St Peter Damian (1007-1072) is an exceptional example of a paradox that is found in many saints and thinkers through the ages (St Jerome, St Bernard, St Bridget of Sweden, St Teresa of Avila and Thomas Merton come to mind) – of a lifelong tension between two competing vocations: the call to solitude and holiness and the call to prophetic social and ecclesial engagement. The author has explored this tension throughout his adult life, both in his published work and in his own life as an Episcopalian/Anglican priest and later bishop.
Damian’s "The Book of ‘The Lord be with you’" is a profound exploration of the spirituality of solitude, whereas his "Book of Gomorrah" is an intense attack on clerical sexual abuse which has helped to give Damian a new recent prominence in the light of the huge challenges facing the Church today. The Bonds of Love shows that the paradox at the heart of Damian's life and everything he cared about was rooted in the remarkable theology of love which finds expression across the whole of his work and gives it both coherence and dynamism. His life and spirituality are of far more than academic interest, and will make a major contribution, not only to those committed to ecclesial reform and renewal, but to all who struggle to live with the kind of competing tensions that made St. Peter Damian who he was.
"Offers a comprehensive account of those aspects of Peter Damian’s thinking that are relevant for understanding his spiritual theology...can serve as a general introduction to Damian’s theology of the spiritual life."~Toivo J. Holopainen, University of Helsinki
"If you have ever wondered why Peter Damian was declared a Doctor of the Catholic Church, The Bonds of Love provides the answers. Carefully elucidating Damian’s thought on the Trinity, the Church, Scripture, and the Spiritual Life, Mursell retrieves the reformer’s penetrating theological insights for the twenty-first century. A joy to read"~Thomas G. Guarino, Seton Hall University
"Often ignored and frequently maligned throughout the ages, Peter Damian is finally getting proper attention. The Bonds of Love joins a growing number of studies that address previous neglect and misinterpretation. Thoroughly researched and judiciously presented, Mursell’s biographical and bibliographical summaries are the best now available. Future studies on Christian spirituality and, indeed, eleventh-century society’s role in the establishment of Western culture, will be incomplete without reference to this outstanding work"~Patricia Ranft, author of The Theology of Peter Damian: "Let Your Life Always Serve as a Witness"