I have finished Mountain of Silence and so will sing the praises of this work this one last time…I think. One of the intriguing aspects of this book is that it seems that Markides’ intended audience are those people in the western world have become disinterested in the Christianity they are familiar with and are seeking and exploring a “deeper” spirituality in eastern religions. In this context I think we can see the reasoning behind his unwillingness to translate certain terms as used by Fr. Maximos and other monks – a prime example being Ecclesia. Of course when the monks use this term they are talking about the Orthodox Church, but Markides leaves the term untranslated and in the original greek. However, he does define it in his glossary as: the sum total of the practices, methods, sacred texts, and testimony of the saints and their teaching on how to know God. It includes the organizational structure of the Church. The Ecclesia is seen as a spiritual hospital for the cure of the maladies of the heart that obstruct our vision of God. Not a bad definition at all, I reckon the next time I am asked “What is the Church?” I may use it.
Anyway, chapter 15, entitled The Threefold Way single-handedly made this work worth its purchase price. In it Kyriacos lays out the traditional three steps of Christian spirituality: Purification, Illumination, and Deification. Worth gold as this topic is, Markides goes a step further and illustrates the importance of this “way” and how it was lost in the west, furthermore connecting all of this to his original introductory theory that the west had lost the “eye of contemplation.”
…leading transpersonal theorist Ken Wilber in his masterful critique of western thought claims that Western civilization lacks a “yoga,” or a method of acquiring knowledge beyond the senses and the intellect. Western thought therefore remains trapped within its intellectual and scientific constructs. Wilber, like most transpersonal theorists today, finds this “yoga” in Eastern philosophy and religion, particularly Zen. Nowhere in his work is there any mention or awareness of the Hesychast tradition or the concepts behind the “Threefold Way”
Ok, well go ahead and laugh at me as I admit that I have no idea what the hell a “transpersonal theorist” is, and frankly I don’t really care to know…regardless the point is clear to me.
Okay, enough of my rambling. Read this book. At least read chapter 15! In it Markides not only lays out the heart of Orthodox Spirituality, but he also offers the briefest and most concise explanation as to how Western spirituality came to differ so much from that of the East.
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 8:51 AM [+]