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I've often wondered if this book is considered orthodox, or if it was in the list of prohibited books. I've read up to Chapter 14 and so far haven't come across anything that screams at me the way Novus Ordo liturgy does. But because of the anonymity of the author, it does have me worried slightly. I have not read past Ch. 14 because of this. 

Any thoughts?

Pax.

PS. I really do seem to enjoy picking the forum's brain quite a bit. ^_^
Well, Father Hardon was pretty orthodox, and he seemed to like it. From Fr Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary.


Quote:CLOUD OF UNKNOWING. A famous treatise on mystical prayer, variously attributed to Walter Hilton (d. 1396) an English mystic, to an unknown contemplative monk and to the Carthusians. Its theme is that God cannot be known by reason and that there is a cloud of unknowing in the affections. Contemplative prayer is said to be not in the intellectual but in the volitional and affective part of man and therefore necessarily contains an element of ignorance. As the author explains, the work is not meant for beginners but for those already advanced in the spiritual life.


I personally wouldn't read it because I'm certainly not 'already advanced in the spiritual life'. :)
The book is entirely orthodox and I've never heard of a serious Catholic theologian condemning it. That said, it is a book intended for those of us who are very advanced in the spiritual life. As Jovan suggests, it probably is of little use for most Catholics out there (myself included.) Because the book deals with the themes of man's finite reason in relation to the infinite being of God it tends to get very abstract quickly and is difficult to follow. This is compounded by the fact that the author is clearly writing more from a base of personal lived experience as opposed to academic theological understanding. So again, if a person hasn't lived the life of deep prayer like the anonymous author it's very difficult to grasp what is being said.
(10-06-2018, 08:37 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]Well, Father Hardon was pretty orthodox, and he seemed to like it. From Fr Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary.


Quote:CLOUD OF UNKNOWING. A famous treatise on mystical prayer, variously attributed to Walter Hilton (d. 1396) an English mystic, to an unknown contemplative monk and to the Carthusians. Its theme is that God cannot be known by reason and that there is a cloud of unknowing in the affections. Contemplative prayer is said to be not in the intellectual but in the volitional and affective part of man and therefore necessarily contains an element of ignorance. As the author explains, the work is not meant for beginners but for those already advanced in the spiritual life.


I personally wouldn't read it because I'm certainly not 'already advanced in the spiritual life'. :)

I trust Fr John Hardon (the last good Jesuit, IMO) opinion, because he was very harsh on the "Centering Prayer" and Thomas Merton.
Nothing wrong with anonymous authors, this was very common long ago, Christians often remained anonymous out of humility.
Pretty interesting on histories perspective. One persons religious ramblings to another is considered " higher reading " or " advanced in spiritual life " either of which is utter nonsense. I am sure this mysterious author , what he went through meant something to him. Now if it was meant to be published reading, the author might of considered writing to share the faith with everyone at every " level ".


But there is no such thing as " advanced spiritual life " what there is, different personal relationships with God/ The Trinity / Jesus. Even a person with what ever little understanding one has about religion / faith/ Catholicism. God... has a better grasp at " spiritual life " than one who flat out rejects God altogether.

Some books are easier to comprehend than others based on the language it is written, and to whom the book was written for. But ramblings written by mystery people,I tend to ignore, especially when they start entering the realm of being for the " elite spiritual reader ".

Not trying to take away from those who may connect with such things, it is just the labeling and putting faith into this pseudo category of levels that can only be obtained through a higher intellect, i find off putting. If not misleading and wrong.

again, i am not looking for a conversation, so i wont return, but have fun with this.
(10-06-2018, 08:37 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]Well, Father Hardon was pretty orthodox, and he seemed to like it. From Fr Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary.


Quote:CLOUD OF UNKNOWING. A famous treatise on mystical prayer, variously attributed to Walter Hilton (d. 1396) an English mystic, to an unknown contemplative monk and to the Carthusians. Its theme is that God cannot be known by reason and that there is a cloud of unknowing in the affections. Contemplative prayer is said to be not in the intellectual but in the volitional and affective part of man and therefore necessarily contains an element of ignorance. As the author explains, the work is not meant for beginners but for those already advanced in the spiritual life.


I personally wouldn't read it because I'm certainly not 'already advanced in the spiritual life'. :)

"Its theme is that God cannot be known by reason," but the First Vatican Council defines:

1. If anyone says that the one, true God, our creator and lord, cannot be known with certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema.

Is the distinction here between speculative knowledge and affective knowledge?
(10-10-2018, 10:05 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-06-2018, 08:37 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]Well, Father Hardon was pretty orthodox, and he seemed to like it. From Fr Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary.


Quote:CLOUD OF UNKNOWING. A famous treatise on mystical prayer, variously attributed to Walter Hilton (d. 1396) an English mystic, to an unknown contemplative monk and to the Carthusians. Its theme is that God cannot be known by reason and that there is a cloud of unknowing in the affections. Contemplative prayer is said to be not in the intellectual but in the volitional and affective part of man and therefore necessarily contains an element of ignorance. As the author explains, the work is not meant for beginners but for those already advanced in the spiritual life.


I personally wouldn't read it because I'm certainly not 'already advanced in the spiritual life'. :)

"Its theme is that God cannot be known by reason," but the First Vatican Council defines:

1. If anyone says that the one, true God, our creator and lord, cannot be known with certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema.

Is the distinction here between speculative knowledge and affective knowledge?

I think Vatican I and The Cloud of Unknowing are talking about very different things. There is certainly a sense in which God cannot be known by reason, he is by nature incomprehensible, but that doesn't mean we don't know anything at all. The fact that there is one eternal, perfect God through which all creation is made is something that can be grasped by reason, but even basic Christian doctrine like the Holy Trinity, Incarnation, and redemption are things not known by reason alone. The author of The Cloud speaks about the intimate knowledge of God gained in the higher part of the spiritual life, surely that knowledge is not gained through mere reason.
Quote:"Its theme is that God cannot be known by reason," but the First Vatican Council defines:

1. If anyone says that the one, true God, our creator and lord, cannot be known with certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema.

Is the distinction here between speculative knowledge and affective knowledge?

The author makes clear that he doesn't deny that God's existence can be known through reason. He's just stressing that when one truly begins to confront God reason is made to face it's very severe limitations. So, consider most of the classical proofs for God's existence. They almost all start with the fact of the finite and logically show that this finite reality must necessarily point to an infinite reality, or else the existence of finite things doesn't make sense. However, seeing the logic of this ontological move doesn't render it graspable by any means. After all, despite understanding that there must be an infinite grounding to reality, we don't have any reasonable notion of what "the infinite" is like for the simple reason that any infinite reality is completely incommensurate with our finite experience. 

I'm sure I'm not doing this justice, but as a last ditch effort I'll post a silly little cartoon that does a decent job of showing what I think the anonymous other is trying to impart to his young reader.

[Image: god-in-a-box.png]  


The author is simply saying that if you want to actually know God at some point you have to unknow all of the finite concepts you're bringing to the project. God won't fit into a box, and if you find that he does that's probably a good indication that what you think is God isn't actually him.