A Silent Action Paperback

The comtemplative path to truth through engagements with Thomas Merton

by Rowan Williams;


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Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams takes a closer look at the works of writer Thomas Merton

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A Silent Action

Full Product Description

“Thomas Merton’s life, especially once he had become a monk, was to a great extent one of dialogue with people who were either distant or dead.” So says Archbishop Rowan Williams on the publication of this collection of essays on Thomas Merton.

In this book, Rowan Williams looks closely at two such relationships in Merton’s life—first with the Orthodox theologian, Paul Evdokimov, and then with Karl Barth, the Reformed theologian who, by a surprising providence, died on the same day as Merton. Rowan also takes note of the impact on Merton’s thought of books by Hannah Arendt, Dostoevsky, Vladimir Lossky, Olivier Clément, Bonhoeffer, Boris Pasternak, and St. John of the Cross.

In these essays Rowan shows us how Merton regarded Christian life without a contemplative dimension as incomplete insisting that the contemplative life is not only for those living in monasteries but for anyone who seeks an interior monasticism. Contemplative prayer, he reveals, is the vocation of every believer.

One of many points of agreement for Merton and Rowan is their Orwell-like awareness of the abuse of language; such as where war is described and justified in words that mask its actual purpose, cloaking its actual cost in human agony. The problem extends to religious words as well - ways of speaking about God that hide rather than reveal.

There is much in common between these two men who never met face to face. But what stands out in the dialogue is their conviction of God as the ground of their being and their commitment to the contemplative journey away from the false self, or what Thomas Merton refers to as the 'delusory self image', and toward the real self.

A Silent Action by Rowan Williams was published by SPCK in April 2013 and is our 40919th best seller. The ISBN for A Silent Action is 9780281070565.

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Publisher's Description

Thomas Merton's life, especially once he had become a writer, was to a great extent one of dialogue with people who were distant, both geographically and historically. In these probing and perceptive studies, Rowan Williams looks closely at the key intellectual and spiritual relationships that emerge in Merton's writings, exploring the impact on him of thinkers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Karl Barth, William Blake, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Olivier Clement, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Paul Evdokimov, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Vladimir Lossky, John Henry Newman, Boris Pasternak and St John of the Cross.

Endorsements

"In this insightful and challenging collection of essays Rowan Williams turns the powerful searchlight of his remarkable intellect on one of the leading Christian writers of the twentieth century uncovering Merton’s seemingly endless insight into the human condition and our relationship with God and with one another. This little volume is a clarion call to readers to rediscover the breathtaking wisdom of Thomas Merton and his timely relevance for our own century." - Paul M. Pearson - Director and Archivist, Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University.

"It is a pity Thomas Merton and Rowan Williams never met. Their age difference was the obstacle. What a friendship it would have been. One sees the reality of such a friendship in this slim volume that brings together Rowan Williams' explorations of Merton's writings. Merton would have been delighted to have found himself so carefully and perceptively read." - Jim Forest, Author of “Living With Wisdom: A Biography of Thomas Merton”

"What a delight to have gathered here all the various extant essays on Thomas Merton by Archbishop Rowan Williams, most of which appeared in English journals. Students of Merton will find insightful commentaries on the writings of the youthful as well as the m ore mature American Cistercian author, tracing the influences of Blake, Hopkins and Newman, as well as the Russian Orthodox mystics." - Br. Patrick Hart, a monk of Gethsemani Abbey.

Specifications

Details for A Silent Action

Page last updated 12th July 2016
Author / Artist
Book FormatPaperback
PublisherSPCK (April 2013)
Weight158g
Number of Pages112
Thickness7 mm
Height234 mm
Width156 mm
ISBN9780281070565
ISBN-100281070563
Product Code4071982
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