The Cloud of Unknowing

The Cloud of Unknowing

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Written in Middle English sometime in the latter half of the 14th century, “The Cloud of Unknowing” is an anonymous work of Christian Mysticism. Surviving to us in only seventeen known manuscripts, “The Cloud of Unknowing” is meant as a spiritual guide of contemplation upon God. The work advises not to seek a better understanding of God through knowledge and intellect, but rather to surrender oneself to the darkness of the realm of the “unknowing”. It is here, where by the abandonment of consideration of the particular attributes of God, which it is argued cannot truly be known to man, is replaced with intense contemplation that may lead to an understanding of the true nature of God. Presented here is the translation into modern English by Evelyn Underhill first published in 1922. Evelyn Underhill, as one of the leading authorities on Christian mysticism of the early 20th century, is perfectly in her element here introducing this work to modern readers. A fascinating work of Christian literature, “The Cloud of Unknowing” in its abstract and at times paradoxical argument will give great insight into the mind of the Medieval Christian mystic.

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