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Encounter Between Eastern Orhtodoxy and Radical Orthodoxy: Transfiguring the World Through the Word

 

Encounter bw EO and ROIn the fall of 2005, a group of prominent theologians gathered at the University of Cambridge to discuss the relationship between Eastern Orthodoxy and Radical Orthodoxy. Though Radical Orthodoxy had already entered into dialogue with other branches of Christianity, this conference was its first extensive encounter with Eastern Orthodoxy. Encounter Between Eastern Orthodoxy and Radical Orthodoxy is a collection of the essays presented at the Cambridge conference together with subsequent reflections from additional authors. Collectively, the essays attempt to illuminate common theological ground as well as challenges the two Orthodoxies pose to one another. Similarities include a rejection of modernism and liberal theology along with an emphasis on the Platonic themes in patristic sources such as participation and deification. Concerning differences, Eastern Orthodoxy is reproached for its insular sectarianism and repeatedly challenged to re-evaluate the Russian sophiological tradition, namely Bulgakov, which is often treated as a fringe movement. Radical Orthodoxy is criticized for attempting to construct a truly catholic theology while on the one hand remaining too entrenched in the Anglo-Catholic tradition and on the other hand practicing theology as an academic discipline detached from specific ecclesiologies and liturgical traditions.

Contributors include: John Milbank, Adrian Pabst, Nicholas Loudovikos, Graham Ward, Philip Blond, Andrew Louth, Marcus Plested, Christoph Schneider, and others.

 

Pabst, Adrian and Christoph Schneider. Encounter Between Eastern Orthodoxy and Radical Orthodoxy: Transfiguring the World Through the Word. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009.

 

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

Written by Dan Wright.

 

Meditations on a Theme: A spiritual journey

meditations on a theme2In these meditations, Metropolitan Anthony offers thoughts on the spiritual depth of several New Testament passages. After an introductory chapter on the value of spiritual endeavors, Anthony begins by considering the story of Bartimaeus, who is healed of blindness after calling out to the Lord. Anthony explains that we cannot begin the spiritual journey until we first recognize our spiritual blindness and entreat God for healing. Then, Anthony uses the parable of the Pharisee and publican, the story of Zacchaeus, the prodigal son, and the judgment parables to instruct readers in the spiritual disciplines of humility, perseverance, forgiveness, hope, etc. The final meditation, then, re-frames the spiritual journey as one of self-denial, even death, in light of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. Only by dying with Christ, can we be resurrected with Him in glory.

Intended for laity, the writing is informal and sprinkled with numerous anecdotes from the Fathers as well as Anthony’s own experiences. This short book is an excellent modern companion to The Ladder of Divine Ascent and The Way of the Pilgrim.

 

Bloom, Anthony. Meditations on a Theme: A spiritual journey. New York: Continuum, 2003.

 

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

 

Written by Dan Wright.

Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars

thinking through faith

Edited by Aristotle Papanikolaou  and Elizabeth H. Prodromou

St Vladimir’s Press, Crestwood, New York, 2008.

This inter-disciplinary collection of essays reveals the breadth of emerging Orthodox scholarship in America. The contributors approach Orthodoxy from the fields of theology, ethics, political science, and psychology, yet each essay remains accessible to non-specialists. Indeed, in the introduction, the editors explain that this collaborative effort is intended to “move beyond the narrow boundaries of theology conventionally understood.” Lay readers, therefore, may find this volume more instructive than researchers already familiar with Orthodox scholarship. However, the range of topics addressed in these essays suggests anyone interested in the Orthodox faith will find reasons to appreciate these new perspectives.

Contributors: John Fotopoulos, Demetrios S Katos, John Behr, George E. Demacopoulas, Valerie A. Karras, James C Skedros, Perry T. Hamalis, Aristotle Papanikolaou, Elizabeth H. Prodromou, Anton C. Vrame, John Klentos, Eleni Maris.

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

Written by Dan Wright.

