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To many in the West, Orthodoxy remains shrouded in mystery, an exotic and foreign religion that survived in the East following the Great Schism of 1054 that split the Christian world into two camps-Catholic and Orthodox. However, as the second largest Christian denomination, Orthodox Christianity is anything but foreign to the nearly 300 million worshippers who practice it. For them, Orthodoxy is a living, breathing reality; a way of being Christian ultimately rooted in the person of Jesus and the experience of the early Church. Whether they are Greek, Russian, or American, Orthodox Christians are united by a common tradition and faith that binds them together despite differences in culture. True, the road has not always been smooth-Orthodox history is littered with tales of schisms and divisions, of persecutions and martyrdom, from the Sack of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire and seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to the experience of the Russian Orthodox Church under the Soviet Union. Still, today Orthodoxy remains a vibrant part of the religious landscape, not only in those lands where it has made its historic home (Greece, Russia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe), but also increasingly in the West. Orthodox Christianity: A Very Short Introduction explores the enduring role of this religion, and the history, beliefs, and practices that have shaped it.
There are other introductory books about Orthodoxy. This one comprehensively covers the history, theology, and practice without talking over your head. Mathewes- Green takes the original approach of bringing you into a typical church for a series of visits. That is how Christians learned the faith for most of history, by coming into a community and keeping their eyes and ears open. Designed primarily for newcomers to come to understand Orthodoxy and Orthodox Christians, this guide to the faith is also a non-threatening and accessible introduction to people already "in the pews." Inviting rather than argumentative, this is a book Orthodox Christians will be giving to their friends.
At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, University of California Press's Open Access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more. The Stranger at the Feast is a pathbreaking ethnographic study of one of the world's oldest and least-understood religious traditions. Based on long-term ethnographic research on the Zege peninsula in northern Ethiopia, the author tells the story of how people have understood large-scale religious change by following local transformations in hospitality, ritual prohibition, and feeding practices. Ethiopia has undergone radical upheaval in the transition from the imperial era of Haile Selassie to the modern secular state, but the secularization of the state has been met with the widespread revival of popular religious practice. For Orthodox Christians in Zege, everything that matters about religion comes back to how one eats and fasts with others. Boylston shows how practices of feeding and avoidance have remained central even as their meaning and purpose has dramatically changed: from a means of marking class distinctions within Orthodox society, to a marker of the difference between Orthodox Christians and other religions within the contemporary Ethiopian state.
Deification in Russian Religious Thought considers the reception of the Eastern Christian (Orthodox) doctrine of deification by Russian religious thinkers of the immediate pre-revolutionary period. Deification is the metaphor that the Greek patristic tradition came to privilege in its articulation of the Christian concept of salvation: to be saved is to be deified, that is, to share in the divine attribute of immortality. In the Christian narrative of the Orthodox Church 'God became human so that humans might become gods'. Ruth Coates shows that between the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 Russian religious thinkers turned to deification in their search for a commensurate response to the apocalyptic dimension of the universally anticipated destruction of the Russian autocracy and the social and religious order that supported it. Focusing on major works by four prominent thinkers of the Russian Religious Renaissance-Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Nikolai Berdiaev, Sergei Bulgakov, and Pavel Florensky-Coates demonstrates the salience of the deification theme and explores the variety of forms of its expression. She argues that the reception of deification in this period is shaped by the discourse of early Russian cultural modernism, and informed not only by theology, but also by nineteenth-century currents in Russian religious culture and German philosophy, particularly as these are received by the novelist Fedor Dostoevsky and the philosopher Vladimir Soloviev. In the works that are analysed, deification is taken out of its original theological context and applied respectively to politics, creativity, economics, and asceticism. At the same time, all the thinkers represented in the book view deification as a project: a practice that should deliver the total transformation and immortalisation of human beings, society, culture, and the material universe, and this is what connects them to deification's theological source.
