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Emerson as Spiritual Guide

A Companion to Emerson's Essays for Personal Reflection and Group Discussion

Barry M. Andrews

“It’s my belief that Emerson is first and foremost a spiritual writer and one of unusual depth and power. Those who ponder what he has to say will find that their own spiritual life has been stimulated and enriched. It is, therefore, as a spiritual guide that I approach Emerson in this companion to his essential writings.”
—from the Introduction

According to Andrews, “Readers invariably feel a sense of comradeship when they recognize in Emerson a kindred soul and fellow seeker on the spiritual path.” Yet Emerson is a subtle and sometimes complex thinker, and his language is not always readily accessible to today’s reader. Emerson as Spiritual Guide serves as a succinct but comprehensive companion to Emerson’s essential religious and spiritual writings and the spiritual issues they raise today. Includes an overview of Emerson’s life and resources for further study. Also features questions for personal readings and for group discussions.

Barry M. Andrews is minister of religious education at the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock, Manhasset, New York.

Praise for Emerson as Spiritual Guide:

“Barry Andrews has written an inspiring, deeply helpful book for those of us moderns who hunger for a richer, more meaningful spiritual life. This is a book about the Emersonian Way, the path to self and social fulfillment based on the great teaching of self-trust. Andrews does a superb job of showing how the central truths of the Emersonian Way can make our own lives better right now.”
—Robert D. Richardson, author, Emerson: The Mind on Fire

“Barry Andrews is one of liberal religion's most knowledgeable and persuasive advocates for Emerson's continuing spiritual value. In Emerson as Spiritual Guide he provides a compelling picture of Emerson as a man engaged in a life-long struggle for spiritual understanding and relates Emerson's inner struggles to the published work that has had such a wide influence. Andrews makes it clear that Emerson had roots in New England Unitarianism but also measures his work against Asian religions and a variety of Western philosophers and religious thinkers. As we come to see, Emerson understood the value of religious experience and taught the disciplined cultivation of the spiritual life. He remains today an effective spiritual guide.”
—David Robinson, Emerson and the Conduct of Life

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Last updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

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