Traditions of Christian Spirituality

The Orbis Traditions of Christian Spirituality Series
Edited by Philip Sheldrake, this series, published in cooperation with DLT, London, makes the riches of some of some of the world’s greatest spiritual traditions available to a contemporary public. Each title introduces key themes and values of one of Christianity’s major traditions, and draws out their relevance for the modern reader and seeker.
With the widespread hunger for spirituality in all its forms Traditions of Christian Spirituality helps people become aware of the great spiritual riches available over two millennia of Christian history, both East and West.
The following are some of the volumes in the series:
Fountain of Elijah
Wilfrid McGreal “At the Fountain of Elijah: The Carmelite Tradition” (Traditions of Christian Spirituality) [Orbis Books, 1999]
This popular introduction emphasizes the creative tension between solitude and contemplation and the call to be open to contemporary circumstances. McGreal shows how the figures of Elijah and Mary represent the symbolic poles in Carmelite spirituality, reflected in the witness of its best-known representatives, including Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Edith Stein (St Benedicta of the Cross).
Contemplation and compassion
Steven Chase “Contemplation and Compassion: The Victorine Tradition” (Traditions of Christian Spirituality) [Orbis Books, 2003]
Victorine spirituality, which emerged from the Abbey of St. Victor in Paris, was one of the most creative, exciting, and productive traditions of the Middle Ages. With emphasis on contemplative prayer, the presence of God in all things, and loving compassion toward one’s neighbors, the Victorine tradition has many parallels with present-day spirituality and holds promise for enriching and energizing contemporary spiritual formation.
Journey on the edges
Thomas O’Loughlin “Journeys on the Edges: The Celtic Tradition” (Traditions of Christian Spirituality) [Orbis Books, 2000]
This fresh and original introduction to Celtic spirituality begins by questioning the very notion of a distinctively “Celtic” tradition. Brilliantly re-examining the original sources, O’Loughlin argues that there is one over-arching theme that gives the Celtic approaches unity–the idea of being “on the edge,” both culturally and geographically.
Prayer and community
Columba Stewart, O.S.B. “Prayer and Community: The Benedictine Tradition” (Traditions of Christian Spirituality) [Orbis Books, 1998]
This exploration of Benedictine spirituality provides the perfect introduction to St Benedict and his Rule. The book places Benedict and his Rule within the extraordinary world of early Christian monasticism and explores his key insights about awareness of the presence of God and meeting Christ in other people.
Poetic imagination
L. William Countryman “The Poetic Imagination: An Anglican Spiritual Tradition” (Traditions of Christian Spirituality) [Orbis Books, 2000]
Anglicanism, as Countryman argues, is unusual among forms of Western Christianity in being defined primarily in terms of community rather than by authoritative theological principles. In the end, Anglicanism may be characterized by a poetic imagination well reflected in the work of many of the great lyric poets of the English language.
God's lovers
Joan M Nuth “God’s Lovers in An Age of Anxiety. The Medieval English Mystics” (Traditions Of Christian Spirituality Series) [Orbis Books, 2001]
This book examines the extraordinary flowering of the English spirituality in the fourteenth and early fifteen centuries, and shows its continuing power to nourish contemporary life and prayer. Though each the writers discussed in this book each has a unique voice they share a common experience of living in an age of fear, violence and disintegration, and their work has a strange resonance for us.
Brides in the Desert
Saskia Murk-jansen “Brides in the Desert. The Spirituality of the Beguines” (Traditions Of Christian Spirituality Series) [Orbis Books, 2004]
The voices of the Beguines, women who sought to make sense of their experience of God in a world where suffering was commonplace, can be difficult to hear. By placing them in their historical, literary and theological context this book introduces the reader to some of the most challenging religious texts of the middle ages. The four women discussed in this book between them span the thirteenth century, a period which was the time of greatest flowering of Beguine mystic literature. Introduces four women Hadewych, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete and Beatrijs of Nazareth who between them span the thirteenth century.
Standing in God's Holy Fire
“Standing in God’s Holy Fire: The Byzantine Tradition” (Traditions of Christian Spirituality) [Orbis Books, 2001]
The orthodox Byzantine tradition is still often undervalued and misunderstood in the Western churches. This books gives a vivid introduction to the leading figures, key themes and values of this living and ancient form of Christian spirituality. At the centre of the Byzantine experience are ideas which western Christians share, and from which they still have much to learn: beauty, endurance, and hopefulness.
Light through darkness
John Chryssavgis “Light Through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition” (Traditions of Christian Spirituality) [Orbis Books, 2004]
Orthodoxy is often identified with beautiful icons, elaborate liturgy, perfection as deification, and the vision of God as light. But there is a deeper side in which martyrdom is embraced. The spirituality of the Christian East is often identified with beautiful icons, elaborate liturgy, a way of perfection as deification, and the vision of God as light. But martyrdom is part and parcel of the Orthodox way, and its spirituality is profoundly marked by the reality of pain and division. This fascinating study finds a deeper insight at the heart of the Orthodox tradition: the idea of brokenness and darkness as the only way to healing and light, the idea of imperfection as the only way to salvation.
Poverty and Joy
William J. Short “Poverty and Joy: The Franciscan Tradition” (Traditions of Christian Spirituality) [Orbis Books, 1999]
The Franciscan tradition is as appealing a way of life today as it has been for centuries. William Short focuses first on the importance of the order’s founders, Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi, offering an historical introduction. He then reflects on key themes: the Incarnation, poverty as a way to God, suffering and healing, and creation–humanity and nature in harmony. He introduces as well key figures in the Order: Bonaventure Angela of Foligno, and John Duns Scotus, who have helped shape the Franciscan vision and brought it to life through the ages.

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