Egan’s style is open and positive as he engages the serious reader. A true son of St. Ignatius of Loyola, he will first attract and then guide the reader to Jesus Christ, the mystic paradigm, but in a way that draws along the full potential of the reader. The book has no conclusionwhich perhaps suggests we will have to supply one from our own experience walking the mystical way.
In a vibrant and inspiring Preface, Eagan begins with the all-important question of human identity, 'who are you?'a question that drives the mystics towards the divine Mystery. Then, after a chapter on the Hebrew Scriptures and a chapter on the New Testament, he introduces about eighty mystical figures, usually devoting between two and six pages to each. Fifty years of intense conversation with Christian mystics allows him to present us, in a concise manner, with such a large group. These soundings” are so good and helpful that they deserve meditation, one per day, by readers asking themselves how they can imitate at least one facet of each mystic.
Louis Roy, O.P. Collège universitaire dominicain
. . . a fine read and an excellent addition to Christian studies and mythology collections.
The Midwest Book Review
Soundings in the Christian Mystical Tradition provides strong nourishment for those who are just beginning or have long journeys to take. Based on fifty years of classroom experience in teaching mysticism, Egan casts a wider netmore than seventy entriesthan is usual in surveys of this kind. His effort is an important contribution to the burgeoning interest in mysticism.
Paul Lachance, OFM Adjunct Professor of Spirituality Catholic Theological Union
This book is a fitting culmination to Harvey Egan's fifty years of reading, writing, and lecturing about the Christian mystics. A particular value of the work is his inclusion of not only the best-known mystics but also those whom he has found to be undeservedly neglected. Readers of these Soundings will surely be drawn to read the full texts of many of these mystics and so let themselves be sounded in return.
James A. Wiseman, OSB Professor of Theology and Religious Studies The Catholic University of America Monk of St. Anselm's Abbey in Washington, DC
Harvey Egan's Soundings are the distillation of a lifetime of theological research into the deeper reaches of Christian experience. His book, in style, format and content, is a perfect resource for theological teachers and students eager make their own the deep creativity and catholicity of Christian faith. Professor Egan has made a wide-ranging selection of the long-recognized (Gregory of Nyssa, Teresa of Avila), too little appreciated (Thomas Aquinas, Ignatius of Loyola), and of the sometimes all-but forgotten (Guigo Ii, Ramon Llull, Christina of St Trond), remarkable men and women who have been living witnesses to the mystical depth of Christian life. There is a benign provocation in this: readers will inevitably ask, How can you leave out this or that radiant mystical presence? But that is a good problem to have: the cloud of witnessesover seventy, in fact, here presentedthat will keep reminding us that there is so much in need of discovery, recovery, and celebration in the life o
'Soundings' comes together here to offer an overview of Christian spiritualities ranging from the Old Testament to Mother Teresa. Several dozen well known and less known theologians of mystical communion take the reader on a journey through approaches to Christian life and prayer. Locating them concretely in their own times and cultures, Harvey Egan presents these men and women with vitality and insight.
Thomas O’Meara, OP Warren Professor Emeritus University of Notre Dame
This is one of the finest books I have ever read on Christian mysticism. Harvey Egan, SJ, with his usual careful scholarship and clear writing style, leads us through the lives of the great Christian mystics in a way that makes mysticism and prayer accessible and inviting even to the most non-saintly among us. Father Egan, a master of the spiritual masters, brings to bear a lifetime of experience and erudition to a topic that can seem far removed from our daily lives, but is in fact at its heart: the way we relate to God. I can think of no better introduction to the Christian mystic tradition than Soundings.
James Martin, SJ Author of The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything Culture Editor, America Magazine
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