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The Philokalia is a collection of texts written between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries by spiritual masters of the Orthodox Christian tradition. First published in Greek in 1782, then translated into Slavonic and later into Russian, The Philokalia has exercised an influence in the recent history of the Orthodox Church far greater than that of any book apart from th The Philokalia is a collection of texts written between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries by spiritual masters of the Orthodox Christian tradition. First published in Greek in 1782, then translated into Slavonic and later into Russian, The Philokalia has exercised an influence in the recent history of the Orthodox Church far greater than that of any book apart from the Bible. It is concerned with themes of universal importance: how man may develop his inner powers and awake from illusion; how he may overcome fragmentation and achieve spiritual wholeness; how he may attain the life of contemplative stillness and union with God. Only a selection of texts from The Philokalia has been available hitherto in English. The present rendering, which is a completely new translation, is designed to appear in five volumes. The first of these was published by Faber and Faber in 1979. The second volume consists mainly of writings from the seventh century, in particular by St. Maximus the Confessor, the greater part of which has never before been translated into English. As in the first volume, the editors have provided introductory notes to each of the writers, a glossary of key terms, and a detailed index.


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The Philokalia is a collection of texts written between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries by spiritual masters of the Orthodox Christian tradition. First published in Greek in 1782, then translated into Slavonic and later into Russian, The Philokalia has exercised an influence in the recent history of the Orthodox Church far greater than that of any book apart from th The Philokalia is a collection of texts written between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries by spiritual masters of the Orthodox Christian tradition. First published in Greek in 1782, then translated into Slavonic and later into Russian, The Philokalia has exercised an influence in the recent history of the Orthodox Church far greater than that of any book apart from the Bible. It is concerned with themes of universal importance: how man may develop his inner powers and awake from illusion; how he may overcome fragmentation and achieve spiritual wholeness; how he may attain the life of contemplative stillness and union with God. Only a selection of texts from The Philokalia has been available hitherto in English. The present rendering, which is a completely new translation, is designed to appear in five volumes. The first of these was published by Faber and Faber in 1979. The second volume consists mainly of writings from the seventh century, in particular by St. Maximus the Confessor, the greater part of which has never before been translated into English. As in the first volume, the editors have provided introductory notes to each of the writers, a glossary of key terms, and a detailed index.

