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Athanasius: The Life of Antony and the Letter to Marcellinus (Classics of Western Spirituality)

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Athanasius (c. 295-373) Bishop of Alexandria, spiritual master and theologian, was a major figure of 4th-century Christendom. Contents: Foreword -- Preface -- Introduction -- The life and affairs of our holy father Antony -- A letter of Athanasius, our holy father, Archbishop of Alexandria, to Marcellinus on the interpretation of the Psalms.


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Athanasius (c. 295-373) Bishop of Alexandria, spiritual master and theologian, was a major figure of 4th-century Christendom. Contents: Foreword -- Preface -- Introduction -- The life and affairs of our holy father Antony -- A letter of Athanasius, our holy father, Archbishop of Alexandria, to Marcellinus on the interpretation of the Psalms.

30 review for Athanasius: The Life of Antony and the Letter to Marcellinus (Classics of Western Spirituality)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    I read a number of the Classics of Western Spirituality series for a class years ago and can't at this point remember much about which was which, but I'm pretty sure this was one of the ones I liked best. I'm skimming it in order to review. Overall the series is excellent, written in a clear and interesting way, with excellent notes (including on translation choices), indices, and suggestions for further reading. Athanasius was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria (328 – 2 May 373). Before this he I read a number of the Classics of Western Spirituality series for a class years ago and can't at this point remember much about which was which, but I'm pretty sure this was one of the ones I liked best. I'm skimming it in order to review. Overall the series is excellent, written in a clear and interesting way, with excellent notes (including on translation choices), indices, and suggestions for further reading. Athanasius was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria (328 – 2 May 373). Before this he was an assistant to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria during the First Council of Nicaea. As a theologian he is best known for his opposition to Arianism, the heresy that held that Jesus Christ was begotten by God the Father at a point in time rather than being co-eternal, and is distinct from and is subordinate to the Father. He also wrote on monasticism and pastoral care. He is a Doctor of the Church. He refused to compromise out of political expediency and was exiled several times. On the Life of Antony quickly became a paradigm for the genre of hagiography. Key traits are "preternatural courage under trial and torment, visions foretelling the manner of death, hints of identity with Christ and of his dying in and with them [the martyrs], direct flight of the soul to heaven, and burial with veneration by fellows in the faith," according the Preface by William A. Clebsch. Antony fought the devil. He quickly exhausted his strength, but by steps learning to rely more and more fully on Christ, becoming abjectly dependent and giving up his own agency (but not his personal identity) to become an agent of the divine. Athanasius called this salvation through deification theopoiesis: being raised by the deity above passion, purged and immaculate. If it now happened that we were lords of all the earth, and renounced all the earth, that would amount to nothing as compared to the kingdom of heaven. Athanasius' Letter to Marcellinus concerns the interpretation of the Psalms, which he thought summarized the entire Old Testament in a manner similar to the way in which the Old Testament anticipates the New. The readying of Israel for the Messiah is an allegory for the readying of the human soul for salvation. Athanasius analyzes the various emotional states , crises, joys, and temptations of daily life and explains how the Psalms correspond and soothe different emotional states. the entire Holy Scripture is a teacher of virtues and of the truths of the faith, while the Book of Psalms possesses somehow the perfect image for the souls' course of life. Another influential writing of Athanasius' not included here is On the Incarnation of the Word of God. Even on the cross He did not hide Himself from sight; rather, He made all creation witness to the presence of its Maker.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    ATHANASIUS (c. 295-373) The Life of Anthony and the Letter to Marcellinus My primary interest in reading this book was to compare it to “The Temptation of St. Anthony” composed by Gustave Flaubert in 1874. Flaubert's version took the author twenty-five years to complete it to perfection. It is a masterpiece of nineteenth-century literature. Athanasius Bishop of Alexandria in the 4th-century was a spiritual master and theologian. He composed the “Life of Anthony” like an imaginative narrative based on ATHANASIUS (c. 295-373) The Life of Anthony and the Letter to Marcellinus My primary interest in reading this book was to compare it to “The Temptation of St. Anthony” composed by Gustave Flaubert in 1874. Flaubert's version took the author twenty-five years to complete it to perfection. It is a masterpiece of nineteenth-century literature. Athanasius Bishop of Alexandria in the 4th-century was a spiritual master and theologian. He composed the “Life of Anthony” like an imaginative narrative based on religious beliefs of the time. It was apparently quite soon after Anthony's death in 356 that Athanasius complied with a request for more information about the early life and the beginning of his ascetic discipline. How Anthony was capable of frustrating the stratagems of the foes and how to recognize the apparitions in his cell between angels and demons. How in later years he pronounced prophecies performed healings and other wonders and finally his death and burial. Apart from a few likely factual dates, the work is written like an ancient severe religious sermon. In the same style, he presents his “Letter to Marcellinus” treating mostly the reading and interpretation of the Psalter. I must admit I prefer Gustave Flaubert's Anthony.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Evan Leach

