Theology Update for the Week of February 21

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Dear friends in Christ,

Sunday’s theology class on the collects of the Book of Common Prayer will consider the prayers appointed for the Easter season. These are magnificent, finely honed compositions on various aspects of the mystery of our salvation. We meet on the fifth floor of the parish house at 10 o’clock.

On Monday, February 22, at 12:40pm on the second floor, I will repeat the Sunday class on the collects. This class lasts 40 minutes; anyone in the area is welcome.

I am exceptionally eager for Monday evening’s “Good Books & Good Talk” seminar. This novel, The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris, seems even better to me this time than when I first read it. If you are short of time, and don’t mind jumping forward, turn to page 206 where he starts a dialogue, it seems, with his body. Seldom does the question of the existence of God seem so critical for a person’s own continuing existence. And painful. The conversation will be in Andrew Hall from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday, February 23, the Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class will be on The History of the Church 2: The Anglo-Catholic Revival – The Oxford Movement and its influence on Anglicanism. Although designed especially for people who would like to be confirmed or received in the Episcopal Church, the class is open to anyone interested in the topic of the day. It meets in Andrew Hall from 6:30 to 7:30pm.

Wednesday, February 24, in the second session of the new class on the Good Samaritan,Professor Jeremy Waldron will speak about Good Samaritan laws. There are also, apparently, bad Samaritan laws. Some laws shield those who aim to help; others punish those who fail to help when they could have. What is the legal landscape, and what sense can we make of it? Visitors welcome: Andrew Hall, from 6:30 to 7:30pm.

On Friday at 12:45 p.m. Father Spurlock will continue his Bible study on the 2nd floor of the parish house. The group is working through the Gospel according to Saint Luke.

A couple of weeks ago we had a special visitor for the Sunday class-Dean Stephen Peay of Nashotah House. Several of you requested a list of the books to which he referred. The dean has graciously provided one, with annotations, and I am putting it below.

Peace, Father Austin

A Brief Booklist on Monasticism and Monastic Spirituality

Prepared for St. Thomas Church-5th Avenue
By The V. Rev’d Steven A. Peay, PhD Dean-President and Professor of Homiletics & Church History Nashotah House Theological Seminary

  • Benedict (translated by Fry & Horner) RB80: The Rule of St Benedict in English [Liturgical Press, 1980]; produced for the sesquimillenium of St. Benedict’s birth, a good translation – there is one with the Latin text and commentaries as well
  • Benedict (translated by Butler & Doyle) St. Benedict’s Rule for Monasteries [Liturgical Press, 1950]’ a classic translation, also available for daily delivery to your inbox at:; there is also a KINDLE EDITION (cheap!) of THE RULE in a 1906 translation by Dom Oswald Hunter Blair of Fort Augustus Abbey (UK). A readable edition with explanatory notes (a little dated, but not bad)
  • Michael Casey, OCSO Sacred Reading: The Art of Lectio Divina [Liturgical Press, 1996]; a good introduction to the foundational tool of Benedictine spirituality
  • Michael Casey, OCSO The Road to Eternal Life: Reflections on the Prologue of Benedict’s RULE [Liturgical Press, 2012]; a delightful, and challenging, book
  • Michael Casey, OCSO Seventy-Four Tools for Good Living : Reflections on the Fourth Chapter of Benedict’s RULE [Liturgical Press, 2014];very good…very helpful
  • Esther De Waal Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict [Liturgical Press, 2001); a delightful introduction to Benedictine spirituality for everyone
  • Esther De Wall A Life-Giving Way: A Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict [Liturgical Press, 1995]; good, basic commentary on the RULE from a lay perspective
  • Emmanuel Heufelder, OSB The Way to God According to the Rule of St. Benedict [Cistercian Studies, 1983]; includes a translation of the RULE
  • Peter King Western Monasticism: A History of the Monastic Movement in the Latin Church (Cistercian Studies, 1999); good basic overview of the history
  • David Knowles, OSB The Monastic Order in England (to the 4th Lateran Council) [Cambridge, 2014]; a classic
  • David Knowles, OSB Christian Monasticism [out of print, readily available in paperback]; now a little dated, but the best basic introduction
  • John R. H. Moorman The Anglican Spiritual Tradition [Templegate, 1985]; a fine introduction by one of the better historians of the C of E (his History of the Church in England is required reading at Nashotah House]
  • Martin Thornton English Spirituality: An Outline of Ascetical Theology According to the English Pastoral Tradition [Cowley, 1986]; a superb introduction (required reading at the House)