3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good introduction to Orthodox theology,
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This review is from: Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology (Paperback)
Well, I've really enjoyed reading Andrew Louth's little introduction. Louth is clearly quite passionate about his tradition and provides a very engaging and quite personal account. What struck me quite strongly (coming from an Anglican perspective), is just how surprising 'alien' some aspects of the tradition appear to be, especially 'Christian materialism' and the use of ikons; the use of these is justified by arguments to do with the Incarnation. The use of Scripture differs quite strongly too.
It is hard not to make comparisons. I would have thought Anglicanism more 'enlightened', but Louth is a little critical of the Western tradition; don't be too upset by that, he is bold and loves his tradition; and why not? You get a sense that this is a tradition that makes full use of ancient written sources in a way that the western churches certainly do not. The liturgy is also more fully developed, and therefore not vague. You also get a sense that this is a tradition that one can't be half hearted about; one can be a casual Anglican, but the same wouldn't apply here.
It is my guess that in the western traditions, the impact of Augustine is more strongly felt, and there is therefore more salvation anxiety (perhaps not helped by Calvin); but the Orthodox church seems to have escaped this; it is less individualistic.
But we Anglicans are keen to see our towns won for Jesus; we don't yet feel convinced that the use of ikons will have much of a role in this.
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Initial post: 12 Sep 2014 10:50:22 BDT
John Corcoran says:
I completely disagree with your rather 'over elevated' comment about Icons. I too did not understand the spiritual power of Icons except after completing the lengthy Camino del Santiago pilgrimage across Spain when I was sent a small icon by a fellow pilgrim, a Romanian clinical psychiatrist, who urged me to simply place it in plain view in my home for a year and see what happens....this Icon became of increasing importance to me as the year progressed...Please please do not be guilty of " contempt prior to investigation " your review is typical of what is so obviously unappealing about so much of Anglican thinking ..it strikes me as being very stuck in the western tradition of rationality concerning the spiritual..This is about the heart and not the head. Icons can subtly open our hearts...please do not dismiss them, they are not some aberration, they have been part of Christian life since the earliest days of the church, and they were very much part of Christianity in England in Saxon times, so they are not alien to the English soul as you, in your rather patronising comment, seem to imply.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Oct 2014 16:31:19 BDT
Mr. P. G. Mccarthy says:
Thanks for these interesting reflections. I actually find icons fascinating. I do have some, but, as you may be aware, they don't carry quite the significance they might for others. I must say, the way the Eastern church draws so deeply of the Fathers is an incredible strength. Louth's work on the Fathers is very impressive. Thanks anyway for these interesting reflections.
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