Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Cloud of Unknowing Begins

At the recommendation of my niece, Alison, I started reading a book intriguingly entitled The Cloud of Unknowing; a contemplative medieval work from an unknown (!) monastic author. In its prologue, I couldn't help but get a sense of a similar warning Paul might have placed on his writings if given a chance.

It reads as thus, "I…charge…you, and ask it of you with the authority of charity. If any such people do read it to themselves or to others, or copy it, or else hear it read in private or in public, you must bid them as I do you, to take time to read it in private or out loud, to copy it or listen to it, right through (emphasis mine). For it may happen that there is something there, in the beginning or in the middle, which depends on what follows and is not fully explained in that place. If so, it will be explained a little later on, or else by the end. Thus if a man looks at one part and not another, he could quite easily be led into error."

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