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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.

©2009 Carmen Acevedo Butcher (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about The Cloud of Unknowing: With the Book of Privy Counsel

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    5 out of 5 stars

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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Amazing ! Where has this been all my life :-)

loved it. Written with such wisdom and authority. Very enjoyable to listen to with awesome content and excellent narration.

16 people found this helpful

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Truly Magnificent!!!

Beautifully narrated! An awesome read, and beautifully translated from the old English text. They've done a marvellous job with this. Highly recommended for those walking the contemplative path.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

27 people found this helpful

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Nice Listen!!!!

Listened to it several times. Very interesting and informative. I will use this book as a reference, and would recommend this book for someone serious about contemplative prayer!

11 people found this helpful

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Old Wisdom For a New Time!

The author does a wonderful job of letting us know the basics of Contemplation without making it sound as if we can't obtain it.

9 people found this helpful

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Classic

I can’t speak specifically to this translation apparently done in 2009 since I don’t remember reading the earlier translation, but it feels contemporary - if at times a bit repetitive. It is of course based on the famous spiritual classic from the 14th Century. Essentially The Cloud of Unknowing is contemplative prayer - simply being in God’s presence. It’s the similar to Centering Prayer, which became well known beginning in the late 1960s in Trappist Monasteries then gradually spread and has had a powerful impact on the church. The narration is quite good. Highly recommended.

8 people found this helpful

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Wisdom at its best!

This work on contemplation is profound and will be very meaningful for anyone being drawn more deeply into the life of God!

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Deep, Serious Content. Not for the Curious

I found this book to be extremely instructive. It does require the listener to hear the content multiple times to truly begin grasping the the essential concepts necessary for embarking on a genuinely contemplative journey.

7 people found this helpful

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Good read!

Lots of helpful information that guides one into the contemplative journey. Nice explanations! These books are a nice addition to other books on contemplation adding a little different perspective, while giving the student a fuller understanding. God Bless you on your journey!

4 people found this helpful

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  • TGW
  • 09-27-16

Beaufitul

Would you consider the audio edition of The Cloud of Unknowing: With the Book of Privy Counsel to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the book, but I tried reading the original and it was too sticky for me, and couldn't get my head around the old English language, however, this version is fantastic, and loved every word that I listened to.

Who was your favorite character and why?

God - because he is the centre of everything! :)

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Describing the Cloud of Forgetting and how to use it to literally forget everything during contemplation...

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Nope - it was poetry all the way through.

Any additional comments?

I would recommend this to anyone just starting to try contemplation.

Personal Takeaways:

Anyone can try contemplation - it is not reserved for monks
Focus on the cloud of unknowing - it looks dark and gloomy but that is where to be
Get comfortable in the cloud
Resist all thoughts about things and people and focus on one syllable words, Sin, God, Love, etc to bring the focus back on the subject
Don't overdo repeating the word you choose
Don't analyse why you chose that word, and it's origin
Play a game with God - don't show God how much you really want him, and he will come to you
don't be a greedy greyhound, chasing after God more and more and more, He will come
Don't lunge for God
Spending time in the Cloud of Unkowing will help towards increasing in virtue as a by product

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  • Darragh
  • 07-04-16

Feels as it sounds.

Wait for this to be recomended rather than listen to know the message. This can not be hoarded intellectually no more than gold is used as a paperweight. You can not know or understand it nor follow it as a procedure. It will already be in place, as your path moves beneath your feet. Top marks! Thankyou so much.

7 people found this helpful

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  • g mac
  • 01-11-18

Pretty impressed.

If you're interested in contemplative prayer for Christians, this book is for you. And it's one of the best translations of an ancient text I've ever heard/read, by which I mean that it's in easy-to-understand, relatable language

5 people found this helpful

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  • Adrian Chan-Wyles Ph.D
  • 07-30-20

Beautiful Grace

A magnificent book which clearly explains and teaches the essentials of 'how to sit with god'.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Brett
  • 08-23-18

The Cloud of Unknowing

A simple, sensitive translation that conveys what the unknown author intended for his audience.

If you want inspiring, practical guidance and advice you can use every day for the rest of your life, get this book. You won’t regret it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Melissa
  • 08-29-21

Life Changing

The beauty and simplicity of the words in this book having been translated in such a way that make it so viable in our modern time is truly a work of genius by the original author and an awesome achievement by the translator.

Everything within it points to something so profoundly simple that it makes life worth living if one can truly embrace the practice of it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • ROWLADNS
  • 08-16-21

Simply beautiful

It is not often I review a work with text, the stars say it all, but here in this listen I am transported into a new place where you can rest in Truth and grace of the inner life of Divinity as Christ must have done meditating on the mountain - transforming his complete being for his works to be.

Powerful points and structure for your life of prayer. It is a serious listen, listen without judgment, enable the beauty of these voiced words awaken the innermost desires to seek and know God for yourself.

3 people found this helpful

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  • markj
  • 08-12-21

Worth returning to again and again

There is a great deal in this text on which to reflect. The reader is excellent but the speed at which the material is covered demands that one pause and consider deeply what one has heard, and that one return to it again and again.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Clive Smart
  • 08-05-21

Absolute classic of western spirituality

Listened to this on retreat. Really got into it. It is a 14th century classic and stands in the Tradition of true Christian Mysticism from the earliest days of the desert fathers and has influenced so many saints. Brilliant. Learn here how to simply be in the presence of God beyond the chatter of ideas, flood of emotions, distractions. Gloriously and peacefully alone with God. The finest medicine true and ancient Christianity can offer you. Good narrator: young and fervent, not distracting.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-25-22

Absolutely minblowing (literally)

Having read many "spiritual books", this book I can defintiely say is the best book I have ever read that is a practical approach to that place within us all that can not be described through words. I have found most books contain methods focused on some form of practise that humbly said for me, falls under the bracket of "concentration". So still using the mind as such. Having tried many different forms of meditation in which all served there purpose at that specific moment in time, I have to say that my journey through grace in a spiritual sense has been more about a process of elimination and less about learning something. The less we know the better. What a wonderful book filled with not intellect but truth. It's hard to speak of what this book offers and where it points to as its quite simply indescribable. But as the author puts it so beutifully, "it's ironic that the topic I most want to discuss mostly leaves me speechless".

A beutiful book, and defintiely suggested for anyone who is willing to surrender there will through God's grace.

Just beutiful 🙏

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-27-18

reassuring

While the language is condensed the content explained and normalized so many mystical experiences which I've never had anyone talk about. it really helps take the fear of the unknown and reassures that many people have been here before.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Wolver Rene
  • 12-26-19

WOW, MESMERISING, IT SPOKE TO ME 😮😁

My God, 🙏 l truly understand what this humble genius was saying, l felt like he was speaking to me, even though his message is 600 years old. Beautiful, Aaron Abke recommended this book, l recommend him as he was the one who truly opened my eyes to what l've been looking for. Thank you Aaron & the unknown genius writer😁🙏