Eastern Orthodoxy Through Western Eyes

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In the last decade, Eastern Orthodoxy has moved from being virtually unknown to Western Christians to being a significant presence on the religious scene in North America and Great Britain. In light of Orthodoxy's growing presence, this book will introduce Western Christians to the Eastern Orthodox vision of the Christian life by examining Orthodox theology and worship and will also alert readers to the cultural and historical factors that shape any interpretation of the Christian faith.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Eastern Orthodox Christians in the United States number more than three million, a membership higher than that of some mainline Protestant denominations. Yet the doctrine and practice of the world's second-largest group of Christians has lacked American interpreters with a popular touch. Readers who like their Orthodoxy with a strong Reformed Protestant flavor will enjoy this careful West-meets-East primer. An Erskine University professor, Fairbairn has the advantage of having spent significant time in the former Soviet Union. He sensitively fleshes out Orthodox doctrine in counterpoint with traditional Reformed Protestant theology. While using the expatriate Russian Orthodox writers of the 20th century as his main resources, he is comfortable traveling more than a millennium backwards in time to probe the roots of Orthodox theology. Although he expends considerable effort parsing the role of icons, Church tradition, and the meaning of theosis (human transformation into the divine likeness), Fairbairn argues it is most crucial to grasp the nuances of the place of Scripture in the Eastern churches. "It is the unfinished task of Christians and of the entire Church to develop the mind of Christ, to move closer to a fully biblical expression of faith and practice," he states. Although Fairbairn is critical of what he terms the distortions of popular and nationalistic Orthodoxy, he sympathetically and carefully aims to present Eastern church history and doctrine in such a way that his Western Protestant and Roman Catholic readers can better understand their own faith. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780664224974
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
  • Publication date: 7/18/2005
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 536,198
  • Product dimensions: 0.51 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald Fairbairn is Professor of Historical Theology and Associate Dean of Theology at Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, South Carolina.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction--Double Vision 1
Part I The Source of the Orthodox Vision: Tradition 9
Chapter 1 Authority versus Life 11
Chapter 2 Tradition and the Church 23
Chapter 3 Tradition and Its Expressions 33
Part II The Heart of the Orthodox Vision: Union with God 49
Chapter 4 God as Darkness; God as Three 51
Chapter 5 Humanity: Creation, Vocation, and Fall 65
Chapter 6 Salvation: The Path of Theosis 79
Chapter 7 Salvation and the Communion of Saints 97
Chapter 8 Orthodoxy and the West: Seeing through Each Other's Eyes 111
Part III The Orthodox Vision and Its Distortions 129
Chapter 9 Popular Orthodoxy 131
Chapter 10 Orthodoxy and Nationalism 143
Conclusion--Single Vision? 153
Appendix A Recommended Reading 161
Appendix B Suggestions for Christian Workers in the East 167
Appendix C The Structure and Organization of Orthodoxy 179
Appendix D The Orthodox Liturgical Calendar 183
Notes 185
Select Bibliography 199
Author Index 203
Subject Index 205
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