The Cloud of Unknowing: With the Book of Privy Counsel

  • by Carmen Acevedo Butcher (translator)
  • Narrated by James Patrick Cronin
  • 5 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This anonymous fourteenth-century text is the glory of English mysticism, and one of the most practical and useful guides to finding union with God ever written. Carmen Acevedo Butcher’s new translation is the first to bring the text into a modern English idiom - while remaining strictly faithful to the meaning of the original Middle English. The Cloud of Unknowing consists of a series of letters written by a monk to his student or disciple, instructing him (or her) in the way of Divine union. Its theology is presented in a way that is remarkably easy to understand, as well as practical, providing advice on prayer and contemplation that anyone can use. Previous translations of the Cloud have tended to veil its intimate, even friendly tone under medieval-sounding language. Carmen Butcher has boldly brought the text into language as appealing to modern ears as it was to its original readers more than five hundred years ago.Also included in the volume is the companion work attributed to the same anonymous author, The Book of Privy Counsel, which contains further advice for approaching God in a way that emphasizes real experience rather than human knowledge.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Definitely worth listening to again and again

Butcher's modern translation and Cronin's reading make this a pleasure. I'm sure the original author would be shocked to learn that contemplation is now considered a pagan practice of far eastern religions instead of a traditional way for Christians to press deeper into their life in God. His emphasis on the work of grace in contemplation, one end result being holiness and love, and grounding contemplation in scriptural truth should appeal to Christians of all denominations. I also found the approach of waiting in quietness on God as a kind of prayer to be refreshing. In our age of social media it's a relief to be quiet, to not be constantly chattering, to not be giving God a laundry list of requests or a series of instructions posed as prayers.
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- Debra

Contemplation -> transformation

This classic work on Christian contemplation has influenced my life profoundly for the good in the years since I first encountered it. (Its ideas undergird the practice of Centering Prayer.) This translation by Carmen is _by far_ the most accessible IMO. I've read and listened to it multiple times. I think provides valuable illumination for contemplatives on all paths.
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- M. James

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-09-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios