lift up your heart to God with a humble impulse of love and have himself as your aim, not any of his goods ... Set yourself to rest in this darkness, always crying out after him whom you love. For if you are to experience him or to see him at all, insofar as it is possible here, it must always be in this cloud and in this darkness." –– The Cloud of Unknowing
Written by an anonymous English monk during the late fourteenth century, 'The Cloud of Unknowing' holds an important place in the history of both Western literature and spirituality. Though originally intended for a select audience, the work's simple, engaging style has won it widespread popularity since it rediscovery more than century ago. 'The Cloud' puts forth a method of contemplation that stresses the impotence of the understanding to break through the cloud of unknowing that separates God and humanity. Rather, 'it is love alone that can reach God in this life.'
The Cloud of Unknowing was the work of an unknown 14th-century English writer with a powerful message of God's unconditional love in the face of despair. Johnston's theological treatment of this and other works by the same writer makes a conscious comparison with Oriental ways of contemplation.
THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING and THE BOOK OF PRIVY COUNSELING are the first explorations in the English language of the soul’s quest for God. Written in Middle English by an unknown fourteenth-century mystic, THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING expresses with beauty a message that has inspired such great religious thinkers as St. John of the Cross and Teilhard de Chardin, as well as countless others in search of God. Offering a practical guide to the life of contemplation, the author explains that ordinary thoughts and earthly concepts must be buried beneath a “cloud of forgetting,” while our love must rise toward a God hidden in the “cloud of unknowing.” THE BOOK OF PRIVY COUNSELING, also included in this volume, is a short and moving text on the way to enlightenment through a total loss of self and a consciousness only of the divine. William Johnston, an authority on fourteenth-century mysticism and spirituality, provides an accessible discussion of the works, detailing what is known about the history of the texts and their author. In a new foreword, Huston Smith draws on his extensive knowledge of the varieties of religious experience to illuminate the relevance of these works for contemporary readers.
A New Translation of the Classic 14th-Century Guide to the Spiritual Experience
Author: Ira Progoff
Pubpsher: BoD – Books on Demand
In fourteenth-century England an anonymous monk wrote an extraordinary text illuminating the life of contemplative devotion and the drama of the soul’s union with God. Precariously heretical in its day, it became a classic of Christian mystical thought. Dr. Ira Progoff’s brilliant new translation and commentary illustrate The Cloud of Unknowing’s ongoing relevance. Dr. Progoff reveals a bridge spanning the perilous abyss between modern psychology’s self-conscious analytic thought and the pressing spiritual needs of modern man. Praise for Ira Progoff’s The Cloud of Unknowing “One of the classic guides to spiritual experience revealing the dynamics of the inner life.”—The Washington Post “[Dr. Progoff’s] translation makes a psychological genius come alive.”—Harry A. Overstreet “Astonishingly modern and timely . . . This fourteenth-century mystic speaks to us with a message that is as vital today as it was then.”—New York Post “Translated from archaic to modern English with lucidity and fine comprehension . . . a delightful surprise.”—The Dayton Journal Herald
This is the extended and annotated edition including * an extensive annotation about Monasticism and its meaning for the book that follows * an interactive table-of-contents * perfect formatting for electronic reading devices The Cloud of Unknowing (Middle English: The Cloude of Unknowyng) is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century. The text is a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer in the late Middle Ages.The Cloud of Unknowing draws on the mystical tradition of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Christian Neoplatonism, which focuses on the via negativa road to discovering God as a pure entity, beyond any capacity of mental conception and so without any definitive image or form. This tradition has reputedly inspired generations of mystical searchers from John Scotus Erigena, through Book of Taliesin, Nicholas of Cusa and St. John of the Cross to Teilhard de Chardin (the latter two of whom may have been influenced by "The Cloud" itself). Prior to this, the theme of "Cloud" had been in the Confessions of St. Augustine (IX, 10) written in AD 398. (courtesy of wikipedia.com)