Saturday, January 26, 2019

16 - Book Review: "Christology of the Later Fathers"

Christology of the Later Fathers
Volume 3 of Library of Christian Classics
Edited by Edward Rochie Hardy
Westminster John Knox Press, 1954
400 pages

Reviewed by Georges Florovsky
Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology
Volume 9 (2): 1 – Apr 1, 1955

The new volume of the Library of Christian Classics will be warmly welcome especially by Seminary teachers. It will be used as a handy source book in the class on the history of Christian doctrine. Most of the documents included in the volume were already available in English translations, but the huge volumes of the renowned collection - recently reprinted - The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers - were not easy to be handled by the students. Now, in the volume under review, we have a good selection of the most important texts, to which the editor supplied an admirable and helpful introduction.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

15 - Book Review: "For the Sake of the World: The Spirit of Buddhist and Christian Monasticism" by Patrick G. Henry and Donald K. Swearer

For the Sake of the World: The Spirit of Buddhist and Christian Monasticism

By Patrick G. Henry and Donald K. Swearer

Reviewed by John S. Romanides

The authors of this valuable and interesting book understand "contemplation" and an "urge for transcendence" to be a basic similarity between Buddhist and Christian monasticism. This is true for Augustinian neo-Platonism, which is the position adopted by this book as normative for the Christian monastic tradition.

However, the Augustinian synthesis between neo-Platonism and the Bible was never accepted in the East, and was rejected in the West by both Celtic and Gallo-Roman monasticism. It did not, finally, take hold in Merovingian Gaul; this is why St. Gregory of Tours, an admirer of Sts. Basil and John Cassian, never mentions Augustine. That is to say, such Gallo-Romans as Sts. Martin of Tours, Aridius, Patroclos, and the Lombard Stylite Vulfailac belong to the same biblical tradition as the fathers in the East. In 529 Emperor Justinian closed the Platonic school of Athens, and when Augustine's writings became known in the East he was dropped from the list of "fathers of the church," as these were understood there.

Friday, November 30, 2018

14 - Book Review: "The Undead and Theology"

The Undead and Theology

Pickwick Publications, 2012, 298 pp.

Edited by Kim Paffenroth and John W. Morehead

The academy and pop culture alike recognize the great symbolic and teaching value of the undead, whether vampires, zombies, or other undead or living-dead creatures. This has been explored variously from critiques of consumerism and racism, through explorations of gender and sexuality, to consideration of the breakdown of the nuclear family. Most academic examinations of the undead have been undertaken from the perspectives of philosophy and political theory, but another important avenue of exploration comes through theology. Through the vampire, the zombie, the Golem, and Cenobites, contributors address a variety of theological issues by way of critical reflection on the divine and the sacred in popular culture through film, television, graphic novels, and literature.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

13 - Book Review: "Our Necessary Shadow: The Nature and Meaning of Psychiatry" by Tom Burns

Our Necessary Shadow: The Nature and Meaning of Psychiatry
By Tom Burns

Review by Marianne Szegedy-Maszak

The halcyon days of psychiatry — when this medical expertise had status, when the most intelligent interns and residents chose the mind over the body, when popular culture regarded the discipline with fascination rather than contempt — are long gone. In its place is a field that has been eclipsed by the glamour of neuroscience, the juggernaut of Big Pharma, and a general confusion about its place in both medicine and the crowded field of mental health professionals.

To use an expression that appears neither in the glossary nor the index of Tom Burns’s fascinating analysis of the scientific and medical exploration of the mind, psychiatry is suffering an identity crisis. But Burns is not one of the renegades, condemning from within. At the outset of “Our Necessary Shadow,” he marks his territory: Psychiatry is a “legitimate medical specialty” and a genuine and increasingly important “power for good.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

12 - Book Review: "Jesus Fallen?" by Emmanuel Hatzidakis

Jesus Fallen? 
The Human Nature of Christ Examined From An Eastern Orthodox Perspective

By Emmanuel Hatzidakis

Reviewed by John Sanidopoulos

This is a beautifully bound and printed publication by Orthodox Witness, and includes detailed Topic, Author, and Scriptural Indexes, as well as 8 pages of full-color illustrations. It is a detailed critique of post-lapsarian Christology in 684 pages, but it is not presented as dry theology; rather it is enriched with deep and authentic patristic truth with an abundance of sources that clearly show Christ was not born with a fallen human nature, but a pre-lapsarian (pre-fallen) human nature just as Adam had in Paradise. It begins by offering an overview of the issue among both Orthodox and non-Orthodox, then it continues by analyzing the nature of man before and after the fall, and after a thorough examination of the details of Orthodox Christology, the author begins to address the issue. Key questions are asked, such as: Are the blameless passions of Christ inherited or voluntarily assumed? Was Christ's humanity necessarily corruptible and mortal? Would Christ have died of "natural" causes? How do the two natures exist in Christ? What is the impact of Perichoresis and Antidosis? And after an entire chapter is dedicated to the sinlessness of Christ, he addresses the objections of those who submit to the post-lapsarian thesis, which I thought was most valuable. This is followed by a chapter in which the author ties everything together with the Orthodox patristic theology of Soteriology and Christology.