The glory of the Italian Renaissance came not only from Europe's Latin heritage, but also from the rich legacy of another renaissance - the palaeologan of late Byzantium. This nexus of Byzantine and Latin cultural and ecclesiastical relations in the Renaissance and Medieval periods is the underlying theme of the diverse and far-ranging essays in ""Constantinople and the West"". Addressing the disputed, provocative question of Palaeologan influence on Italian Renaissance humanism, the author systematically demonstrates that Byzantine scholars were not merely transmitters of ancient Greek writings to the West. More significantly, the Byzantine emigre scholars in Italy, through their intimate knowledge of the Alexandrian and Byzantine traditions, alone were able to unlock and authentically interpret the more difficult texts of Aristotle, Plato, Hermogenes, and other Greek thinkers. Geanakoplos shows that the Byzantine refugee scholars and their Italian disciples were able to promote a fusion of elements of both the Italian and Palaeologan renaissances. Other essays concern the careers of influential Palaeologan humanists such as Theodore Gaza, the leading secular Aristotelian of the early Italian Renaissance, and John Argyropoulos, who was probably chiefly responsible for shifting the emphasis of Florentine humanism from rhetoric to Platonic philosophy. The essays in the second half of the book deal primarily with ecclesiastical relations. The author probes deeply into encounters between Greek and Roman churches at councils in Lyons, Florence, and elsewhere, which reflect the centuries of recurring religious schism and attempted reunion. He also offers a revealing glimpse of the Greek exaltation, and of Hagia Sophia and its properties, after Constantinople's liberation from Latin rule in 1261. While all of the essays have been printed previously, the author has revised and brought them entirely up to date for this volume. ""Constantinople and the West"" should be invaluable to those interested in the Byzantine and Italian Renaissance, and reward students of Medieval history, church history, and those who are interested in the comparative history of the East and West.
An exposition of Orthodox systematic theology, 'Gazing on God' is written from the point of view of the experience of the faithful, drawing on traditional icons and liturgy. By tracing the depth of some key Christian concepts -salvation, Logos, the Trinity- Andreas Andreopoulos provides a framework for the theology of experience. In the following chapters seven select icons are analyzed, in order to demonstrate the theological ideas and themes that may be revealed by studying Christianity through iconography. The analysis touches on topics such as time (the eternity of God, 'flat' liturgical time), space, the Church as the Body of Christ, and the Trinity. 'Gazing on God' offers to all Christian traditions a demonstration that, while our understanding of the development of Christian views and attitudes is guided by the history of theological ideas, Christianity includes from the beginning a strong dimension of meta-linguistic knowledge, which is expressed in its liturgy, as well as in its symbolism.
Georges Florovsky is the mastermind of a 'return to the Church Fathers' in twentieth-century Orthodox theology. His theological vision-the neopatristic synthesis-became the main paradigm of Orthodox theology and the golden standard of Eastern Orthodox identity in the West. Focusing on Florovsky's European period (1920-1948), this study analyses how Florovsky's evolving interpretation of Russian religious thought, particularly Vladimir Solovyov and Sergius Bulgakov, informed his approach to patristic sources. Paul Gavrilyuk offers a new reading of Florovsky's neopatristic theology, by closely considering its ontological, epistemological and ecclesiological foundations. It is common to contrast Florovsky's neopatristic theology with the 'modernist' religious philosophies of Pavel Florensky, Sergius Bulgakov, and other representatives of the Russian Religious Renaissance. Gavrilyuk argues that the standard narrative of twentieth-century Orthodox theology, based on this polarization, must be reconsidered. The author demonstrates Florovsky's critical appropriation of the main themes of the Russian Religious Renaissance, including theological antinomies, the meaning of history, and the nature of personhood. The distinctive features of Florovsky's neopatristic theology Christological focus, 'ecclesial experience', personalism, and 'Christian Hellenism' are best understood against the background of the main problematic of the Renaissance. Specifically, it is shown that Bulgakov's sophiology provided a polemical subtext for Florovsky's theology of creation. It is argued that the use of the patristic norm in application to modern Russian theology represents Florovsky's theological signature. Drawing on unpublished archival material and correspondence, this study sheds new light on such aspects of Florovsky's career as his family background, his participation in the Eurasian movement, his dissertation on Alexander Herzen, his lectures on Vladimir Solovyov, and his involvement in Bulgakov's Brotherhood of St Sophia.
