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Men in Black Dresses

A Quest for the Future Among Wisdom-Makers of the Middle East

Yvonne Seng


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If we pause long enough, we can hear, above the din of our planet's rapid globalization and technological advancement, the quiet voices of spiritual leaders from ancient faiths. Middle East historian Yvonne Seng asks, What can these modern Desert Fathers with their long history of survival advise us on the future of our planet? Her intellectual quest rapidly becomes a personal journey that turns her Western training and perceptions on their head. Men In Black Dresses takes the reader behind the walls of desert monasteries, Sufi enclaves, ancient cathedrals and mosques -- where the author knocks, uninvited, and waits for the wise men to allow her in. Once inside, they discuss the universal concerns of the environment and the Internet, the building of a global community, and the education of coming generations, as well as the state of the human spirit.

Praise For Men in Black Dresses: A Quest for the Future Among Wisdom-Makers of the Middle East

Peter Russell
Author, The Global Brain and From Science to God

Powerful and eloquent. Yvonne Seng's style takes us on a personal quest into the rich, but little explored, realm of Middle Eastern mysticism.

David Ignatius
Associate editor and columnist, The Washington Post

Yvonne Seng takes the reader on an exotic and enlightening journey to visit the mystical religious figures -- the Men in Black Dresses -- who guide the soul of the Arab world. Their ancient wisdom has timely relevance for the Western world.

Pocket Books, 9780743477260, 304pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2003

About the Author

Yvonne Seng, Ph.D., is a cultural historian specializing in the Middle East and Turkey. Based in Washington, D.C., she has taught courses on peace studies at American University's Center for Global Peace, and on religion, history and Islamic culture at Georgetown and Princeton Universities and Wesley Theological Seminary. In 2000, she was a speaker at the State of the World Forum's special session on faith and technology. Born in Australia, she has worked and traveled widely in the Middle East