    The Life of Antony – a biography of Saint Anthony the Great - was Athanasius’ most widely read work. The book was popular in its own era (the mid fourth century), where it was an important contributing factor to the rise of the monastic ideal in both Western and Eastern Christianity, and in the Middle Ages. Anthony, an uneducated and unassuming man, retreats to the Egyptian desert to embrace a life of prayer and solitude. In the process, he becomes a respected leader of the Christian community f The Life of Antony – a biography of Saint Anthony the Great - was Athanasius’ most widely read work. The book was popular in its own era (the mid fourth century), where it was an important contributing factor to the rise of the monastic ideal in both Western and Eastern Christianity, and in the Middle Ages. Anthony, an uneducated and unassuming man, retreats to the Egyptian desert to embrace a life of prayer and solitude. In the process, he becomes a respected leader of the Christian community for his discipline, his wisdom, and his ability to work miracles. This is a historically important (and much-imitated) text due to its wide ranging and long lasting influence, but also an engaging and entertaining little biography. My translation also included the Letter to Marcellinus, a short treatise on the use and importance of the psalter in the daily lives of individual Christians. The letter is notable as the only complete surviving Athanasian work dealing exclusively with the interpretation of Scripture. Overall, a good pair of texts that should appeal to readers with an interest in fourth century Christianity. 3.5 stars, recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    evan

    This is a great, albeit brief, bio of Antony's life before he joined the Johnsons and launched his recording career. Much of the spectacle occurs at the beginning as the devil tempts Antony by dressing in drag and looking fabulous with the "spirit of fornication." Antony is unmoved but caves in a little, I'd say, by purchasing a boutique hairshirt, going on a diet, and working on his snow white complexion by residing in a cave and exfoliating against rocks. There's also a great scorpion and leop This is a great, albeit brief, bio of Antony's life before he joined the Johnsons and launched his recording career. Much of the spectacle occurs at the beginning as the devil tempts Antony by dressing in drag and looking fabulous with the "spirit of fornication." Antony is unmoved but caves in a little, I'd say, by purchasing a boutique hairshirt, going on a diet, and working on his snow white complexion by residing in a cave and exfoliating against rocks. There's also a great scorpion and leopard and bull and wolf stampede, each demon-animal "moving according to its form," an observation I found reminiscent of Augustine, though Athanasius preceded him. All in all, this is another excellent book to add to my canon of convincing arguments for humankind's rottenness and the necessity to sever such ties, as Antony did in the desert, which he "filled with discipline." I, too, seek a desert of discipline but cannot shake off my vanity. Some more ink droppings? "Make a beginning daily," urges Antony. "Live as people dying daily," urges Antony as well. Do that and God will "make you famous everywhere." To be played at maximum volume.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    I read this initially for his Letter to Marcellinus, which provides a very interesting window into 4th c. interpretation of the Psalms. Athanasius uses the metaphor of a mirror in which we ourselves and our emotions reflected, something Calvin picks up and passes on over a millennium later. The Greek text of the letter is available in PG. The Life of Antony is…interesting. I have to wonder how much of Antony's opposition to Arianism is Antony's and how much of it belongs to his biographer. A good I read this initially for his Letter to Marcellinus, which provides a very interesting window into 4th c. interpretation of the Psalms. Athanasius uses the metaphor of a mirror in which we ourselves and our emotions reflected, something Calvin picks up and passes on over a millennium later. The Greek text of the letter is available in PG. The Life of Antony is…interesting. I have to wonder how much of Antony's opposition to Arianism is Antony's and how much of it belongs to his biographer. A good read, though.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patti Clement

    Wonderful Classic of Western Spirituality about one of our Fathers of the Church! Have not read from cover to cover, but purchased while taking a course of Historical Foundations of Spirituality.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kiel