The Idea of Nicaea in the Early Church Councils examines the role that appeals to Nicaea (both the council and its creed) played in the major councils of the mid-fifth century. It argues that the conflict between rival construals of Nicaea, and the struggle convincingly to arbitrate between them, represented a key dynamic driving-and unsettling-the conciliar activity of these decades. Mark S. Smith identifies a set of inherited assumptions concerning the role that Nicaea was expected to play in orthodox discourse-namely, that it possessed unique authority as a conciliar event, and sole sufficiency as a credal statement. The fundamental dilemma was thus how such shibboleths could be persuasively reaffirmed in the context of a dispute over Christological doctrine that the resources of the Nicene Creed were inadequate to address, and how the convening of new oecumenical councils could avoid fatally undermining Nicaea's special status. Smith examines the articulation of these contested ideas of 'Nicaea' at the councils of Ephesus I (431), Constantinople (448), Ephesus II (449), and Chalcedon (451). Particular attention is paid to the role of conciliar acta in providing carefully-shaped written contexts within which the Nicene Creed could be read and interpreted. This study proposes that the capacity of the idea of 'Nicaea' for flexible re-expression was a source of opportunity as well as a cause of strife, allowing continuity with the past to be asserted precisely through adaptation and modification, and opening up significant new paths for the articulation of credal and conciliar authority. The work thus combines a detailed historical analysis of the reception of Nicaea in the proceedings of the fifth-century councils, with an examination of the complex delineation of theological 'orthodoxy' in this period. It also reflects more widely on questions of doctrinal development and ecclesial reception in the early church.
During Russia's late imperial period, Orthodox churchmen, professionally trained theologians, and an array of social commentators sought to give meaning to Russian history and its supposed backwardness. Many found that meaning in asceticism. For some, ascetic religiosity prevented Russia from achieving its historical destiny. For others, it was the means by which the Russian people would realize the Kingdom of God, thereby saving Holy Russia and the world from the satanic forces of the West. Patrick Lally Michelson's intellectual history of asceticism in Russian Orthodox thought traces the development of these competing arguments from the early nineteenth century to the early months of World War I. He demonstrates that this discourse was an imaginative interpretation of lived Orthodoxy, primarily meant to satisfy the ideological needs of Russian thinkers and Orthodox intellectuals as they responded to the socioeconomic, political, and cultural challenges of modernity.
Distinguished Scholars Explore Early Christian Views on the Problem of Evil What did the early church teach about the problem of suffering and evil in the world? In this volume, distinguished historians and theologians explore a range of ancient Christian responses to this perennial problem. The ecumenical team of contributors includes John Behr, Gary Anderson, Brian Daley, and Bishop Kallistos Ware, among others. This is the fourth volume in Holy Cross Studies in Patristic Theology and History, a partnership between Baker Academic and the Pappas Patristic Institute of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. The series is a deliberate outreach by the Orthodox community to Protestant and Catholic seminarians, pastors, and theologians.
T. H. Robinson's Paradigms and exercises in Syriac Grammar was first published in 1915 to meet the need for 'something of an elementary nature which should be of value to the student who takes up Syriac for the first time'. Since then, the book has met this need for generations of students. The fifth edition of 2002 remains the grammar of choice for many teachers of Syriac classes as well as for students learning by themselves. The present revision, drawing on ten more years of university teaching experience and students' comments, clarifies some of the grammatical explanations and exercises. Improvements to the fonts and a larger format make for easier reading. As before, the West Syriac script and grammatical tradition are followed in the body of the lessons, and appendices introduce reading in the other (estrangela and Eastern) scripts. The book remains a plain and friendly introduction to this important language.
The Middle East is the birthplace of Christianity and the home to a number of Eastern Churches with millions of followers. This book provides a comprehensive survey of the various denominations in the modern Middle East and will be of interest to a wide variety of scholars and students studying theology, history and politics.
This is first ever English translation of one of Maximus' most significant contributions. Maximus the Confessor (580-662) was a monk whose writings focused on ascetical interpretations of biblical and patristic works. For his refusal to accept the Monothelite position supported by Emperor Constans II, he was tried as a, heretic his right hand was cut off, and his tongue was cut out. A major theologian of the Byzantine Church, St. Maximus is venerated in both Eastern and Western Christian traditions. Despina Prassas' translation of the "Quaestiones et Dubia" presents for the first time in English one of the Confessor's most significant contributions to early Christian biblical interpretation. The original work is believed to have been written before 626 while the monk was a member of a community located near Constantinople. The text is a series of 239 interrogations and responses addressing theological, philosophical, ascetical, spiritual, and liturgical concerns. In his work, Maximus the Confessor brings together the patristic exegetical aporiai tradition and the spiritual-pedagogical tradition of monastic questions and responses. The overarching theme is the importance of the ascetical life. For Maximus, askesis is a life-long endeavor that consists of the struggle and discipline to maintain control over the passions. One engages in the ascetical life by taking part in both theoria (contemplation) and praxis (action). To convey this teaching, Maximus uses a number of pedagogical tools including allegory, etymology, number symbolism, and military terminology. Prassas provides a rich historical and contextual background in her Introduction to help ground and familiarize the reader with this work. As the first focused study of the "Quaestiones et Dubia", this important book will appeal to the growing audience of readers interested in Maximus the Confessor and, more broadly, to scholars and students of early Christianity, early Byzantine monasticism, and patristic biblical exegesis.
