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The Cloud of Unknowing (1957)

by Anonymous

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,4371210,761 (3.91)39
Widely considered a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality,The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous English monk's sublime expression of what separates God from humanity. Originally written in the 14thcentury, now part of the HarperCollins Spiritual classics series, this beautiful contemplative resource, has been embraced for hundreds of years for its simple, engaging style and spiritual truths. As the unknown author assures us, "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." --The Cloud of Unknowing.… (more)
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» See also 39 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Tr. into modern English & intr. by Clifton Wolters
  TorontoOratorySPN | Sep 2, 2022 |
The latter half of the fourteenth century was a turbulent period; The Great Plague had just swept through England, decimating the population; the 100 Year War with France was drawing to its bitter end: social unrest was endemic; the Church was further and further divorced from its people. Against this background The Cloud of Unknowing was written. It’s a powerful message of God’s unconditional love in the face of despair is as relevant today as it was 500years ago ( )
  ExeterQuakers | Jul 27, 2020 |
Reprinted 1978. See title card for other editions
  PAFM | Oct 19, 2019 |
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.
1 vote WandsworthFriends | Jun 13, 2018 |
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. ( )
4 vote Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymousprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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Widely considered a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality,The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous English monk's sublime expression of what separates God from humanity. Originally written in the 14thcentury, now part of the HarperCollins Spiritual classics series, this beautiful contemplative resource, has been embraced for hundreds of years for its simple, engaging style and spiritual truths. As the unknown author assures us, "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." --The Cloud of Unknowing.

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