Even during his lifetime, Ralph Waldo Emerson was called the Sage of Concord, a fitting title for this leader of the American Transcendentalist movement. Everything that Emerson said and wrote directly addressed the conduct of life, and in his view, spiritual truth and understanding were the essence of religion. Unsurprisingly, he sought to rescue spirituality from decay, eschewing dry preaching and rote rituals.
Unitarian minister Barry M. Andrews has spent years studying Emerson, finding wisdom and guidance in his teachings and practices, and witnessing how the spiritual lives of others are enriched when they grasp the many meanings in his work. In American Sage, Andrews explores Emerson's writings, including his journals and letters, and makes them accessible to today's spiritual seekers. Written in everyday language and based on scholarship grounded in historical detail, this enlightening book considers the nineteenth-century religious and intellectual crosscurrents that shaped Emerson's worldview to reveal how his spiritual teachings remain timeless and modern, universal and uniquely American.
BARRY M. ANDREWS, a retired minister, is author of several books, including Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul.
"[Andrews] succeeds in making Emerson’s ideas and recommended spiritual practices accessible and relevant to contemporary readers. Those interested in 19th-century American spiritualism or the father of transcendentalism should take a look."—Publishers Weekly
"Andrews presents Emerson as a spiritual guide, whose goal was to bring sustaining principles and ethical practices to his readers. American Sage is an ideal companion for readers working through Emerson's essays, a reading group on spirituality, and any number of classroom situations."—David M. Robinson, author of Emerson and the Conduct of Life: Pragmatism and Ethical Purpose in the Later Work
"In a style that is both scholarly and highly readable, Andrews offers an insightful account of Emerson's teachings as a 'sage' of spirituality, demonstrating how his ideas are relevant to readers of today who are poised between faith and unbelief.”—Phyllis Cole, author of Mary Moody Emerson and the Origins of Transcendentalism: A Family History