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Turning East: Contemporary Philosophers and the Ancient Christian Faith (Orthodox Christan Profiles) (Orthodox Christian Profiles) Paperback – Abridged, Audiobook, Box set
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
These stories are fairly varied. With a few converts, it feels like they just happen to be philosophers as a day job, but they don't refer much to philosophy in their conversion stories. Some chapters here seem indistinguishable from earlier conversion story collections like Coming Home, instead of a specifically philosophical enterprise. Conversely, other contributors assume the reader has a firm grounding in the field and cite the literature heavily in making their case.
Strikingly, some contributors hold views that are the very opposite of others'. Richard Swinburne, for example, believes that natural theology is a productive enterprise and a way for Christians to hold their ground in secular academia. Other contributors, however, claim that reason alone cannot guide one to the truth, and any attempt at arguing for ethical principles that is not grounded in an experience of Christ means compromising one's faith and taking on the values of the secular world.
That said, the book does feel very shackled in its choice of mainly Americans who refer to no philosophers later than Heidegger. There is absolutely no attempt here to grapple with e.g. the French structuralists or post-structuralists, except for the final contribution by Jeffrey Bishop that cites Foucault. The inclusion of, say, a few European converts in lieu of the most lightweight chapters here would have brought a fuller picture of the confrontation between Orthodoxy and philosophical schools today.
While the Orthodox Church is a single church, the history of Eastern European and Levantine immigration to the United States and Western Europe has led to a large amount of overlapping jurisdictions. Convert stories often refer to entering one jurisdiction rather than another, and the reader unfamiliar with church administration may be confused. I was pleasantly surprised by how the converts here do not mention their jurisdictions at all, presenting Orthodoxy as the united body it ultimately is.
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