The Ladder of Divine Ascent

St John Climacus
Trans. by XU Liemin

Script: Traditional Chinese
Publisher: Institute of Sino-Christian Studies, Hong Kong
Date: June 2012
Format/Pages: softcover/367 pp
ISBN: 9789628911837
Availability: ship from Hong Kong
Price: $19.99 USD (125 RMB; 150 HKD)


Saint John Climacus, sixth century abbot of Sinai, compared the spiritual life to a ladder of thirty steps, and explained in detail the challenges presented by each of these steps. This spiritual classic has brought inspiration and edification to every generation since that time, and has been treasured by both monastics and laymen.

The Ladder of Divine Ascent was the most widely used handbook of the ascetic life in the ancient Greek Church. Popular among both lay and monastics, it was translated into Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Old Slavonic, and many modern languages, and now for the first time in Chinese. It was written while the author (who received his surname from this book) was abbot of the monastery of Catherine on Mount Sinai. As reflected in the title, the ascetical life is portrayed as a ladder which each aspirant must ascend, each step being a virtue to be acquired, or a vice to be surrendered. Its thirty steps reflect the hidden life of Christ himself. This work had a fundamental influence in the particularly the Hesychastic, Jesus Prayer, or Prayer of the Heart movement.

OFASC Theological Review

First published in the Chinese language is one of the fundamental books on the ascetic practices of the Orthodox Church - "The Ladder" by Reverend John Climacus, abbot of Mount Sinai. Chinese translation of this pearl of Christian asceticism is made by the Institute of Sino-Christian Studies, assisted by the Orthodox Brotherhood of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Hong Kong. The publication of this book will answer the growing interest among Chinese scholars and Chinese Christians in the ascetic tradition of the Orthodox Church, its patristic heritage.

Translated and published by non-Orthodox. Read with discretion. This Chinese translation is based on the English translation by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, which closely aligns literally to the original Greek. As such it is targetted for the Chinese scholar seeking to understand the underlying Greek text. This is not a dynamic translation if one is seeking a more natural flow and comprehensibility to the Chinese ear. For those Chinese readers who have a working knowledge of English, the easier to read English translation by Paulist Press will be an invaluable addition to comprehension.