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Seeking the God Beyond

Author J P Williams
Publisher SCM £19.99
Format pbk
9780334057017

The sub-title is ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Apophatic Spirituality,’ and it is exactly that, an overview of the via negativa, a way to reach God by discovering what he is not rather than what he is. I found it a theological page-turner, leading on from the biblical roots starting with Moses, the Song of Songs and John the Baptist to Jesus; these texts are revisited in succeeding chapters: an explanation of the ‘negative way’; exponents such as St John of the Cross and Meister Eckhart; a fascinating description of related topics, Paul in Athens, Keats’ Negative Capability, the books of Narnia and Zen Buddhism; finally apophatic content in practices such as pilgrimage, liturgy and prayer. There are useful addenda such as the need for spiritual emptying and humility in the Afterword, and also further reading. You will gather that it is very wide-ranging, indeed breath-taking in its compass, but it is in direct language and easy to read. I would say it is essential for those engaged in spiritual direction and otherwise highly recommended for all.

JOHN FOXLEE

Apophatic Spirituality