The Book of the Dove is the ascetical guide composed by Bar-Hebraeus for aspiring hermits. It concerns the training of the body and the soul for ascetical life. The spiritual rest of the perfect is also described, along with a spiritual autobiography of Bar-Hebraeus himself.
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Bar-Hebraeus was a prolific writer for his age. Among the many treasures he produced was his ascetical training guide known as The Book of the Dove. Written especially for those in Eastern Christianity who aspired to be hermits, this treatise offers practical spiritual advice for those in his charge in the Syriac church. The study is divided into four parts, treating the training of the body, training the soul, the spiritual rest of the perfect, and a section including Bar-Hebraeus’ spiritual autobiography. A classic of monastic literature, The Book of the Dove retains valuable insights into spiritual exercises, including prayer, fasting, repentance, humility, and alienation from the world. Presented here in the original Syriac, this text will be of interest to the historian as well as readers interested in the Medieval Eastern Church. In a world frantically seeking a spiritual center, the wisdom of one of Orthodoxy’s most erudite writers on spiritual development is always welcome.
Gregory Abulfaraj Bar-Hebraeus (1226-1286) was a bishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Trained as a physician, Bar-Hebraeus made his way to the life of the church, being consecrated as bishop at the age of 20. His writings encompass philosophy, grammar, poetry, and theology as well as what was generally the science of the day. A noted compiler of information, he was a prolific writer and is recognized today as one of the most notable figures in the history of Eastern Christendom.