The Heavenly Country

An Anthology of Primary Sources, Poetry, and Critical Essays on Sophiology

Michael Martin

Edited by Michael Martin

Sophiology — the philosophical and theological notion of a transcendent splendor becoming immanent in the world, through nature, liturgy, prayer, and the arts — is just now coming into its own as an important area of study. This revolutionary casebook brings together primary source documents, poetry, and critical articles written by a group of exemplary scholars working in theology, philosophy, literary studies, psychology, and poetics. Contributors include Bruce Foltz, Gregory Glazov, Jennifer Newsome Martin, Michael Martin, Aaron Riches, Brent Dean Robbins, Artur Sebastian Rosman, Fr. Robert Slesinski, and Arthur Versluis.

Praise for The Heavenly Country

“In making available in one place a range of texts from the history of Christian meditation on Wisdom —from Jacob Boehme to John Pordage, and then closer to our time, Goethe, Solovyov and Bulgakov, among many others — this work already performs an important service. However, Michael Martin understands that these are not simply variously difficult or even eccentric historical documents, but are — like all worthwhile traditions — material for a Christian and human future. The book opens then into a wide-ranging selection of poetry, followed by a collection of essays which, in Martin’s own summation, pass beyond this preliminary gathering of material to the vital work of assimilating the vision of Divine Wisdom into the life of Christians today and for the days to come.”

— Bishop Seraphim J. Sigrist​

“Ever since Hans Urs von Balthasar’s endorsement of Valentin Tomberg, theologians have increasingly begun to see that Christian esotericism is not necessarily heterodox or ‘gnostic,’ despite many ambiguities. To the contrary, the future of orthodoxy, its more radical cleaving to the biblical revelation, and above all its metaphysical coherence, may depend upon a new engagement with sophiology, theurgic Neoplatonism, and Hermeticism. But such a prospect can be hampered by the relative inaccessibility of crucial texts. This splendid collection and its lucid contextualizations go a considerable way toward remedying that situation.”

— John Milbank​, author of Theology and Social Theory and Beyond Secular Order

“We should welcome this splendid book on the splendor and the gradual emergence of the sapiential paradigm. Pushkin in Boris Godunov identified inspired poets and clairvoyants with the prophets of the Bible. Before the First World War, Guillaume Apollinaire called all who perceive the shining upon the earth of the Wisdom of God as those who would renew the world. Vassily Kandinsky at the same time rejected the limits of the (Enlightened-Kantian) world to update Sophia in the genesis of color. That is, if beauty and truth are inseparable, then we must find a new language. All the theology, all the science, and all the philosophy of the 20th century were affected by this awareness, from Bulgakov to von Balthasar, from Teilhard de Chardin to Deane-Drummond, from Berdyaev to Milbank. Thanks go to Michael Martin and the authors brought together in this collection  for their contribution  to the flowering of publication on sophiology in the English-speaking world.”

— Antoine Arjakovsky​, Research Director, Collège des Bernardins, Paris

About the Author

Michael Martin

Michael Martin is a poet, professor, and musician, and lives on a small organic farm with his wife and nine children. He is also the author of a poetry chapbook, The Book of Creatures (Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2014), and a work of literary criticism, Literature and the Encounter with God in Post-Reformation England (Ashgate, 2014). His The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the Turn to Poetic Theology was published by Angelico Press in 2015.