57 review for The Philokalia, Volume 2: The Complete Text

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael O'Brien

    Volume 2 of the books of the Philokalia builds upon many of themes written on in Volume 1 as one would expect. For those unfamiliar with the Philokalia, these are the writings of experienced Christian monks (spiritual fathers) to their novices (new monks) seeking to find the ways of becoming closer to God. Not meaning to trivialize, but only to give an impression, but my readings of the Philokalia in some ways reminded me of a Jedi Master giving instruction to his young apprentice in becoming st Volume 2 of the books of the Philokalia builds upon many of themes written on in Volume 1 as one would expect. For those unfamiliar with the Philokalia, these are the writings of experienced Christian monks (spiritual fathers) to their novices (new monks) seeking to find the ways of becoming closer to God. Not meaning to trivialize, but only to give an impression, but my readings of the Philokalia in some ways reminded me of a Jedi Master giving instruction to his young apprentice in becoming stronger in the light side of the force. It's just an analogy that only slightly illustrative. Because instead of giving instruction in how to find strength in an impersonal, uncaring entity like the "Force", in the Philokalia, this is a case of Christian masters giving instruction to learners on the means by which to become closer to a being --- an all powerful, omniscient loving one --- God --- eventually reaching that highest level of abnegation where one's will is so bound to Him that His will governs totally their life, motivations, appetites, and desires in every way. The emphasis in this volume with many of the Orthodox fathers is on humility --- being willing not to think highly of oneself, not to seek to promote oneself, being to willing to accept the correction or criticism from others -- even when these may seem unjustified or unfair. Another emphasis in this volume is on prayer. Prayer to many of us seems a simple thing, but I think that, for much of my Christian walk, what I considered "prayer" was really giving God wish lists of what I wanted or desired --- many of which were for good things or that would have done good for those I prayed for. It's not a bad thing, but Volume 2's writers call for taking this to a higher level --- from treating God like Genie in Aladdin or like Santa Claus --- and, instead, to giving honor and worship to Him before presenting him with petitions -- to such an extent that a relationship with Him is built and that prayer becomes a means of purifying one's thoughts and desires into ones focused on what He wants to do, not what we want to do. Another emphasis is upon fasting ---- the restraint of normal appetites such as for food or certain beverages. This runs contrary to what I'd been taught in my earlier years in Christianity and also to what modern Western culture teaches. If you have itch, scratch it --- if you want it, get it --- if it makes you feel good, do it. But in this Volume, the authors would not agree ---- they contend that one cannot get to the point of closeness to God when one's own urges, lusts, vain thoughts, and filling of fickle appetites crowd out God. So fasting is a tool in their box by which one, by denying an appetite for certain foods, can use this as well to strengthen the intellect to deny other ones as well. And, by creating this vacuum, one can then fill it with more spiritually beneficial things ---- like prayer, study, meditation, praise for God. That is not to say that these things are easy by any means, and, unlike so much of what I see in contemporary Christianity and TV evangelists, the authors of Volume 2 never contend that their teachings are easy. But they do show that, by getting one out of the spiritual rut, they are worthwhile towards, by degrees and over time, bringing one to a closer and closer relationship with God. Of the authors in Volume, I especially liked the writings of St. Neilos the Ascetic and St Theodore of Edessa. I appreciated their pointed and concise writing style that seemed most efficacious at getting through my thick skull. I very much enjoyed this volume of the Philokalia and found it a valuable use of my time and study. I recommend this book for any Christian desiring to take their faith in a fresh direction and desiring teaching on how to reinvigorate their Christian journey.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    In my opinion, this book is more difficult to handle than the first volume of the Philokalia, because it is mostly comprised of the writings from St. Maximos the Confessor, who, I have to admit, is a bit of a mind-bender, probably because he is from a scholarly background. It becomes even more important here to keep in touch with the glossary provided with the text. Some understanding of Plato is helpful, since he is clearly influenced by Neo-Platonic thought. What I like most about his work was In my opinion, this book is more difficult to handle than the first volume of the Philokalia, because it is mostly comprised of the writings from St. Maximos the Confessor, who, I have to admit, is a bit of a mind-bender, probably because he is from a scholarly background. It becomes even more important here to keep in touch with the glossary provided with the text. Some understanding of Plato is helpful, since he is clearly influenced by Neo-Platonic thought. What I like most about his work was probably his explanation of how to approach text, specifically the Scriptures. Too often we get entangled in the literal meaning of the scriptures when there is so much more to be had. Also St. John of Damaskos has a brief homily in this volume that does an excellent job of summarizing most of what I've read thus far. So if you're looking for the cliff notes, check out St. John of Damaskos.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    I've read through the entire Philokalia (in English), 3 times. I always derive benefit from it, yet I do think the criticisms of the book by Christos Yannaras in his book, AGAINST RELIGION, are valid. He is one of the few Orthodox I know who offers any kind of critical review of the book. It represents a particular tradition within monasticism, but in the modern world, in modern Orthodoxy it is read as if it is inerrant scripture or the only possible way of understanding spirituality or the mona I've read through the entire Philokalia (in English), 3 times. I always derive benefit from it, yet I do think the criticisms of the book by Christos Yannaras in his book, AGAINST RELIGION, are valid. He is one of the few Orthodox I know who offers any kind of critical review of the book. It represents a particular tradition within monasticism, but in the modern world, in modern Orthodoxy it is read as if it is inerrant scripture or the only possible way of understanding spirituality or the monastic life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    When reading, just remember that this was written by monastics for monastics.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amos Smith

