Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross

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Written in the 16th century by a reform-minded Carmelite monk, "Dark Night of the Soul" is a treatise focusing on the metaphor of a dark night to represent a lonely phase in one's personal spiritual life. Saint John was a Roman Catholic mystic and a Spanish poet, and this work reflects his mystical stages toward union with God. Divided into two books, the purification of the senses and the spirit, "Dark Night" describes these two phases and additionally explains the ten steps of the ladder of love, which was first expressed by Saint Thomas Aquinas. In Saint John's poem, one comes to understand his belief in a benevolent God, outside of all thought or imagination, who we can only come to know through love. A profound description of absolution, desolation, progress, and love, "Dark Night of the Soul" is a powerful poem that captures the discouragement of doubting yet believing Christians, even as it offers help through spiritual loneliness.

About Saint John of the Cross

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Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591) was a Spanish mystic and a Carmelite friar and priest. He is known for his reforming of the Carmelite Order and his writings. Halcyon Backhouse is the editor of several Christian classics, including The Best of Meister Eckhart and The Cloud of Unknowing. Alan Jamieson is a sociologist, a pastor, and the author of A Churchless Faith.
Published March 15, 2005 by Image. 224 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Self Help. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Dark Night of the Soul


Both ways of living apart (souls without humans and vise versa) were portrayed as completely undesirable (at least during the time of the alien invasion in which the humans were fighting and living in hiding).

Feb 10 2014 | Read Full Review of Dark Night of the Soul

Spirituality & Practice

But this is not why the night is called 'dark.' The darkness of the night implies nothing sinister, only that the liberation takes place in hidden ways, beneath our knowledge and understanding.

| Read Full Review of Dark Night of the Soul

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Michael Manley 19 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5