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The Soul of the Night: An Astronomical Pilgrimage

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Overview

Probing the depths of science and faith, scientist Chet Raymo investigates the mysteries of human spirituality and meaning contained in astronomy. Ranging through the stars and the myths humans have told about them for millennia, Raymo delves into “a pilgrimage in quest of the soul of the night.” Chet Raymo’s elegant essays link the mysterious phenomena of the night sky with the human mind and spirit, as he ranges through the realms of mythology, literature, religion, history, and anthropology. Originally published two decades ago, The Soul of the Night is a classic work that is a must for those interested in the relationship between science and faith.

Twenty lyrically inspired essays on astronomy, the new cosmology, nature, and man's place in the universe.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Fascinating information about astronomy and . . . cosmology. . . . An attractive and informative backdrop for stargazing.
Ann Zwinger
Chet Raymo’s book is for anyone who loves the music of words, the melodies of physics and the lyrics of a far-ranging and ingenious mind. Chet Raymo is one of my favorite writers for his wealth of imagery and the sheer pleasure of the writing
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Originally published in 1985, astronomer Raymo's essays on the night sky explore the links between faith and reason. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561012367
  • Publisher: Cowley Publications
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 209
  • Sales rank: 515,312
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Chet Raymo is professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. A teacher, naturalist, and former science columnist for the Boston Globe, he is the author of many books including Honey from Stone, Climbing Brandon, and The Path.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 23, 2012

    Scientist with the soul of a mystic poet

    Raymo, like Lorne Eiseley before him, is a scientist with the soul of a poet. I have read a number of his books and each one (with the possible exception of his novel about St. Valentine, which wasn't his best) leaves me with a sense of wonder and a renewed awe in creation. I am always amused when Raymo, who is Jesuit trained, says he doesn't believe in God. Certainly the God he doesn't believe in is one I couldn't believe in either, and yet his work is unmistakably spiritual, arousing in this reader a deep sense of the holy. His book, "When God is Gone Everything is Holy," is one of the most spiritually enriching books I've ever read. In this book he tackles the night sky, and although I lack the scientific background perhaps necessary to completely understand everything in this slim, yet weighty, volume, Raymo's writing is simply so beautiful, his prose so alluring, and his wealth of knowledge so vast, that even someone like me is entranced by every mystical and enlightening essay. Raymo guides the reader through the stars, and refreshes at each new constellation by sharing the myths, poetry and stories humans have created about them generation after generation. Although Raymo is a meticulous scientist, his quest here is not into the mathematics of night (although there is some of that) as it is into the title's soul of night. The essays are elegant, lyric and mysterious. His erudition shows as he quotes everyone from Thoreau (with whom he has been compared) to Roethke, Rilke, Shelley, Thoreau, Buddha, the Bible and the Koran. His comparison of the night sky to Melville's great White Whale, is inspired. Originally published two decades ago, The Soul of the Night is a classic work that is a must for those interested in the relationship between science and faith.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 21, 2009

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    Posted March 15, 2010

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