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Orthodoxy and the West Paperback – 22 Mar 2007

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invasion of the body snatchers 1 Nov. 2009
By Edward M. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A 1956 film, entitled "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," requires a viewer to judge whether reports of alien invaders pilfering identities of small-town residents could convince police of real and imminent danger. As soon as residents of a small town fell asleep, an alien could snatch the sleeper's consciousness and memory by transfer to an alien clone in a pod. The alien plan envisions global domination. But their strategy fails thanks to a turn of events and a credible witness.

Plausibility called for a reliable witness of body snatching. No one could have been more credible than a doctor or priest to report events that were out of this world. The film's choice of doctor, however, secured suspension of belief by viewers already indoctrinated to trust a man of science.

Professor Yannaras, author of this monograph, corresponds as the "doctor" in the premise of this 2006 translation, which appeared first in Greek (1992). His task is to convince the general reader that unwelcome consequences occurred in the ecclesial body of the Greek people following historical incursions of Western theology into Greece.

Certainly ex-patriot Jesuits and other missionaries from the Roman Catholic Church promoted scholastic inquiry among Greeks, who hungered for academic training that Ottomans restricted for the Orthodox people they dominated. Nevertheless, it was a 14th-century Greek named Demetrios Kydones who established the beachhead for western scholastic method.

Kydones translated and promoted Aquinas' 'Summa contra Gentiles,' a century before Greece became an Ottoman archipelago. Kydones was roundly defeated in debate with St. Gregory Palamas, pitting the fifth-column dogmatism of Kydones against experiential theology. As one learns, an evident theological and cultural mismatch could be grafted onto an Orthodox vine as long as distracting political alliances under Ottoman rule prevailed.

Yannaras demonstrates how Greek universities, fashioned by several hundreds of years' academic training under disciplines dominated by science and wary of theology as a competing dogma, promoted a kind of bland academic theological meal free of the country's own spiritual life. He discloses multiple examples spanning the era of Revolution against the Ottomans to three decades following the Civil War during which academic theology could persist unimpeded by scholastic elitists. Signal events that chipped at the elitist's enterprise are fresh in his tales, as if picked from the vine of current events of the allied occupation of Afghanistan.

Controversial to this day, Yannaras ignites debate among conservative and liberal politicians, preservationists and progressives, and just about anyone with an opinion to grind about the Greek state. Humbled by his own occasional estrangement from experiential theology in the Orthodox Church, Yannaras makes a plausible case that explains how he and others can misplace the Orthodox theological compass. Occasions when he does, he suffers familiar consequences common to a western mindset such as the disconnect between people and their governments, weakened families and fragile social relationships, service professions dominated by business models, and pervasive loneliness.

The alternatives he proposes engage readers in a universal story of hope. No doubt this explains why readers will be inclined to unite with Yannaras in becoming avid practitioners in the experience of God that they share--the human race.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 8 April 2015
By Kath.-Theol. Privatuniversität - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good
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