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Orthodox Reading

It is not yet available, and it is rather difficult to get information about its contents, but an interesting new book is coming out next year on Orthodox theology: The Cambridge Companion to Christian Orthodox Theology.  I do know that it will have a submission from Prof. Papanikolaou of Fordham, who recently organised a conference on Orthodox readings of Augustine (whose papers will be published in a volume edited by Papanikolaou and Prof. Demacopoulos) and who has also written a work on the Trinitarian theology of Lossky and Zizioulas, Being with God: Trinity, Apophaticism and Divine-Human Communion.  I would have very much liked to attend the Augustine conference, but the timing was no good for me.  Another excellent (and expensive) collection of papers that came out in recent years, unrelated to Prof. Papanikolaou, was the volume Byzantine Orthodoxies, edited by Prof. Louth, which has a wonderful paper on the Arian controversy by Fr. John Behr and another on the Synodikon.

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2 Comments To "Orthodox Reading"

#1 Comment By John42 On November 27, 2007 @ 8:03 pm

What is a good book that gives a general overview of (the Orthodox churches? Orthodoxy? I don’t even know how you’re supposed to refer to Orthodoxy as a whole) – for someone like me who doesn’t have any theological training?
After reading your blog for almost two years I am curious to find out more.

#2 Comment By Daniel Larison On November 28, 2007 @ 5:05 am

I’d be glad to help. Orthodoxy is a generally acceptable term to refer to the Church and her teachings together, or you can simply refer to the Orthodox Church. There are many local churches, but, as our friend Khomyakov would say, the Church is one. As an introduction, Timothy (Bishop Kallistos) Ware’s The Orthodox Church is still probably the best widely-available guide to Orthodox Church history and teaching in English; he also wrote The Orthodox Way, which is not bad. I have heard some good things about Daniel Clendenin’s introductory works on Orthodoxy. As I understand it, Clendenin writes from the perspective of a respectful outside observer trying to explain the ways of the Orthodox to Protestants.

If you want some more theologically intense overviews, Meyendorff’s Byzantine Theology is a decent starting-place. It is technical and academic, but quite readable if that’s what you’re looking for. Lossky’s In The Image and Likeness of God is also pretty accessible. For a straight, detailed historical narrative of some of the Church’s history, J.M. Hussey’s old The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire is still a good choice. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press has also been putting together an excellent “Church in History” series that has prominent Orthodox academics writing on different periods of Orthodox Church history. Meyendorff’s Imperial Unity on the post-Chalcedonian period is very good.

I would say start with Ware and then move on to the others if you have an interest. You can find it in most bookstores or readily order it, and it isn’t more than 250 pages as I recall.