    The Philokalia is EXTRAORDINARY! Now, I will make an unusual assertion for a Western Christian… The Philokalia of the Eastern Church, compiled by Nicodimos and Makarios, is the most comprehensive, thorough, and integrated legacy of Christian mystical writings available today (East or West). If we can make sense of these writings we can plumb the depths of Christian Mysticism. The English translation of The Philokalia published by Faber & Faber comes in four volumes (about 1,500 pages), so I think The Philokalia is EXTRAORDINARY! Now, I will make an unusual assertion for a Western Christian… The Philokalia of the Eastern Church, compiled by Nicodimos and Makarios, is the most comprehensive, thorough, and integrated legacy of Christian mystical writings available today (East or West). If we can make sense of these writings we can plumb the depths of Christian Mysticism. The English translation of The Philokalia published by Faber & Faber comes in four volumes (about 1,500 pages), so I think it’s important to identify key authors within the text, most noted for their mystical insights and clarity. For me the key Philokalia authors are Evagrius the Solitary, Hesychios The Priest, Didachos of Photiki (Volume 1)/ Maximos The Confessor (Volume 2)/ Peter of Damaskos, Makarios of Egypt (Volume 3)/ Nikitas Stithatos, Gregory of Sinai, and Gregory Palamas (Volume 4). (An aside here… I wish The Philokalia was available during the time of Thomas Merton. He would have devoured it, relished it, and publicized it in the West!) There are many other root texts of Christian Mysticism, but in my estimation and the estimation of my organization, RCMR (Recover Christianity's Mystic Roots), these noted Philokalia writers are the place to start for a thorough and cohesive overview of texts of Christian Mysticism. For the student of Christian Mysticism who has gotten an introductory taste, the Philokalia writers noted above will provide a wonderful foundation for an integrated study of Christian Mysticism. -Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity's Mystic Roots)

  6. 5 out of 5

    J.

    This book is dense and yet very helpful, the concepts are more esoteric and mystical then most spiritual texts but it is certainly recommended for those who are students of Ancient Philosophy to view it. Taking writings from the Mystic Saints of the Eastern Half of the Church one gets a better appreciation for the Mystical Theology of Christianity and serves a very illuminating purpose of giving a fuller picture of what a Christian is called to experience and become.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Yanni

    The timeless writings of the other-worldly Orthodox Church Fathers on all things. Many speak on similar themes, so there is some repitition. It's powerful stuff - and must be aproached with strict obedience within the Sacramental life of The Church. The timeless writings of the other-worldly Orthodox Church Fathers on all things. Many speak on similar themes, so there is some repitition. It's powerful stuff - and must be aproached with strict obedience within the Sacramental life of The Church.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eli Kittim

    These writings illustrate the mystical practices of early Christian saints that certainly invite comparison with eastern forms of meditation.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    not really finished lol

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    The Philokalia is the masterwork texts of Eastern Orthodox Spirituality and should be read within the context of a monastic life and the church as whole.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul H.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Vasilis

  14. 4 out of 5

    David

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Mitchell

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike Mullen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Makram Mikhail

  18. 5 out of 5

    Γεννάδιος Γεννάδιος

  19. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Nunez San Roman

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marie Moffitt

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Boyette Smith

  22. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  23. 4 out of 5

    Egen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Father Spyridon

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karri

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Donald

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nicolas Leon

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ambrose Miles

  29. 4 out of 5

    James Beltz

  30. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Oden

  31. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  32. 5 out of 5

    Paul H.

  33. 5 out of 5

    John and Rachel Ellis

  34. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  35. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  36. 4 out of 5

    Paula Huston

  37. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  38. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  39. 4 out of 5

    Casey Knott

  40. 5 out of 5

    J.

  41. 5 out of 5

    Theophila

  42. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Robertson

  43. 4 out of 5

    Gilbert

  44. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel

  45. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  46. 5 out of 5

    Shannonpresler

  47. 4 out of 5

    JD

  48. 5 out of 5

    Padraic

  49. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Drewry

  50. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Mitchell

  51. 5 out of 5

    James

  52. 4 out of 5

    Jhalcomb

  53. 5 out of 5

    Mark Buckley

  54. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

  55. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Wasielewski

  56. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  57. 4 out of 5

    Ireallyamrambo

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