London: Burns & Oates, 1954. First edition. Octavo, original red cloth, dark red top edge, original dust jacket. Small owner inkstamp to front flyleaf, bump to top fore-edge, gentle toning to spine of bright, clean dust jacket. Nearly-fine. Item #656
"THE GOLDEN AGE OF SPANISH SPIRITUAL THEOLOGY FLOWERED SUDDENLY, AS THOUGH A SUMMER WERE TO BURST UPON US WITHOUT A SPRINGTIME" First edition of this Benedictine sister's history of the late medieval flourishing of mystical theology, culminating in John of the Cross in sixteenth-century Spain. After losing their abbey in Cambrai during the French Revolution, the Benedictine nuns came to Stanbrook in 1838, establishing a tradition of exemplary scholarship and a press for fine printing. The work consists of a lengthy Introduction and six sections: I. Early Spanish Spirituality, II. The Victorines, III. Saint Bonaventure, IV. The Pseudo-Bonaventure, V. German and Flemish Mystics, VI. Spain Again, and Saint John of the Cross. Index to Persons. The author treats the knowledge of God experienced by contemplative souls as well as the theology derived from contemplation. The book begins and ends with Spain, with a concluding focus on St. John of the Cross and his trials and tribulations as a reformer within the Carmelites. "St. John of the Cross has been acclaimed as one of the church's great mystics—indeed, a genius of mystical theology. For this he was not merely canonized but proclaimed a Doctor of the Church. In light of this solid recognition, it is important to recall that such approval came only after his death. In life, his spiritual insights were forged in the experience of persecution and suffering, trials inflicted not simply by his own church but by the members of his own house" (Robert Ellsberg, All Saints). This work was a follow-up to the popular Burns & Oates edition of the three-volume Complete Works of St. John of the Cross, edited by E. Allison Peers and advertised on the back panel. Approbations.