    A collection of two historical classics from one author, The Life of Antony and The Letter to Marcellinus reach out from the 4th century and allow Bishop Athanasius to continue to minister to modern readers. In Life he captures the early father of asceticism and his many battles with demons, as well as his service to the persecuted church and his stand against those wretched Arians. In Letter he shares his deep knowledge of the Psalms and gives advice on how to interpret and engage them. Both wo A collection of two historical classics from one author, The Life of Antony and The Letter to Marcellinus reach out from the 4th century and allow Bishop Athanasius to continue to minister to modern readers. In Life he captures the early father of asceticism and his many battles with demons, as well as his service to the persecuted church and his stand against those wretched Arians. In Letter he shares his deep knowledge of the Psalms and gives advice on how to interpret and engage them. Both works are fascinating in their historical context, helpful in their pastoral goals, and educational in their positive saturation of biblical and theological literacy. 129 pages of helpful introductions, dense and historically distant but understandable content, I recommend to church history plunderers and theological pundits. Happy reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim Newcomb

    Vita Antony: The Ascesis of the Sage and Saint In the Life of Antony, Athanasius pens a foundational account that would influence the following two millennia of Hagiography, influencing everything from Historia Ecclesiastica to the allegoric Pilgrim's Progress. This third-person narrative was piecemealed together from historical accounts and letters of St. Antony that Athanasius collected after a brief encounter with the monk himself. It details the beginnings of Christian monasticism, the diff Vita Antony: The Ascesis of the Sage and Saint In the Life of Antony, Athanasius pens a foundational account that would influence the following two millennia of Hagiography, influencing everything from Historia Ecclesiastica to the allegoric Pilgrim's Progress. This third-person narrative was piecemealed together from historical accounts and letters of St. Antony that Athanasius collected after a brief encounter with the monk himself. It details the beginnings of Christian monasticism, the differences between early Christian demonology and pagan Greek daemonology, the contrast between heterodoxy and orthodoxy, and the critical role monastics plan in the health of the church. One of the more interesting frameworks Athanasius uses is the delineation between a sage and a saint. While Ascetics may look similar on the surface, Athanasius spends quite a bit of the Life of Antony highlighting distinctions between them. The Greek Philosophers, the Persian Sage, the Egyptian Pagan, and the Arian Schismatic are all secular ascetics (here broadly referred to as "Sages") who brandish power they have wrestled from an external divine source. They become an Agent of the god they serve and operate with imbued power. But the Saint, Athanasius argues, is a vessel that reflects the power of God to work miracles; his power is not native to himself. This distinction is slight on the surface, Athanasius argues, but the difference leads the soul to a fundamentally different destination. The source of power is a critical distinction in Bishop Athanasius' mind. Through this subtle distinction, Athanasius describes how the Arian heresy leads a person down a fundamentally different path across a lifetime; Arianism to self-reliant and self-destructive paganism, and Apostolic Orthodoxy to humility before God and, ultimately, salvation. He never misses an opportunity to draw the line more clearly between the Arian Schismatics and the Orthodox. He outright creates opportunities to articulate his disgust for them to the point of humor. Even in a book written specifically about a single monk, Athanasius Contra Mundum is readily apparent. He included arguments against the agnostic philosophy of the Stoic & Cynic Greeks, the Pagan Greeks and Egyptians, the Arians, Donatists, and other Schismatics, including a direct refutation of the Stoic philosopher Amun (a Greek ascetic documented by Socrates who had quite the following). He talks specifically about the worship of Osiris, Isis, and theological stories such as the Flight of Kronos. Antony tells the Greek thinkers who come to debate him, "you rely on sophistic word battles" while he relies on the living person of Christ. Even in the mid 4th century, Saint Athanasius showed a deep reverence for the Necrology of the church up to his day. His subject Antony did as well; he notes that Antony stayed with other saints "until they were perfected" and gave them a proper Christian burial (vice mummification like Egyptian Christians frequently did in the 1-4th centuries). Despite Antony being the first of his kind in many ways, he was not unprecedented. He relied upon those who had already trodden the narrow path before him. The monk Antony exhibits a strong emphasis on Cristus Victor Soteriology and Theopascitism in his apologetics against the pagan Egyptian and Greeks: "Which is better- to confess a Cross or to attribute acts of adultery and pederasty to those whom you call gods? For what which is stated by us is a signal of courage, and evidence of disdain for death, while your doctrines have to do with incidents of lewdness." While the cross is a morbid symbol for a religion, Antony explains it is an inverse representation that stands for the defeat of death. Asceticism and isolation did not remove Antony's concern for human affairs but increased it. Athanasius recounts that when Constantine Augustus wrote Antony, he replied urging the Emperor and the other Roman rulers to "not count present realities as great, but rather to consider the coming judgment, and to recognize that Christ alone is the true and eternal ruler. He implored them to be men of human concern, and to give attention to justice and the poor." This lesson of detached passion leading to an increase in one's humanity and compassion is a lesson the West has all but forgotten. Letter to Marcellinus Athanasius a critical figure in the development of the New Testament. He was at the Council of Nicaea and utilized the apostolic authority of his position as Bishop of Alexandria to further define the books, which would become the scriptures of the New Testament. In the Letter to Marcellinus, he expounds on his understanding of what scripture is and how the authors intended it to be used, focusing almost exclusively on the Psalms. He writes that the canonizes of the New Testaments viewed the Jewish scriptures "for the same spirit is overall." While the whole of scripture is critical to read as one, he writes that the Psalms is unique because it contains the full spectrum of human emotions: "I believe that the whole of human existence, both the dispositions of the soul and the movements of the thoughts, have been measured out and encompassed in those very words of the Psalter." It is precisely this "plectrum" of scripture, which enables a pious life across all of its flavors. He writes: "For in the other books, one hears only what one must do and what one must not do. And one listens to the Prophets so as solely to know the coming of the savior. One turns his attention to the histories based on which he can know the deeds of the kings and saints. But in the Book of Psalms, the one who hears, in addition to learning these things, also comprehends and is taught in it the emotions of the soul, and consequently, on the basis of that which affects him and by which he is constrained, he also is enabled by this book to possess the image deriving from the words." The Bishop specifically calls out the Gnostic heresy of Fatalism, a close cousin of the 16th-century heresy Unconditional Predestination, that was specifically renounced by the 12 Apostles and thoroughly refuted by ancient church fathers. He writes that some twist the works of Paul out of context to prove the heresy of the Fatalistic Greeks. These Gnostics believed that an individual's nature and subsequent actions are pre-determined before birth, and this idea occasionally tried to enter the church. St. Irenaeus of Lyons (disciple of Polycarp, the disciple of the Apostle John) wrote about this heresy in detail and defended the moral autonomy and agency of the individual man. He writes in Chapter 18, "Should you spy the zeal for evil among those who transgress the law, do not think that the evil is in their very nature, which is what the heretics assert." Athanasius incorporates Psalms into the everyday liturgy of the Christian. For instance, Chapters 22 and 23 provide instructions for the Sabbath (Saturday) and the Lord's Day (Sunday) and the differences between them. He writes that the Psalms provide "the perfect image for the souls' course through life" and that "through hearing, it teaches not only to disregard passion but also how one must heal passion through speaking and acting."

