"The ascetics of Scete and the Thebaid in the Egyptian Desert have been more often admired than known or understood. Translations by such scholars as Helen Waddell have done much to restore the true perspective. This new selection from the Latin 'Sayings of the Fathers' (Verba Seniorum) has been made by Thomas Merton with a special purpose. It is not only a translation and selection, but a new monastic redaction in the spirit of our own time. Merton has felt free, as a monk, to do what generations of monks before him have done. He has made a wholly independent and original use of material which is the traditional basis of Christian monastic spirituality." -- Dust jacket.