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Orthodox Dogmatic Theology Paperback – 1 Jan 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood (1 Jan. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0938635697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938635697
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 533,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The purpose of theology is "to give one the energy and encouragement to struggle towards God and our heavenly homeland" There is an emphasis on the inseparable bond between the Church on earth and the Heavenly Church. A standard and vital textbook of Dogmatic Theology.

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Amazon.com: 17 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Overview of Orthodox Thought 12 July 2005
By JustinK - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A very complete overview of Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, from a traditional Orthodox perspective. While not as broad in it's scope as other books, such as "The Orthodox Church" by Bp. Kallistos, the smaller scope of the book does allow for a closer examination of the subjects that are dealth with, and Fr. Michael Pomazansky does this quite well.

This book is a systematic examination of Orthodox theology, and for that some have criticized it; systematic, catechism, etc. are four-letter words for some Orthodox. However, one cannot help but wonder why organization as it happens in this book could ever be considered a bad thing. Perhaps only behind "The Orthodox Church" and "The Orthodox Way," this is the book that I would most likely recommend to anyone wishing to have a broad but intellectually satisfying overview of what the Orthodox believe.

I do have two minor issues with the text as it is today. First, it is impossible to tell when footnotes are from Fr. Seraphim Rose (the translator) or Fr. Michael (the author). This has caused a problem at times when I know that Fr. Seraphim feels a certain way about a subject, but I am not sure whether Fr. Michael also feels the same way. A lengthy footnote is sometimes provided, but with no indentification as to who is speaking.

And second, Fr. Seraphim does seem to insert things into the book that were not originally part of the book. While this is not uncommon in books published by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, and while these additions are given in appendices, I still feel like it is an unfortunate move sometimes, as in a case like this book where the appendices bring in a controversial tone to the book that would have otherwise been absent. If I lend or give this book to someone and they have questions about Orthodoxy, I'd much rather try and answer questions about icons or Mary, and not controversial subjects like the Dogma of Redemption.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Speaking to the heart 6 Jun. 2008
By Anastasia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To quote from the 'Translator's Preface', written by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose, 1981: "One of the major advantages of this book is its simplicity of presentation. It was written not for academic theologians, but primarily for pastors, and thus it has a practical approach that is missing in many works of contemporary academic theology. In his theological writings, Fr Michael remains deeply rooted in the tradition of the Orthodox Church, not trying to supercede with his own private opinions any revelation that the Church has handed down to us.... his intent here is to write about exactly what the Church teaches -- what pastors can give to their flocks as the certain, unchanging teaching of the church -- and not about what is "disputed". There is a distinct wholeness in Fr. Michael's approach, which allows for no confusion over the Church's actual teaching. Another advantage of this book, especially for pastors who deal with converts to Orthodoxy from various religious denominations, is that it contrasts the traditional Orthodox teaching with the errors and innovations of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism."

And further "Fr. Michael is the last surviving graduate of a pre-revolutionary Russian theological academy (that of Kiev), and is therefore one of the few living contacts we have with the long-standing centers of traditional Russian theology, the direct inheritance of the Byzantine Fathers. Always faithful to the instruction of the Church, his actual "school" is, ultimately, the Church herself".

I love this book. I love this book because while it is scholarly, and in fact is used as a text at the Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York, it speaks to the heart. This is terribly important as Orthodoxy is a faith which speaks to the heart. "The soul... naturally seeks a personal God" (God's Revelation to the Human Heart, Fr Seraphim Rose, p6). "Why does a person study religion?... to come into contact with reality" (ibid, p 13), "a person must be in a religious search not for the sake of religious experiences, which can deceive, but for the sake of truth." (ibid, p18) "If you look at a textbook of Orthodox theology, you will find that the truth cannot be found by the unaided posers of man. You can read the Scriptures or any holy book and not even understand what they say.." When in Acts 8 (28-39) the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip and told him to go south toward Jerusalem, and along the way he encountered the eunuch, the eunuch requested of Philip that he tell him what it meant. "There are several supernatural, mystical elements in this account... there was something else that affected him: not miracles, but something in his heart." (ibid, p 19)"When Philip spoke to the ethiopian eunuch, something in the eunuch's heart changed." This is the reason the eunuch was baptized and became a Christian.