  9. 4 out of 5

    AJ Maese

    Nothing short of amazing. Everyone should read The Life of Antony and the Letter to Marcellinus in addition to Athanasius' Contra Gentes and De Incarnatione Verbi Dei.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kody Masteller

    “And since I have become a fool in detailing these things, receive this also as an aid to your safety and fearlessness; and believe me for I do not lie. Once some one knocked at the door of my cell, and going forth I saw one who seemed of great size and tall. Then when I enquired, Who are you? he said, I am Satan. Then when I said, Why are you here? he answered, Why do the monks and all other Christians blame me undeservedly? Why do they curse me hourly? Then I answered, Wherefore do you trouble “And since I have become a fool in detailing these things, receive this also as an aid to your safety and fearlessness; and believe me for I do not lie. Once some one knocked at the door of my cell, and going forth I saw one who seemed of great size and tall. Then when I enquired, Who are you? he said, I am Satan. Then when I said, Why are you here? he answered, Why do the monks and all other Christians blame me undeservedly? Why do they curse me hourly? Then I answered, Wherefore do you trouble them? He said, I am not he who troubles them, but they trouble themselves, for I have become weak. Have they not read , The swords of the enemy have come to an end, and you have destroyed the cities? I have no longer a place, a weapon, a city. The Christians are spread everywhere, and at length even the desert is filled with monks. Let them take heed to themselves, and let them not curse me undeservedly. Then I marvelled at the grace of the Lord, and said to him: You who art ever a liar and never speakest the truth, this at length, even against your will, you have truly spoken. For the coming of Christ has made you weak, and He has cast you down and stripped you. But he having heard the Saviour's name, and not being able to bear the burning from it, vanished.'”

