07 January 2011

At Last, a Short Book Update

While some of my recent book acquisitions have inspired me to write a good old-fashioned ‘book update’, it has been so long since the last ‘update’, that I scarcely know where to begin and am certainly unable to cover everything. I shall confine myself therefore to a few of the most recent and most significant acquisitions.

Today, for example, a trip to Half Price Books yielded the first volume (containing Books I-VIII) of the Loeb Classical edition of St Augustine’s Confessions, tr. William Watts [1] (Cambridge, MA: Harvard U, 1999)—a steal at $5.38. A look inside the mailbox revealed William A. Graham’s Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge U, 1993). [2]

On another HPB trip a few weeks ago, I discovered William Griffin’s [3] fascinatingly colloquial translations of St Augustine—Sermons to the People: Advent, Christmas, New Year’s, Epiphany, tr. & ed. William Griffin (NY: Image, 2002). On the first day of the new year, I used a 50%-off coupon from Borders to purchase The Classical Tradition, ed. Anthony Grafton, Glenn W. Most, & Salvatore Settis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard U, 2010), a fascinating reference work on the continuity of the classical tradition in Western civilisation. At some point, I also received via post a copy of St Gregory Palamas’s Homilies, ed. & tr. Christopher Veniamin with the Monastery of St John the Baptist (Waymart, PA: Mount Thabor, 2009). The latter is a review copy sent to me by one of the editors of Orthodox Life, the former blogger known as ‘Felix Culpa’. Look for my review to be published, potentially, in the March-April issue.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, I’ve received a few books from a fellow by the name of Dennis Lackner. It’s a long story, but in this post back in 2009 I quoted from a fascinating paper of his on the Camaldolese that I had found in a limited preview on Google Books. He came across the post and we swapped a few e-mails, in one of which he sent me a pdf of the full paper. Fast-forward to Friday, 31 December 2010, and while randomly looking through old e-mails for unprinted pdfs, I discovered his and started rereading it, thinking that I might contact him with some thoughts I had about a few points. That very night, I received a mass New Year’s Eve greeting from the man himself—an interesting coincidence, I thought.

Well, the very next day, I received a personal e-mail from Dennis, asking whether I would be willing to read his entire doctoral dissertation on the Camaldolese, which he is hoping to publish, and to make editorial comments and suggestions on it. It turns out he has been keeping up with Logismoi, and had recently purchased Fr Nicholas Loudovikos’s Eucharistic Ontology at my behest. He therefore offered in return for my help to send me a copy of this book. Needless to say, I readily agreed, and was eagerly anticipating its arrival. I did not anticipate, however, the concomitant arrival of Charles Williams’s The Place of the Lion (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972) and Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor, tr. Brian Daley, SJ (SF: Ignatius, 2003). Rest assured, there was much rejoicing. Thank you sincerely, Den! С Рождеством Христовым!

[1] I’m not sure whether there is any relation to Victor Watts, translator of Boethius.

[2] I ordered this book myself to help prepare for a talk I plan to give at the Climacus Conference in Louisville, KY, next month, entitled ‘In Thy Law He Will Meditate Day & Night: The Study of Scripture & Classical Education’.

[3] Thus bringing the total of Williams to three in as many paragraphs.


Ariston said...

I recently acquired The Classical Tradition, A Eucharistic Ontology and Cosmic Liturgy myself. Hah!

I hoped to get some interest in a blogger's colloquium on the Loudovikos book, but so far I've had no takers.

Anonymous said...

I have not seen any info on the Climacus Conference next month. When is it and who will be speaking?


aaronandbrighid said...

Ariston> I'm not surprised--it looks pretty tough!

Joseph> Unfortunately, that info hasn't been posted yet. Unless I'm much mistaken, it will take place the weekend of February 19. As to who will be speaking, I myself am the only speaker I know of so far. I'm excited to find out who the others will be!

Anonymous said...


as a relative newcomer to Orthodoxy, I was Chrismated last year, Thanks be to God!. I was wondering what you thought about approaching the Philokalia? I am not sure whether to investing in a purchase of the edition that Cambridge University Press are supposed to be publishing, or to move more gradually by buying some introductory guides to it? I am not sure whether you need to have access to the original writings in order to get the best value from the guides. John Corcoran, Listowel Co Kerry, ireland corneliusdoodle at hotmail dott com

aaronandbrighid said...

John> I hadn't heard about Cambridge publishing the Philokalia! Would this be a new translation, an edition of the Greek, or something else?

As far as approaching it, my first suggestion would be to talk to your spiritual father. I say this because others have told me that they were advised not to read it yet. If you are going to read it however, I might recommend first reading something like Met. Hierotheos's Orthodox Psychotherapy, or Fr Placide's Orthodox Spirituality & the Philokalia. I found that these books can help one synthesise the rather disparate material in the Philokalia itself.

Anonymous said...

Reading Evagrius of Ponticus is an excellent introduction to the Philokalia, ( Chapters on Prayer and Praktikos).

The Philokalia is essentially a long series of footnotes to those two short works.

Anonymous said...

How did the conference go? I hate that I was not able to make it.

Joseph Patterson

aaronandbrighid said...

Joseph> It was great! I hated it that you didn't make it too. I looked for you at the conference, but you did not return from mountain or from sea!

AFR should be posting podcasts soon, however.

Anonymous said...

That's the NY Public Library!

aaronandbrighid said...

Anonymous> I know. It's a very photogenic place, huh?