By the early twentieth century, a genuine renaissance of religious
thought and a desire for ecclesial reform were emerging in the
Russian Orthodox Church. With the end of tsarist rule and
widespread dissatisfaction with government control of all aspects
of church life, conditions were ripe for the Moscow Council of
1917-1918 to come into being. The council was a major event in the
history of the Orthodox Church. After years of struggle for reform
against political and ecclesiastical resistance, the bishops,
clergy, monastics, and laity who formed the Moscow Council were
able to listen to one other and make sweeping decisions intended to
renew the Russian Orthodox Church. Council members sought change in
every imaginable area--from seminaries and monasteries, to parishes
and schools, to the place of women in church life and governance.
Like Vatican II, the Moscow Council emphasized the mission of the
church in and to the world.
The schism that split the Russian Orthodox Church in 1667 alienated thousands of devout men and women - the Old Believers - who practiced their faith as outsiders for more than two centuries. Always at odds with the established Russian Orthodox Church and the tsar, these worshipers created a "culture of community" distinct from the dominant culture and society. Robson explores how the Old Believers adapted to rapid change in the early 20th century and reveals the many facets of Old Believer life.
Modern Orthodox theology represents a continuity of the Eastern Christian theological tradition stretching back to the early Church and especially to the Ancient Fathers of the Church. This volume considers the full range of modern Orthodox theology. The first chapters of the book offer a chronological study of the development of modern Orthodox theology, beginning with a survey of Orthodox theology from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the early 19th century. Ladouceur then focuses on theology in imperial Russia, the Russian religious renaissance at the beginning of the 20th century, and the origins and nature of neopatristic theology, as well as the new theology in Greece and Romania, and tradition and the restoration of patristic thought. Subsequent chapters examine specific major themes: - God and Creation - Divine-humanity, personhood and human rights - The Church of Christ - Ecumenical theology and religious diversity - The 'Christification' of life - Social and Political Theology - The 'Name-of-God' conflict - The ordination of women The volume concludes with assessments of major approaches of modern Orthodox theology and reflections on the current status and future of Orthodox theology. Designed for classroom use, the book features: - case studies - a detailed index - a list of recommended readings for each chapter
This book explores how traces of the energies and dynamics of Orthodox Christian theology and anthropology may be observed in the clinical work of depth psychology. Looking to theology to express its own religious truths and to psychology to see whether these truth claims show up in healing modalities, the author creatively engages both disciplines in order to highlight the possibilities for healing contained therein. Dynamis of Healing elucidates how theology and psychology are by no means fundamentally at odds with each other but rather can work together in a beautiful and powerful synergia to address both the deepest needs and deepest desires of the human person for healing and flourishing.
International Besteller: The 21 was an instant bestseller in Europe upon its publication in German in February 2018. Major media event: The brutal killing of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIS in Libya was an unforgettable moment that still arouses interest. Publication date is on the four-year anniversary of the event. Center of a continuing global conflict: The turmoil in the Middle East and the issues of Islamic extremism, refugees, and economic migration that the book address continue to capture headlines regularly. Sheds light on a fascinating subculture: Coptic Christianity is an intriguing but little-understood religion in the center of the Middle Eastern conflict.
Passage into the modern world left the Russian icon profoundly altered. It fell into new hands, migrated to new homes, and acquired new forms and meanings. Icons were made in the factories of foreign industrialists and destroyed by iconoclasts of the proletariat. Even the icon's traditional functions--whether in the feast days of the church or the pageantry of state power--were susceptible to the transformative forces of modernization. In Alter Icons: The Russian Icon and Modernity, eleven scholars of Russian history, art, literature, cinema, philosophy, and theology track key shifts in the production, circulation, and consumption of the Russian icon from Peter the Great's Enlightenment to the post-Soviet revival of Orthodoxy. Alter Icons shows how the twin pressures of secular scholarship and secular art transformed the Russian icon from a sacred image in the church to a masterpiece in the museum, from a parochial craftwork to a template for the avant-garde, and from a medieval interface with the divine to a modernist prism for seeing the world anew.
