I found this book to be hot and cold. The summary of philosophical thought from pre Greek to the 20th century was excellent. I kept falling in love with progressive philosophers from Plato to St Augustine, Immanuel Kant to Soren Kierkegaard to John Paul Sartre.
I learned that if St. Thomas Aquinas had chosen Plato’s philosophy to integrate into the Catholic faith rather than Aristotle’s, women would likely be treated as equals in the Church today. Plato saw men and women as equals while Aristotle thought women were incomplete men.
The fictional content of this book was confusing and boring. It was hard to understand what was going on between Alberto the philosophy teacher, Hilde his 15 year old student, her Dad and Sophie another 15 year old and her Dad. It seems Sophie (or was it Hilde?) existed as a dream in the mind of Hilde’s Dad (or was it Sophie’s dad?). It all seems superfluous to what is a great summary of western philosophical thought. I give the book a 3 star rating which otherwise would have been much higher.
A wonderful book on the importance of prayer in Christian life. It tells the story of a Russian peasant who wants to learn how to pray without ceasing. He wonders the country in search of a mentor who will instruct him and subsequently learns the Jesus prayer: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
The author quotes extensively from the Philokalia, the Bible of Orthodox Spirituality. There is plenty of practical instruction on how to develop contemplative interior prayer, its benefits and how to overcome obstacles. If anything, there is perhaps a little too much repetition making it hard to finish reading.
It certainly convinced me of the importance of regular prayer if one calls themselves a Christian. Regular prayer is perhaps the most important aspect of living one’s faith. I found the book refreshing and very well written. 4.5 stars. Well worth the read.