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The Cloud of Unknowing (1957)

by author of the cloud of unknowing

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Classics of Western Spirituality

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1,08167,716 (4.04)32
Recently added bysilver55, KristRuth, dasam, UUCFLibrary, Desertcore, kmzaytoon, michaelrpalmer, private library
Legacy LibrariesGillian Rose, Anthony Burgess

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» See also 32 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
It feels like cheating reading this book in contemporary English when it is not a work in translation. But the older edition was opaque to me and this was easier to rap my head around. This is a simple and influential description of mysticism from thirteenth Century England. It is anonymous. The author is orthodox but his Bible reading is a little shoddy in places. His understanding of mysticism and contemplation is more significant (he was likely a monk).

I liked the humble and practical tone of this book. Some helpful stuff on managing distractions in prayer. I also found a more positive place for scripture and Jesus than I thought it would have before reading it. Of course there is a cloud of unknowing, and a neo-platonic cloud of forgetfulness which necessitates our pressing past the world of sense to a pristine encounter with the God that is beyond description, but the author also commends dwelling on the words and life of Jesus and the Bible's description of God as love. That being said, this is not my favorite treatment of mysticism. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
This is a spiritual experience for people completely devoted to Christ.
  lschmitt | Aug 8, 2011 |
The Cloud of Unknowing is for three types of people: those whose prayer life is lacking, those whose humility is lacking, and those who need both. As I am in the third group, these words were a scalpel painfully cutting into my soul to return my life to God’s original purpose. Surprisingly accessible, this book can be not only recommended to Christian laity, a non-Christian who wants to explore traditional spirituality would find this a welcome manual as the monk’s tone and vocabulary are plain—exactly what one would expect from a soul dedicated to finding God’s love through humbling himself. The sovereignty and love of God are front and center, betraying the Protestant view that pre-Reformation Christianity was focused on meaningless rituals and lost a focus on God’s love—love is front and center here. To the reformers’ point, however, priesthood of all believers is not on the radar as Christians are sharply divided into active and contemplative vocations, one clearly seen as superior to the other.
(Note: I read Bernard Bangley's 2006 modernization) ( )
1 vote ebnelson | May 19, 2010 |
The Cloud of Unknowing 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 and the esoteric techniques and meanings of late medieval monasticism.

The book counsels a young student not to seek God through knowledge but through what the author speaks of as a "naked intent" and a "blind love." This is brought about by putting all thoughts except the love of God, under a "cloud of forgetting" and thereby piercing God's cloud of unknowing, with a "dart of longing love" from the heart. This form of contemplation is not directed by the intellect, but involves spiritual union with God through the heart.
1 vote saraswati_library_mm | Mar 15, 2010 |
The Cloud of Unknowing 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 and the esoteric techniques and meanings of late medieval monasticism.

The book counsels a young student not to seek God through knowledge but through what the author speaks of as a "naked intent" and a "blind love." This is brought about by putting all thoughts except the love of God, under a "cloud of forgetting" and thereby piercing God's cloud of unknowing, with a "dart of longing love" from the heart. This form of contemplation is not directed by the intellect, but involves spiritual union with God through the heart.
1 vote Saraswati_Library | Feb 11, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
author of the cloud of unknowingAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brinton, Howard H.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Underhill, EvelynEditor & Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walsh, JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolters, CliftonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is a book of contemplation called THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING in which a soul is united with God.
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SPIRITUAL FRIEND IN GOD, understand well that I find by general observation four degrees and forms of Christian living.
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This is the single and unabridged work The cloud of unknowing. Please do not combine with abridgments or editions that include other works.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809123320, Paperback)

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 its rediscovery more than a 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".

In his preface to this volume, Simon Tugwell sums up the challenge that the author of The Cloud presents us today: "If we wish to follow him, we must be prepared to be taxed to the limit. But if we have the courage and the ability to follow him, we shall not find that our efforts has been in vain."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:52 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Modern rendering of a fourteenth-century classic work of Christian mysticism which describes a soul's spiritual reunion with God.

» see all 5 descriptions

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