Cyprian of Carthage lived in troubled times. His freshness and topicality are in part due to this, because his world, as ours, was characterized by restlessness, insecurity and injustice.
At the same time, his response to the world he lived in has a very modern tone because of his intense concern for the mystical life and for social justice.
But in one way he differs sharply from the outlook of today’s world: in his other-worldliness. He is very much aware that everything will pass away, and that the present life has value only in a larger perspective.
Possibly here, as much as where he shares contemporary attitudes, he has a great deal to pass on to us, and we can learn to live the new life he experienced if we listen attentively to him telling of his discoveries.
Edited by Oliver Davies, introduced by Cyprian Smith, and with a fine translation into modern English by Tim Witherow, this anthology provides us with ample opportunity to penetrate Cyprian’s spirituality.