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vasili

    An excellent work written by St Athanasius the Great detailing the life of St Antony and how he slowly accustomed himself to the Christian ascetic discipline. Working like a bee, St Antony took whatever virtue he could gather from a variety of different elders, and strove continuously to perfect himself in the way of Jesus Christ. Highly recommended for those interested in discovering more about the ancient methods Christian monastics utilised in order to reach a mystical union with God. A lot o An excellent work written by St Athanasius the Great detailing the life of St Antony and how he slowly accustomed himself to the Christian ascetic discipline. Working like a bee, St Antony took whatever virtue he could gather from a variety of different elders, and strove continuously to perfect himself in the way of Jesus Christ. Highly recommended for those interested in discovering more about the ancient methods Christian monastics utilised in order to reach a mystical union with God. A lot of the methods detailed are refreshingly practical and considerate of the uniqueness of each person. Christianity, although often misconceived as just a faith of rules and regulations, in the life of Antony, is far more personal, its principles always focused on the salvation of the individual person and not a one size fits all. The letter of St Athanasius to Marcellinus was also a profitable read. In it St Athanasius applies a method of interpretation where the psalms act as foods and remedies for the soul, containing a variety of nourishments which can work on aiding a Christian in becoming Christ-like, to become holy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marc Shefelton

    Athanasius gives us insight into the the foundations of Monasticism through the Life of Antony and the emphasis of spiritual formation through the Psalms. The Life of Antony is a fascinating read of a man who left everything to deepen his faith in God through solitude and prayer. Antony soon had many people reach out to him to learn about the spiritual life, and Athanasius commonly speaks of his victories over evil in these encounters. Meanwhile, Athansius shows how the Psalms can be applied to Athanasius gives us insight into the the foundations of Monasticism through the Life of Antony and the emphasis of spiritual formation through the Psalms. The Life of Antony is a fascinating read of a man who left everything to deepen his faith in God through solitude and prayer. Antony soon had many people reach out to him to learn about the spiritual life, and Athanasius commonly speaks of his victories over evil in these encounters. Meanwhile, Athansius shows how the Psalms can be applied to specific life situations, which leads to a reliance on the Psalms for believers. This biblical toolbox will deepen one's walk with the Lord and prepare believers for whatever Satan or life sends.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Handermann

    Great translation. Don’t read the older free versions online, they are terrible. Saint Anthony was a great man, champion of early orthodoxy, not without his faults like any saint. Early Saints like him are often silly (like the sign of the cross pushing back the demons), but also very devoted to following Jesus, even though a bit misguided in method, I think they still have an important place in the history of our people.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Boris

    Howdy Fellas, I would not explicitly call myself a spiritual man, but subtly. Subtly, brothers, subtly. And yet I profited greatly from reading this wond'rous hagiography and letter. The common man may think he mightn't profit greatly from seeing the virtue in abstaining from worldly pleasures, but that is exactly it; the common man must, in reading the hagiography, see that it is rendered that in making combat with your demons rather than giving them what they want, you may profit greatly by inh Howdy Fellas, I would not explicitly call myself a spiritual man, but subtly. Subtly, brothers, subtly. And yet I profited greatly from reading this wond'rous hagiography and letter. The common man may think he mightn't profit greatly from seeing the virtue in abstaining from worldly pleasures, but that is exactly it; the common man must, in reading the hagiography, see that it is rendered that in making combat with your demons rather than giving them what they want, you may profit greatly by inheriting the kingdom of Heaven. As relating explicitly to the letter, it describes how the Psalter is as a Bible condensed, and its indispensability in prayer, lending that there is a Psalm for most every kind of prayer, which Athanasius shows by giving the psalms several categories. All in all, very interesting and groovy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    The Life of Antony is beautiful and challenging. The Letter to Marcellinus is more procedural, but has some lovely wisdom about the Psalms contained in what is otherwise a long accounting of Psalm themes and uses.

