CHRESTOS GIANNARAS, KEITH SCHRAM, CHRISTOS YANNARAS
Title: Elements of Faith : An Introduction to Orthodox Theology
Binding: Paper Back
Book Condition: New
Publisher: Continuum Intl Pub Group June 1991
0567291901 / 9780567291905
Seller ID: 126317
Contrary to appearances -- divisions into categories like The Problem of God, Faith, God as Trinity, The World, Man, Jesus Christ, The Church, and Orthodoxy -- Elements of Faith is not your typical ''Introduction to Orthodoxy.'' It is rather a digest, a summary of volumes of theological and philosophical reflection by one of contemporary Orthodoxy's most brilliant representatives, laid out in a series of reflective definitions. Though the structure might seem conventional, the content is marked by a boldness and originality that yet hews to Orthodoxy. Its outline format saves the reader from being overwhelmed by Yannaras' richness of expression. He plumbs the doctrine of the Church in startlingly beautiful turns of phrase. Concerning faith: ''The 'divine eros' which is given birth within us becomes a dynamic transformation of faith 'from glory to glory,' an uninterrupted astonishment at his revelations, an astonishment which abolishes time.'' Concerning the Fathers: ''The conscience of the faithful recognized in their persons a work analogous to that of the Holy Mother of God: Just as she offered her body for the historical incarnation of the Son and Word of God, so the Fathers offered their astonishing intellectual gifts, with holiness and purity of judgment, in order that the truth of the revelation of God take on the historical 'flesh' of the language of men.'' Concerning guilt: '''In true eros, the soul veils the body,'' said Nietzsche, whose obstinate atheism did not always render useless the faculty within him to perceive the truth. And from the other side, a saint, Isaac the Syrian, completes his word: 'Love does not know shame... love is naturally unabashed and oblivous to her measure.''' And on and on. The sections dealing with ecclesiology and tradition, and the relationship of Orthodoxy with the West are polemical to the point of distortion, but nevertheless present questions that must be answered with disciplined care. Though Yannaras' sword is obviously unsheathed, his intellectual mettle is of a caliber that deserves careful attention.