Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Complete Introduction to the Devout Life

Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Complete Introduction to the Devout Life

Article excerpt

The Complete Introduction to The Devout Life. By Francis de Sales. Translated from the French by John Julian, O.J.N. Paraclete Giants. Brewster, MA: Paraclete, 2013. Pp. xxix + 389. $26.99.

This book, an undeniable classic of Christian spirituality, often ranked as the third most popular spiritual book of all time behind only the Bible and The Imitation of Christ. Its chapters are brief and offer practical spiritual advice on prayer, virtue, temptation, and perseverance in holiness. While some parts do not translate well into the 21 st century, most of this 400-year-old text retains its relevance and provides a window into the spirituality of a bishop who was able to relate closely to the challenges and aspirations of his flock.

With 16 other editions drawn from five different English translations currently available, one might question whether a new edition of the Introduction offers anything that we do not already have. In addition to the text, the Paraclete Press version contains a useful introduction that placed Francis de Sales and his work in historical context; a chronology of de S.'s life with helpful references to noteworthy people and events of the times; a six-page bibliography; and extensive commentary typeset so that the notes fall on the left page and de S. …

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