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The Life of Antony and the Letter To Marcellinus

by Athanasius

Athana­sius was a major fig­ure of 14th-cen­tu­ry Chris­ten­dom. As the Bish­op of Alexan­dria, spir­i­tu­al mas­ter and the­olo­gian, he led the Church in its bat­tle against the Ari­an heresy. Athana­sius’ The Life of Antony is one of the fore­most clas­sics of Chris­t­ian asceti­cism. It tells the spir­i­tu­al sto­ry of St. Antony, the founder of Chris­t­ian monas­ti­cism. Writ­ten at the request of the desert monks of Egypt to pro­vide an ide­al pat­tern of the asceti­cal life,” it imme­di­ate­ly became aston­ish­ing­ly pop­u­lar. This work con­tributed great­ly to the estab­lish­ment of monas­tic life in West­ern Chris­tian­i­ty. From a lit­er­ary per­spec­tive, it cre­at­ed a new Chris­t­ian genre for the lives of saints.

The Let­ter to Mar­celli­nus is an intro­duc­tion to the spir­i­tu­al sense of the Psalms. The Psalms are pre­sent­ed as a vari­ety of atti­tudes which coex­ist in a tru­ly har­mo­nious and whole sense of prayer.

William A. Cleb­sch of Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, Pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Reli­gion, in his Pref­ace to this vol­ume, says, This trans­la­tor’s fideli­ty to the texts ensures that the read­er receives in these works Athana­sius’ mean­ing, so far as fea­si­ble in the order of his thoughts and in the equiv­a­lence of his words.”


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