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February 08 , 2009

The Complete Cloud of Unknowing

with the Letter of Privy Counsel


Central to the Christian mystical tradition is the inspired work of the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing. Rich with insights and perceptions of the obscurity and “unknowability” of God, this work reveals God as being on an entirely different plane of existence from human beings—so different that time-bound human language is inadequate to describe God exhaustively or accurately. Intellect and emotion both fail in seeking God, who can only be encountered by rejecting all common earthly means in a “cloud of forgetting” and the discovery of Godself in the dark “cloud of unknowing” that can be pierced only with a “lance of longing love.” Now, we finally have a translation that captures all of this beauty and complexity, without minimizing the nuances, all of which are explained with extensive introductions and accompanying notes. "If I could keep with me only two books and a journal, this book would be one of the books. As far as I’m concerned it’s the most important book (and among the most influential) on Christian prayer in the last two millennia. I'm delighted to endorse this fine new translation and commentary.”—The Rev. Dr. Chris Neufeld-Erdman, University Presbyterian Church, Fresno, CA , author of Beyond Chaos: Living the Christian Family in a World Like Ours and Returning to the Center: Living Prayer in a Distracting World "The Complete Cloud of Unknowing includes two classics of medieval Christian contemplative spirituality — essential reading for anyone seeking to deepen their relationship with God through the practice of silent prayer. They are rich texts, full of nuanced wisdom that often gets lost in modern translations. Father John-Julian has captured the beauty, humor and literary elegance of the original versions, but also has supplemented his translation with detailed notes that convey the subtle spiritual insight that makes these works required reading. I'm excited about this book — it's a title I will recommend both to beginners and to longstanding students of The Cloud.” —Carl McColman, author of Answering the Contemplative Call and The Lion, the Mouse and the Dawn Treader
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