This is how God reveals Himself to mankind, in a personal way, He speaks to our hearts. This book speaks to the heart. It is written in a personal, kind and loving way to tell the truths of the Orthodox Church. It warms the heart and inspires the faithful. That is wonderful, simply wonderful in a teaching book. There are many good theological books out there, very scholastic. However to find one which speaks to one's heart, this is a rare gem. I recommend it highly.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book on Orthodox Dogmatics. 22 Oct. 2009
By Brother Hamza Philip - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Orthodox Dogmatic Theology is a top-notch introduction to Orthodox Theology for the Orthodox Christian, the Catechumen, or the Outsider (that's me). I keep this on my shelf along with The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos Ware, and The Mystical Theology of the Orthodox Church by Vladimir Lossky. This is a fine translation by Father Seraphim Rose, a gifted and intelligent man who became an atheist as a young man but after his college years, walked into a Russian Orthodox Church and became a Priest, Monk, and Scholar. Don't let the controversy surrounding his views concerning aspects of the intermediate state keep you away from this book. A must read for anyone with an interest in Orthodoxy.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A model for writing theology 19 Sept. 2006
By SKClimacus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had been looking for a textbook on Orthodox systematic theology for quite some time before accidently coming across an older edition of this volume while I was in Europe. I am an evangelical who is painfully aware of our tradition's ignorance of Eastern beliefs, and of our dependence on Western conceptions of theological categories and methods. As such I was (and still am) deeply interested in exploring the depths and riches of Eastern theology, and to this end Pomazansky is a gem.

I imagine most pastors have at least one or more volumes of systematic theology in their libraries. Everyone has their favorites: Barth, Calvin, Miley, Mueller, Grudem, Ott, Wenger, etc. Most of us try to have a wide variety of sources at our disposal for the sake of reference. Pomozansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology deserves to be on your shelf because I doubt anyone has written a one-volume systematic with the same measure of depth, eloquence, and brevity, let alone from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. Think of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, but with greater clarity, and a even more deeply devotional/pastoral spirit.

That being said, Pomazansky's book is not without its flaws. He is strongest when articulating the faith all Christians share, and in that respect, I would reccomend his book to every student of theology, both lay and clergy. On the other hand, from an evangelical perspective, he is weakest when defending Orthodox distinctives. I think evangelicals will find that some of his arguments are far from convincing because they are exegetically unfounded or suspect. That being said, Orthodox readers probably won't be bothered too much by this apparent shortcoming because Scripture does not have the same place of authority in Eastern traditions as in evangelical traditions.

But even with these (minor) doctrinal dissagrements, this is an eminently useful book that I constantly refer to for inspiration and explanation. In fact, it may be the most dog-eared, highlighted, and underlined systematics I own. You should get one.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Extremely deep, comprehensive, educational, thought-provoking and faith-building. 26 Nov. 2013
By Andy1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is wonderful and very easy to read. It does not read like a book of dogmatism or Theology, but rather like an educational conversation that the author is having with the reader. It is powerfully comprehensive and informative, divided into chapters according to concepts of the Bible (God, Man, The Angels, Providence, Sin, Salvation, Prayer, Eschatology, etc.), with prolific quotes from the Orthodox Church Fathers, giving it a genuine sense of being a compendium of ancient sources, helping us to understand the Biblical concepts and topics like they did. I definitely found that the quotes from the Church Fathers made me think about Biblical concepts on a much more profound, deep and expanded level than before I read this book. Being Eastern in its perspective, it is rather different in style from American/Western Theology textbooks, but extremely refreshing and thought-provoking to read. It is very easy to pick a fancied chapter at a time, in no particular order, and the reading is so enjoyable that one lands up learning much about the Bible without realizing it. Books like this truly make our spirituality and faith come alive and permeate every aspect of daily life.
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