Daniel Bourguet – Contemplative, pastor, author

Welcome to the English language website devoted to French pastor/author/ ‘hermit’ Daniel Bourguet. Daniel writes wonderful contemplative books, mostly reflections on Scripture but sometimes on the contemplative life. He has considerable erudition, which he uses, but his focus is always on the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, but you would have to say particularly on the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. To read one of his books is to take a warm bath in the love of God.

Daniel comes from what was a not unusual Reformed type background of pastoral ministry and theology, but his outlook broadened as he encountered other traditions, particularly that of the Eastern church and various Church Fathers whose outlook predates the predominantly legal way of thinking that prevailed in the Western church.1 It’s a view of God which is often much kinder than many of us have heard in our churches. Daniel’s approach, then, combines a high degree of scholarship with a vital contemplative and pastoral life, making accessible a tradition which is not part of the normal fare in churches in the English speaking world.

This site is part of a project to publish all of Daniel’s books in English translation – as we see it, an important contribution to the Church. It aims to introduce the man and his writings. There is an introduction to each of the numerous books, excerpts from several of these, links to other authors, as well as biography. The translator/administrator of the website is in regular touch with Daniel, and Bob Ekblad (see below) is a close friend. Daniel is not, in his own words, an ‘internaut’, so there is little other material available on the internet and certainly very little in English.

The first 7 books are published by Cascade Books of Eugene, Oregon. www.wipfandstock.com They are available from the publishers and also through Amazon, www.amazon.com , Book Depository, www.bookdepository.com , etc. (The links will take you to the correct pages.) We are currently planning to publish the remainder of Daniel’s books in their English translation with The People’s Seminary Press, which is part of the Tierra Nueva ministry in Washington State. Bob Ekblad is the founder of this ministry, and it is he who wrote the excellent preface to the first books; he is a former student as well as friend of Daniel’s. As of this writing, further volumes are slowly but regularly becoming available, in book form and on Kindle. Daniel’s French publishers are Editions Olivetan in Lyon, www.editions-olivetan.com

UPDATES – March 2023. The 2 volumes by Daniel on The humble divinity of Jesus in Marks’ Gospel are, we are pleased to say, now available in English, having been published by Bob and TPSP. We have also published a translation of The Last Words of Jesus before the Cross. It’s a wonderful book. In a world which is all at sea in a confusion that touches so many people in the church world too, Daniel’s books root us deeply into the bedrock of “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Daniel and editions-olivetan have published a volume entitled Our brothers, the Desert Fathers; again, this has been translated, and we hope to publish in due course, though our focus is on Daniel’s exposition of bible passages, particularly his more recent works. Arriving in the translator’s letter box last year was Le moine Philémon de Gaza médite l’Evangile de MarcThe monk Philemon of Gaza meditates Mark’s Gospel – which, as Daniel says in his foreword he has edited, with an explanation of the process here; this tremendous work has now been published in translation. While certainly a very illuminating addition to the two volumes on The humble divinity, it is much more. Daniel states in his introduction that this was a work by a 6th century monk, long hidden away as a dusty manuscript, eventually discovered by a monk in the 19th century, from whom it came to a French monk who saw fit to translate it; this translation came to Daniel, who has edited it. Daniel’s preface also suggests that there are meditations on the other three gospels to follow. They really are meditations, not in some sense commentaries, though there are exegetical features; Daniel states that a reader who is familiar with his own books will readily see his deep indebtedness to Philemon.

The October 2023 update is that Philemon on Mark has now been published and so is available, and I have now nearly finished the translation of Le moine Philémon de Gaza médite l’Evangile de MatthieuThe monk Philemon of Gaza meditates Matthew’s Gospel. This will published as soon as possible. While it is probably a bit redundant to say that it is a wonderful book, I will say it nonetheless; I think perhaps the key word for Philemon’s meditation is humility; I will add a post shortly.

As of April 2024, the translation of Philemon’s meditation on Matthew has been published. I am currently working on Philemon on Luke; it seems to me that Philemon is getting even better as he works through the gospels; we have learned that there is more than one volume on John and that Daniel is also working on a book exploring Philemon’s impact on him personally. Sometimes I wonder about having so many books (I have too many), but there are books that stand out, and the contemplative can go missing in our hurly-burly world. Daniel says in his introductions that his objective in writing is to nourish your and my dialogue with God; Philemon certainly does that.

  1. The face of God as physician is a profoundly biblical reality; I would like to begin with a review of the theme, investigating the degree to which it is a constant through the Bible. In church history, the view of God as physician was an approach adhered to particularly by the Greek Fathers. The Latin Fathers, little by little, left it aside, and the result is that today it is being increasingly forgotten; instead, the image of God as judge was emphasized, at times to the point of distortion. This western tradition is so strong that today, despite its importance, we need to take great pains if we are to recover the biblical revelation of God the physician in its true proportions. I will therefore rest my case on biblical texts, but if I also mention the Greek Fathers, it is in simple thankfulness since it is they who have helped open my eyes to this aspect of revelation. From the opening chapter of Spiritual Maladies []

One thought on “Daniel Bourguet – Contemplative, pastor, author”

  1. I enjoyed the article very much. I am wondering, how could I correspond with Daniel; any suggestions.

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