"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Cistercian Publications

Cistercian Publications, an imprint of Liturgical Press, has a wide and impressive array of books devoted to Eastern Christianity, especially monasticism broadly defined. Among its recent offerings we find a translation of a work by one whom the East sometimes calls "Gregory the Dialogist": Gregory the Great: On the Song of Songs (Cistercian 2012).

About this book the publisher tells us:
Gregory the Great (+604) was a master of the art of exegesis. His interpretations are theologically profound, methodologically fascinating, and historically influential. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in his exegesis of the Song of Songs. Gregory s interpretation of this popular Old Testament book not only owes much to Christian exegetes who preceded him, such as Origen, but also profoundly influenced later Western Latin exegetes, such as Bernard of Clairvaux. This volume includes all that Gregory had to say on the Song of Songs. This includes his Exposition on the Song of Songs, as well as the florilegia compiled by Paterius (Gregory s secretary) and the Venerable Bede, and, finally, William of Saint Thierry s Excerpts from the Books of Blessed Gregory on the Song of Songs. It is now the key resource for reading and studying Gregory s interpretation of the Song of Songs.
Another book of especially acute interest in this time of such strife in North Africa and the Middle East, from which Christians continue to flee by the thousands, and in which many more Christians have been killed, is Christian Salenson's Christian De Cherge: A Theology of Hope (Cistercian, 2012).

About this book the publisher tells us:
Christian de Chergé, prior of the Cistercian community at Tibhirine, Algeria, was assassinated with six of his fellow monks in 1996. De Chergé saw his monastic vocation as a call to be a person of prayer among persons who pray, that is, among the Muslim friends and neighbours with whom he and his brothers shared daily life. De Chergé's writings bear witness to an original thinker who insists on the value of interreligious dialogue for a more intelligent grasp of one's own faith. Christian Salenson shows us the personal, ecclesial, and theological foundations of de Chergé's vocation and the originality of his life and thought. He shows how the experience of a small monastery lost in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria contributes importantly to today's theological debates.
My friend Bill Mills has reviewed this book here.

Another book of interest  is Ambrose Criste and Carol Neel, trans., Anselm of Havelberg (Cistercian, 2010).

About this book the publisher says:
The Anticimenon of Anselm of Havelberg is both the outstanding medieval work on ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox and one of the period's most important explorations of the theology of history. This text's author was a bishop on Christianity's eastern frontier and companion to Norbert of Xanten, saint-founder of the Order of Premontre. The present volume, the first English translation of Anselm's Anticimenon, sets his work in the context of the early Premonstratensian (Norbertine) thought integral to the reform movement of his time. It renders Anselm's powerful voice audible to a modern English-speaking readership yearning, with him, for unity in the Church and understanding of the Holy Spirit's agency in human experience.

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