"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, March 28, 2018

12 Rules for How to Be a Sinner?

What a curious stroke of timing that two books showed up in my mailbox yesterday. I'm half tempted to read them together and write about them together on here, if only because they will nicely contrast with each other in some rather stark ways--or so my initial perusal of them would suggest. Both clearly purport to be practical books offering advice from ancient traditions to help the reader overcome spiritual, emotional, and psychological struggles.

But then I know the Orthodox scholar Peter Bouteneff to be too fine a gentleman to deserve to have his new book, How to be a Sinner (SVS Press, 2018), 215pp. subject to a reading alongside the infamous Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Random House Canada, 2018), xxxiv+409pp.

About the former book the publisher tells us the following:
We call ourselves sinners in much of our church life. Yet the sinner identity when done right brings peace of mind, a clear conscience, and love for others. Addressing topics like guilt, shame, and self-care, this compassionate guide will help you reflect on your life in surrender to God s mercy. Written by an internationally recognized professor of Orthodox theology, this book will speak to you wherever you find yourself.

And about Peterson's book, we are told this:
What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson's answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research.
Humorous, surprising and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street.
What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant and vengeful? Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility, distilling the world's wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life. 12 Rules for Life shatters the modern commonplaces of science, faith and human nature, while transforming and ennobling the mind and spirit of its readers.
In any event, I will see if Peter, whom I have known for some time, will do an interview about his new book.

And I will certainly be writing, on here and perhaps elsewhere, about the Peterson juggernaut. 

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