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Lectures in Christian Dogmatics Paperback – 18 Dec 2008


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
In praise of ecclesial sense 14 Mar 2009
By Edward M. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sense again meets reader in Metropolitan John's (Zizioulas) latest text in translation. Superb editing by Dr. Douglas H. Knight, coupled with a succinct introduction by the same, should move this book to the top of any reading list among students of theology, ecumenism, international politics, sociology, economics, languages and cultures.

Chapters were compiled across three decades by the author's students in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, and Thessalonika. Therefore, references are far less in number than prior books, but scholarship and precision in language are no less exact. In effect, the method of inquiry is a three-decade long conversation with students, to whom the author dedicates the book.

Mainstays of Metropolitan John's "dogmatic hermeneutics" are collected in this book. These include the nature of dogma, doctrine of God and personhood, creation and salvation, and the Church. His approach identifies a relational method by which dogmatics might be interpreted by every age of history, including our own.

Relations, he argues, stem from the "what" and "how" of God. God creates and saves according to divine substance or essence ("what"), but divine substance cannot be known. Instead, divine substance must manifest in a particular way, which is to say that God makes known three Persons.

Of course, these ideas do not originate with Metropolitan John, but rather with a group of faithful Christians called the Cappadocian Fathers. However, the author does not simply re-state the Fathers. He presents dogma in fresh light.

For example, while admitted differences persist between Eastern and Latin Churches (communions), the author accomplishes real dialogue between both parts by casting ecclesiology in terms of "faith." Faith supports differences that enrich all Christians, thereby dismissing a mistaken view that differences must cause division. Even this idea originates with Maximus the Confessor among others, but its application to contemporary divisions and a spirit of divisiveness gathers collectve assent.

I wish to add one final note. Metropolitan John musters a cogent argument against the Filioque (third article of the Nicene Creed: "...proceeds...from the Son"). His approach addresses history and then delves into theology, while grounding discussion in reference to the Church. This is no small task to finish in seven pages, yet he succeeds in my opinion.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I am a Southern Baptist but cannot ignore this work 24 April 2013
By Oxford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Ecumenical integrative theology rooted in Orthodox yet balanced hermeneutics of the West and East, of old and new, of history and philosophy, of rational and relational, of ritual but also sacramental, of spiritual yet conservatively biblical, and thus very powerful. Zizioulas's theological method is highly controversial, but its uniqueness and plausibility make criticism reserved. Even from a ardent Southern Baptist perspective his methodology and insights are undeniable. Zizoulas take the following terms as his loci: freedom, Saint Maximus Confessor, the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, and most importantly the communion of the Trinity. His emphasis buttresses his central claim that church is a living organism of Christ and the Holy Spirit through the Eucharist--the eternal (i.e., past, present and future) eschaton, which connects the created with uncreated.

Zizoulas keeps the possibility of one communion church in his mind: unity and diversity between churches whether Eastern or Western, or Catholic or Protestant are supposed to be ecumenical in this one church model. Following Rahner and the Second Vatican tradition Zizoulas asserts that economy of the Trinity begins with ontology of God the Father, who is only and always existent with the Son and the Holy Spirit (26, 132). This communion view of the Trinity makes him assert that the Eucharist is the center (the author calls it "identity of the Church," 124) of connecting time with timeless, and God the creator with the created. Based on many Church Fathers especially with Saint Maximus Confessor, Zizoulas argues that since the Reformation the West has emphasized Christology in the expense of losing pneumatology. Such elitism and ignorance makes believers to believe that "[they] are not in need of the institutional community of the Church" (130). However, we must realize that the personal aspect of spirituality and piety should not be sacrificed for community of the Church for it was not absent in the tradition of the Orthodox Church. Thus overall Zizoulas provides some neglected substances that we should carefully reconsider.
A very good book 30 Jan 2014
By Rolf Breemes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good book which I bought for my son who is studying Theology at the university Groningen Netherlands.

Very satisfied!Higly Recommended!
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