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The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works


Publisher writes

Contains The Cloud of Unknowing, The Mystical Theology of Saint Denis, The Book of Privy Counselling, and An Epistle on Prayer. Against a tradition of devotional writings which focussed on knowing God through Christ's Passion and his humanity, these texts describe a transcendent God who exists beyond human knowledge and human language. These four texts are at the heart of medival mystical theology in their call for contemplation, calm, and above all, love, as the way to understand the Divine.

Author Information

Anon, (edited by A. C. Spearing)

The identity of the author of The Cloud of Unknowing is not known, but he was undoubtedly an English priest who lived during the latter half of the 14th century. A. C. Spearing is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. He has published widely on medieval literature and has translated Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love for Penguin Classics.

Judges' and contributors' comments

William Whyte: I was given this book by my uncle at my baptism, at the ripe old age of 21. It was a revelation: a revelation that the English had once been mystics and a revelation that the medieval church was sometimes, somehow more adventurous and open to new experience than the modern one. I’m too noisy and impatient to be properly contemplative. But it is still an important book to me, speaking, as it does, of a God who can be reached by humans through love.

Ronald Blythe: I read (The Cloud of Unknowing and Revelations of Divine Love) over and over again because of their extraordinary language and mystic ‘purpose’.

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