Upon the recommendation of a Scottish publisher, we are reprinting as a single volume this most critically acclaimed and popular of modern Camaldolese books. It is a guide to the hermit way of life, based on the teaching of Blessed Paul Giustiniani and featuring a memorable preface by Thomas Merton. Jean Leclerq, O.S.B. (1911-1993) is widely regarded as the foremost twentieth century scholar of Western monasticism, and this is one of his most impressive achievements. If you are only going to read one work of monastic spirituality in your lifetime, this could be your best choice.
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This book appears to give a fairly good overview of the whole concept, from: History, to The Hermit's role in the Church, to What's the point?, to What a Hermit does, to Spiritual Development through Eremitism. This is the same book as the hard copy (I got the paperback) but it is much more transportable on my Kindle. I have recently associated myself with the Orthodox Romouldi as an Oblate Novice and this seemed like a good starting point for somebody who begins from a point of total ignorance.