In addition to the editors, the contributors are Robert Bird, Elena Boeck, Shirley A. Glade, John-Paul Himka, John Anthony McGuckin, Robert L. Nichols, Sarah Pratt, Wendy R. Salmond, and Vera Shevzov.
St Basil's homilies on the subject of wealth and poverty, although delivered in the fourth century, remain utterly fresh and contemporary. Whether you possess great wealth or have modest means, at the heart of Basil's message stands the maxim: Simplify your life, so you have something to share with others. While some patristic texts relate to obscure and highly philosophical questions, Basil's teachings on social issues are immediately understood andapplicable. At a time when vast income disparity and overuse of limited environmental resources are becoming matters of increasing concern, Basil's message is more relevant now than ever before.
Two leading academic scholars offer the first comprehensive source reader on the Eastern Orthodox church for the English-speaking world. Designed specifically for students and accessible to readers with little or no previous knowledge of theology or religious history, this essential, one-of-a-kind work frames, explores, and interprets Eastern Orthodoxy through the use of primary sources and documents. Lively introductions and short narratives that touch on anthropology, art, law, literature, music, politics, women's studies, and a host of other areas are woven together to provide a coherent and fascinating history of the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition.
"Converging Worlds" describes the interplay between peasant religious life and the broader social and cultural transformation of late tsarist Russia. Through a detailed examination of religious practices and ceremonies among the peasantry in the province of Voronezh, Chulos challenges existing conceptions of religion in Russia and sheds new light on the development of modern national identity. Age-old rituals, customs, and beliefs helped peasants to adapt to industrialization and modernization by providing a spiritual and psychological framework for change. The dependable rhythms of village holidays and rituals marking the stages of human life gave the peasantry a sense of stability and comfort as their traditions slowly unraveled in the face of urban culture. Encouraged by educated Russians who traveled the countryside in search of the ideal national type, peasant communities began to reconstruct tales of their village origin. These stories linked people in remote locales to the central events and heroes of imperial Russian history. Village and urban cultural worlds clashed over peasant demands for the devolution of political, cultural, and social authority. By the time revolutionary fervor ignited the countryside in 1905, the village faithful demonstrated a new confidence in their ability to shape their own future and Russia's as they agitated for greater control over local religious life. By 1917, peasant disenchantment reached new heights and helped to create a new popular Orthodoxy that no longer looked to tsar and church as valid sources of authority and identity. As peasant believers took control of their local religious life, they inadvertently aided antireligious activists in driving religion underground, thereby estranging future generations from a fundamental pillar of their cultural heritage."
Surrounded by steep escarpments to the north, south and east, Ethiopia has always been geographically and culturally set apart. It has the longest archaeological record of any country in the world: indeed, this precipitous mountain land was where the human race began. It is also home to an ancient church with a remarkable legacy. The Church of Ethiopia is the only pre-colonial church in sub-Saharan Africa; today it has a membership of around forty million and is rapidly growing. This book is the first major study of a community which has developed a distinctive approach different from all other churches. John Binns explains how its special features have shaped the life of the Ethiopian people, and how political changes since the overthrow of Haile Selassie have forced the Church to rethink its identity and mission. He discusses the famous rock-hewn churches; the Ark of the Covenant (claimed by the Church and housed in Aksum); medieval monasticism; relations with the Coptic Church; centuries of co-existence with Islam; missionary activity; and the Church's venerable oral traditions of poetic allegorical reflection.
St Symeon was the most important teacher of mystical experience of God in the Orthodox Church. This book seeks to place the teaching of the discourses in their proper context, both among Symeon's other writings and with regard to his sources in the Tradition. Included is a sketch of Symeon's life and times, together with an extensive discussion of this thought, particularly against its background in the ascetical, mystical and theological literature of the Christian East prior to the 10th century.
This new political history of the Orthodox Church in the Ottoman Empire explains why Orthodoxy became the subject of acute political competition between the Great Powers during the mid 19th century. It also explores how such rivalries led, paradoxically, both to secularizing reforms and to Europe's last great war of religion - the Crimean War.
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