Tantalus and the Pelican
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This is an informative and engaging book about monasticism, its history, practice, and relevance to contemporary life, combining personal insights with sound scholarship. Buxton begins with a focus on the early days of Christian monasticism and the transmission of this tradition to Western Europe, concentrating on particular themes or figures of interest and seeking to draw parallels with the present-day. He then explores the central features of monastic life, such as silence and humility, drawing on personal experience as well as foundational literature. Part three examines the contemporary relevance of monasticism, suggesting that the core Benedictine principles of stability, conversion, and obedience offer a framework for an alternative way of being that may enable our everyday lives to be enriched and even transformed.