 

 

Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia

russian orthodoxy resurgantRussian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia offers insight into the significant role of the Orthodox Church in post-Soviet Russia.  The leitmotif of the book is the career of Aleksey Ridiger, enthroned as Patriarch Aleksy II in 1990.  The authors are particularly interested in the summer night in 1991 when the Patriarch all but single-handedly prevented a military coup against the newly elected government led by Boris Yeltsin.  This event is viewed as evidence of a shift in Russian cultural and religious history.  A religious institution marginalized by Soviet atheism and rejected by the masses had regained a prominent and influential place in Russian society.  Patriarch Aleksy then sets out to fully restore Russian Orthodoxy as perhaps the defining aspect of Russian identity.  The Garrards narrate Aleksy’s campaigns to reclaim and rebuild cathedrals seized during Communism and to neutralize anti-Semites and fervent monarchists who blamed Jews for the murder of the Romanovs.  But this is no hagiography; Aleksy is also acknowledged as a thirty year veteran of the KGB and an obstinate antagonist in the recent ecumenical dialogue between East and West.  Aleksy, like Russia itself, is portrayed as a complex and somewhat ambiguous figure perhaps still discovering his post-Soviet identity.

 

John Garrard, professor at the University of Arizona, has authored numerous volumes on Russian history and literature, many with his wife Carol, an independent scholar of English and Russian literature.

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

Written by Dan Wright.

The Mind of the Orthodox Church

Written by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, Bishop of Nafpaktos and Hagios Vlasios in Greece (1945-), The Mind of the Orthodox Church is a thoughtful attempt at summarizing some of the main features of the Eastern Orthodox Tradition, and does so as systematically and comprehensively as possible. It was published in 1998 by Birth of the Theotokos Monastery in Lavadia, Greece. The copy available in the Paradosis collection is an English edition translated by Esther Williams.

If there is any issue at all with Bishop Hierotheos’ work, it is that which is intrinsic to his goal – writing conclusively about the ‘mind’ of the church. Yet even if it is impossible to fully examine such a broad subject, Hierotheos’ work is still incredibly useful for those seeking a relatively brief, yet as comprehensive as possible, summary of the Eastern Orthodox Tradition. Each chapter of The Mind of the Orthodox Church attempts to survey a small subject in Orthodox thinking – whether it be self definition, ways of life, contemporary struggles, church discipline, or even the legacies of the Church Fathers. The collective identity of the Church and its theology as such appears to be most fascinating to the author – and several chapters are systematically devoted to the theology of the ecclesia and its terminology. Bishop Hierotheos writes clearly and precisely, and for newcomers to the academic study of the Orthodox Church, The Mind of The Orthodox Church is well suited as an introduction.

Vlachos, Hierotheos. The Mind of the Orthodox Church. Levadia [Levadhia, Greece]: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery, 1998.

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

Written by Reed Bernick.

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is an official liturgy of the Orthodox Church in America. The copy held in the Paradosis collection features a short discourse at its conclusion given by John Meyendorff (1926-1992), a prominent Orthodox priest and theologian. It was published by the Department of Religious Education of the Orthodox Church in America, New York, NY in 2003.

This copy of the liturgy for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony includes the entire marital rite as it exists in the Orthodox Church in America – including the Service of Betrothal and The Service of Crowning. The text is given in English and features musical notations for the chanted portions of the liturgy. In addition, this particular edition concludes with a small homily on marriage given by John Meyendorff.

Meyendorff, John. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Syosset, NY: Orthodox Church in America, Department of Religious Education,, 2003.

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

Written by Reed Bernick.

The Ancestral Sin

Written by John S. Romanides (1927-2001), a renowned Greek Orthodox theologian and professor, The Ancestral Sin is an in-depth discussion of the differences between Orthodox conceptions of sin and parallel considerations held in the Western Tradition. It was published in 2002, after his death, by Zephyr Publishing, Ridgewood, NJ.

One may incorrectly presume by the title of The Ancestral Sin that the main difference between the Orthodox and the Augustinian traditions is found in the difference between the terms they use: Original Sin and Ancestral Sin. Yet for Romanides, the emphasis is not so much upon the term “Ancestral,” as it is upon the term “sin,” and the entirety of his work is an investigation into the vast implications of this crucial difference.  Critical to this examination is a simple yet poignant question: Is sin our doing or is it the enemy with whom God fights? Surely Romanides would suggest the later. Taken even further, is humanity’s salvation from sin a salvation from the wrath of God or salvation from another – the very enemy of Adam and Eve? For those aware of Romanides’ other work, it is  somewhat unsurprising that his main sparring partner in The Ancestral Sin is not just Augustine, but the entire Western Tradition – which received much of its theology of sin (and thus justification) from Augustine himself. In this thoughtful exposition, Romanides struggles to unearth a Christian understanding of sin that existed two centuries before the birth of the Western Church, and in doing so, breathe new life into the modern Christian’s understanding of justification and grace.

R¯omanid¯es, I¯oann¯es S. The Ancestral Sin. Ridgewood, NJ: Zephyr Pub., 2002.

