Secret History of Christianity, A
The forgotten story of Christianity, inward sight and life in all its fullness today.
What has been lost is the secret of Christianity, that mystical truth so easily stated but so hard to grasp, namely, that human life springs from God's.
'Mark Vernon provides fresh insights into the role of Judaism, ancient Greek philosophy, Jesus Christ, Church history, mysticism and imagination in the evolution of Western consciousness. His book gives an intriguing new perspective on where we are today. A brilliant overview.' Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, biologist and author of The Science Delusion
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In this remarkable and timely book Mark Vernon helps us to recover a lost tradition in the Christian faith. At a time when the outer forms of Christianity seem to be in a state of exhaustion and confusion, he recalls us to an inner experience of Christ, a call to transformation of both vision and consciousness. In doing so he brings back into central focus neglected thinkers like Owen Barfield, poets and mystics like Blake and Traherne. He offers us a movement from the outer to the inner, from discourse about faith to a lived sense of the inner life of the Kingdom. ~ Malcolm Guite, poet and author of Mariner, the biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Mark Vernon’s A Secret History of Christianity rescues Owen Barfield from undeserved obscurity in the shadows of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis but in the process does so much more than that. By tracking Barfield’s careful attention to how words are used and what they say about the users, he lifts our eyes, expands our horizons and reintroduces imagination into our shared religious life. We are richer for reading him, and Barfield, and listening carefully to what they have to say. ~ Nick Spencer, author of The Evolution of the West, and Research Director, Theos
Mark Vernon provides fresh insights into the role of Judaism, ancient Greek philosophy, Jesus Christ, Church history, mysticism and imagination in the evolution of Western consciousness. His book gives an intriguing new perspective on where we are today. A brilliant overview. ~ Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, biologist and author of The Science Delusion
This is a book I wish I had written. Mark Vernon offers a forensic diagnosis of the Church’s ills and invites us to recover an authentic and life-giving Christianity. ~ Angela Tilby, Church Times columnist, author, and Canon Emeritus of Christ Church, Oxford
Mark Vernon's A Secret History of Christianity introduces us to two individuals whom he eloquently argues embody a vital, creative response to the spiritual malaise of our time. One we have heard of and think we know, the other is practically unknown. Their names are Jesus Christ and Owen Barfield. The Jesus you'll find in this urgent, thoughtful work may surprise you, but the real surprise is Barfield. Why isn't such an insightful and necessary thinker better known? Vernon answers that question and among other things shows that by getting to know Barfield we may get to know a rather different Jesus too. ~ Gary Lachman, author of Lost Knowledge of the Imagination and Dark Star Rising
Running as the golden thread through Mark Vernon's remarkable panorama of Christianity are the extraordinary heterodoxies of Owen Barfield, last of the Inklings and in some ways the greatest. In this thrilling overview Vernon explores how the fulcrums in the history of human consciousness lead to radical deployments in our cosmogenies. Crucial to this is the sweep of human imagination and here Barfield joins hands with the other Inklings in their insistence that beyond our mundane sphere lie far richer worlds invisible. ~ Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Palaeobiology, University of Cambridge
In this fascinating study, Mark Vernon reminds us of the often overlooked truth of the Christian faith - that it is not there to inform us but to form us. Introducing us to the thought of Owen Barfield and the need for mystics in a flat time, this is a celebration of the 'wholespeak' of poetic belief and not the 'narrowspeak' of so much that peddles itself as religion in our day. The secret is, as Mother Maria Skobtsova said, 'Either Christianity is fire or there is no such thing'. ~ Mark Oakley, Dean, St John's College, Cambridge
Mark Vernon has bravely stepped forward to point out what my grandfather called the taboo subject of our era; namely that people's experience of being alive evolves over time and that the pivotal moment of human evolution was two millennia ago. He invites us to step up and share the bigger view of incarnational awareness. From this new perspective, the secret history of Christianity is revealed. ~ Owen A. Barfield, grandson of Owen Barfield