  16. 4 out of 5

    shannon

    Technically I only read "The Life of Antony" but that should count for something.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Both of these works were phenomenal and I enjoyed the translations. Got a glimpse of Athanasius as storyteller and pastor in these writings. Make it a point to read the Life of Antony!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Harris

    Beautiful picture of dedication to discipline. Lots of learning to do from this book while we live in such a fast world.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    An interesting read of early church history and thought. The translator's introduction is really useful and quite easy to read unlike most academic writing. It introduces the author Athanasius and his role in the church history and combating the Arian heresy. The Life of Antony itself is pretty interesting and there are some very interesting arguments against the Greeks and pagans that are worth noting. The overall Life of Antony is just a warning against temptation by the devil. Antony frequent An interesting read of early church history and thought. The translator's introduction is really useful and quite easy to read unlike most academic writing. It introduces the author Athanasius and his role in the church history and combating the Arian heresy. The Life of Antony itself is pretty interesting and there are some very interesting arguments against the Greeks and pagans that are worth noting. The overall Life of Antony is just a warning against temptation by the devil. Antony frequently tells his followers to fight the demons by signing themselves with the cross; This is particularly interesting when you think about how often Christians do the sign of the cross. The frequency with which Christians perform the sign of the cross could maybe be traced back to the popularity of the Life of Antony after its publication. The Letter to Marcellinus is equally as interesting and is worth a read for anyone who wants to study the Psalms.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth

    Athanasius was the Archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt back in the mid-4th century and one of the great Church Fathers, perhaps most remembered for his fight against the Arian heresy at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., and thereafter. However he also wrote a number of significant works, including the two translated in this volume. The first, "The Life of Antony" is a survey of the life of the great 4th century Desert Father, Saint Antony, who fled the cities of Egypt to live in the desert as Athanasius was the Archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt back in the mid-4th century and one of the great Church Fathers, perhaps most remembered for his fight against the Arian heresy at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., and thereafter. However he also wrote a number of significant works, including the two translated in this volume. The first, "The Life of Antony" is a survey of the life of the great 4th century Desert Father, Saint Antony, who fled the cities of Egypt to live in the desert as a hermit, but became one of the founders of the monastic traditions of the Catholic & Orthodox churches. He was also reputed to perform miracles. In spite of his desire to live in solitude, people from all over flocked to him. The second work, "The Letter to Marcellinus", is a guide on how to read and understand the Book of Psalms, devotionally and in the light of the gospel of Christ.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This edition from the Paulist Press includes the work of an important Church Father and opponent of the Arians. The book opens with a biography of Athanasius, which in and of itself makes the book a worthwhile purchase. The book then includes Athanasius' hagiography of St. Antony and one of his epistles. It is interesting to engage directly with a work that is so foundational to the development of Christianity. He gives us a good introduction to spiritual warfare in his work on Saint Antony, whi This edition from the Paulist Press includes the work of an important Church Father and opponent of the Arians. The book opens with a biography of Athanasius, which in and of itself makes the book a worthwhile purchase. The book then includes Athanasius' hagiography of St. Antony and one of his epistles. It is interesting to engage directly with a work that is so foundational to the development of Christianity. He gives us a good introduction to spiritual warfare in his work on Saint Antony, which I found quite helpful.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Excellent story of one of the first desert fathers. He went to church, heard the gospel reading about selling all that you have and giving to the poor and felt that it was a particular call to himself (in the 4th century). This is challenging and inspiring, and written by Athanasius, one of the great champions of the faith.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    3/5. One of the earliest vitae on record, The life of Antony gives us mane of the tropes that saints' lives will eventually contain. Athanasius walks a careful line here between having Antony imitate the life of Christ, but maintaining that Antony shall not become as Christ, given the nature of the Arian heresy of the time.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book is a great look inside Antony's life, but I found it to be incredibly repetitive. I got the point the first time something was mentioned or brought up. Otherwise, this book is well written and a fun read. It's so vivid you can almost see Antony go through his temptations.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Randy Frye

    Not for everyone, but I found it a fascinating read. If you are not open to the existence of Satan and demons you will find much of the book to be incredulous. You will marvel ( and be disturbed at times) by Antony's strident observance of his spiritual practices.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Welch

    From the Life of Antony modern Christians learn how to deal with temptation and from the Letter to Marcellinus modern Christians learn to sing scripture. ( I read this when I was still an evangelical and did not know about chanting yet)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    The world's first "Best Seller." Excellent book, but read a review before starting so you are more prepared for some of the more bizarre aspects. See my book review for details.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dwight Davis

    A great translation of two great works of spirituality.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    A very insightful look into the life of this desert father. Many valuable insights for the student of spiritual conflict. This translation is very accessible.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Andrews

    (actually read this in the Schaff version)

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