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

Written by Reed Bernick.

Inventing Latin Heretics: Byzantines and the Filioque in the Ninth Century

Written by Tia M. Kolbaba (1963-), Associate Professor of Byzantine Studies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, Inventing Latin Heretics is an examination of the Ninth Century Byzantine rejection of the Latin Filioque and the subsequent theological and sociological impacts and implications associated with the event. It was published in 2008 by Medieval Institute Publications, a program of The Medieval Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University, Kalmazoo, MI.

The title of Inventing Latin Heretics may imply a more deprecatory opinion of the Byzantines than its content actually suggests. As Kolbaba so poignantly observes in her introduction, part of the challenge in examining early Ninth Century Byzantine texts is the care with which one must acknowledge the lengthy process undertaken by the church in establishing criteria which could justly delineate between trusted teachings and those which must be condemned as heretical. This means that Inventing Latin Heretics is not just a book about the famous Filioque controversy. Quite to the contrary, it is a highly complicated examination of Byzantine anti-heretical writings spanning one of the most important centuries in the life of the Christian church at large. Kolbaba remains faithful in her exposition of this vast scope – even through the detailed discussion of her source texts – and in the end offers valuable historical and theoretical insight into the clash between the Eastern and Western churches.

Kolbaba, Tia M. Inventing Latin Heretics: Byzantines and the Filioque in the Ninth Century. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University, 2008.

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

Written by Reed Bernick.

The Image of Edessa

Written by Mark Guscin, an English scholar who received his doctorate in Medieval Latin from Manchester University, Guscin is known primarily as a linguist and translator yet has also written many books on other subjects. The Image of Edessa reflects Guscin’s expertise, and as a discussion of the history of the famous Image of Edessa, it consists mostly of primary text translations and their exposition. The Image of Edessa was published in 2009 by Brill Publishers as the 82nd volume in a series called The Medieval Mediterranean: Peoples, Economies and Cultures 400-1500.

For readers looking to uncover the hidden history behind the legendary image of Christ given to King Abgar by Jesus Himself, The Image of Edessa provides careful and scholarly support. As Guscin mentions in his introduction, the book is broken into three main components: copies of original source material, translations of these texts into English, and finally, a reconsideration of the image’s history based upon the information gathered within the sources. For too long, a full-bodied consideration of the image has been absent from the scholarly community – of course with the exception of its brief mentioning in much larger, more general contexts. Therefore, Guscin’s task is immense, but in the end, his work accomplishes the job for which it is commissioned when he writes: “I hope to have met Steven Runciman’s wish for the Image of Edessa to have its own complete biography and history with the present book.”

Guscin, Mark. The Image of Edessa. Leiden ; Boston: Brill, 2009.

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

Written by Reed Bernick.

Exegesis and Hermeneutics in the Churches of the East: Select Papers from the SBL Meeting in San Diego

Exegesis and Hermeneutics in the Churches of the East is a compilation of essays discussed in the 2007 Annual gathering of the Society of Biblical Literature held in San Diego, CA. It focuses on the traditions of exegesis established historically in the Orthodox faith – particularly through examinations of the saints and other important biblical scholastics. The collection was published in 2007 by Peter Lang Publishing, New York City, NY.

In November of 2007, scholars gathered to discuss and examine Orthodox Biblical interpretation and education at an annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature held in San Diego, California. The title of these discussions was “Bible in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions,” and due to the phenomenal scholarship involved in preparing for the discussion, the papers presented at the meeting fully merited their publication in this collection, edited by one of the presenters, Vahan S. Hovhanessian. The approach of the essay varies greatly from piece to piece, yet each attempts to better grasp a particular brand of Biblical exegesis established by a prominent figure or systematic in Orthodox history – from the mind of St. Ephrem to the pages of the lectionaries. Writers include: Dale Loepp, J.W. Childers, Karen S. Winslow, Michael C. Legaspi, Bradley Nassif, Matthew W.G. Francis, Eugemoa Scarvelis Constantinou, Timothy S. Clark, Erik W. Kolb, Dragos Giulea, and Vahan S. Hovhanessian.

Society of Biblical Literature. Meeting (2007 : San Diego, Calif. ). Exegesis and Hermeneutics in the Churches of the East: Select Papers from the SBL Meeting in San Diego, 2007. New York: Peter Lang, 2009.

Search the University of Virginia’s library catalog to find this book, or look for it in Paradosis’ Fully Searchable Zotero Bibliogaphy.

Written by Reed Bernick.