The Spirituality of the Desert: Models of Appropriation by Henri Nouwen, Anselm Grün, and Kathleen Norris

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In this article, three relatively recent works of popular spirituality are discussed with a focus on the appropriation of the Apophthegmata Patrum, the sayings of the desert fathers (and mothers). It is shown that such appropriation implies a complex dynamic of breaching and bridging as the critical, “breaching”, voice of the desert is called upon to bridge the gap between antiquity and modernity. The process of appropriation implies both the selection of specific texts and a favourable reading of the same. It is also informed by the formal training as well as the personal experience of the respective authors: Henri Nouwen, Anselm Grün, and Kathleen Norris. As the oscillation between ressourcement and aggiornamento is brought to bear on the congenial transplanting of ancient wisdom to the (post-)modern world, it becomes apparent that in these spiritual bestsellers the more problematic aspects of the desert are hardly ever breached themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156 – 179
JournalR&T. Religion & Theology
Volume24
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
EventCongres Identiteit in Wording getiteld 'Breaches and Bridges in the History of European Spirituality' - Kampen
Duration: 13 Jan 201016 Jan 2010

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desert
spirituality
antiquity
wisdom
modernity
father
Spirituality
Appropriation
experience
Modernity

Bibliographical note

Proceedings title: Volume 24, Issue 1-2, Special issue: Breaches and Bridges in the History of European Spirituality: Identity in the Making - The Romantic Era to the Present Day, 2017
Publisher: Kok
Place of publication: Kampen
Editors: D. Bos, G P. Freeman, H G E. Rose

Cite this

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title = "The Spirituality of the Desert: Models of Appropriation by Henri Nouwen, Anselm Gr{\"u}n, and Kathleen Norris",
abstract = "In this article, three relatively recent works of popular spirituality are discussed with a focus on the appropriation of the Apophthegmata Patrum, the sayings of the desert fathers (and mothers). It is shown that such appropriation implies a complex dynamic of breaching and bridging as the critical, “breaching”, voice of the desert is called upon to bridge the gap between antiquity and modernity. The process of appropriation implies both the selection of specific texts and a favourable reading of the same. It is also informed by the formal training as well as the personal experience of the respective authors: Henri Nouwen, Anselm Gr{\"u}n, and Kathleen Norris. As the oscillation between ressourcement and aggiornamento is brought to bear on the congenial transplanting of ancient wisdom to the (post-)modern world, it becomes apparent that in these spiritual bestsellers the more problematic aspects of the desert are hardly ever breached themselves.",
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The Spirituality of the Desert : Models of Appropriation by Henri Nouwen, Anselm Grün, and Kathleen Norris. / Vos, N.M.

In: R&T. Religion & Theology, Vol. 24, No. 1-2, 01.01.2017, p. 156 – 179.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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