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"Depicts the tension between religious practice that uses the Jesus Prayer, icons, and other tools for individual experience versus a confessionally bound and theologically grounded understanding. Truly demonstrates the contemporary relevance and dynamism of an ancient Orthodox Christian practice,"---Journal of Contemporary Religion. 224 pages, softcover. Continuum.
The meditative prayer practices known as Hesychasm and the Jesus Prayer have played an important role in the history of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. This book explores how these prayer practices have spread from a primarily monastic setting within Orthodox Christianity, into general Orthodox Christian usage, and finally into wider contemporary Western culture. As a result of this gradual geographic shift from a local to a global setting, caused mainly by immigration and dissemination of related texts, there has been a parallel shift of interpretation causing disagreement. By analyzing ongoing conversations on the practices, this book shows how such disagreements are due to differences in the way groups understand the ideas of authority and tradition. These fundamental ideas lie beneath much of the current discussion on particular aspects of the practices and also contribute to the wider academic debate over the globalization and appropriation of religious traditions.