Friday, September 27, 2019

22 - Book Review: "Christian Thought from Erasmus to Berdyaev"

Christian Thought from Erasmus to Berdyaev

By Matthew Spinka,
Englewood Cliffs, N. J., Prentice-Hall, 1962. 246 pp.

Reviewed by Georges Florovsky,
Harvard Divinity School

Church History,
Volume 31, Issue 4
December 1962 , pp. 470-471

In the preface to his new book Dr. Spinka acknowledges his debt to Nicholas Berdyaev. Berdyaev has helped him to find the way between liberalism and Karl Barth. The pattern of interpretation is derived from Berdyaev. "The Era is dying: let it die!" The Era of Humanism has come to its end. The new synthesis is not yet available. We are in the stage of crisis, of critical transition, of desperate search. It is in this perspective that Dr. Spinka narrates the story of Christian thought in modern times - up to Berdyaev! His selection of topics or of sign-posts in this adventure is fair and judicious. His exposition of individual systems is competent and reliable. One can but welcome the inclusion of Russian thinkers in the general survey of the history of Christian thought.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

21 - Book Review: "The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity"

The Church Impotent:
The Feminization of Christianity

By Leon J. Podles

Reviewed by Fr. Geoffrey Korz

In the age of political correctness, one has become accustomed to reading about gender issues, at all levels. From campaigns to increase the number of women in legislatures, to special science programs for girls, to treatises condemning the dominance of patriarchy in religion, revolutionary feminism has succeeded in capturing the North American mind. In the process, it has also captured the North American political, social, and religious reality, and affected major changes in the landscape in which we live.

Friday, July 19, 2019

20 - Book Review: "The Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople. Ecclesiastical Policy and Image Worship in the Byzantine Empire"

The Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople
Ecclesiastical Policy and Image Worship in the Byzantine Empire

By Paul J. Alexander,
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1958. 287 pp.

Reviewed by Georges Florovsky,
Harvard Divinity School

Church History,
Volume 28, Issue 2
June 1959, pp. 205-206

This book was conceived as an essay in the history of the Iconoclastic Controversy. The aim of the author was to define the role played by Nicephorus in the struggle and his contribution to the theology of Icons. The main merit of the book is in the use of the unpublished work of Nicephorus, Refutatio et Eversio, which, as Professor Alexander rightly observes, is a kind of summa of the whole controversy. In the Appendix to the book a summary of this treatise is given, with a few passages in translation (242-262). It is gratifying to learn that a critical edition of the original text is in preparation (X). The present book is better documented than another recent study on the same subject by Dr. A.J. Viser, Nikephoros und ber Bilderstreit, 1952.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

19 - Book Review: "Athonite Flowers" by Monk Moses of Mount Athos

Athonite Flowers: Seven Contemporary Essays on the Spiritual Life
By Monk Moses of Mount Athos
Translated by Fr. Peter A. Chamberas
Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Press
2000, Pp. 100.

Reviewed by Constantine Cavarnos

This beautiful and very edifying book is comprised of seven essays. All of them will serve, as Father Peter Chamberas aptly remarks in his eloquent Foreword, "as a testimony to the ever vibrant and ever rejuvenating spiritual tradition of Mount Athos, a bastion of Christian Orthodoxy." They will serve also as a testimony that their author, the monk Moses, "is not only a contemporary representative of this spiritual tradition, but also an eloquent and dynamic exponent of it throughout Greece."

Friday, May 24, 2019

18 - Book Review: "Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen"

Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen

By Brian Raftery

Reviewed by John Sanidopoulos

When it comes to movies, 1999 was a pivotal year for me. I suddenly found myself going to the movies not only every weekend, but often more than once a week. Before 1999, I would only go to the movies either to watch something I was really interested in, or because I had nothing else to do, and movies were always an enjoyable alternative. Though my interest in film greatly grew towards the end of 1998, 1999 cemented my growing interest. At the time I thought I merely had a sudden awakening to a reality I never understood before, in addition to the fact that I had just recently graduated college, became married and moved to a new and less exciting city. But over time I realized that there was something special about movies and the year 1999. I had not fully understood it until I recently picked up the book Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen by Brian Raftery.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

17 - Book Review: "The Socialist Phenomenon" by Igor Shafarevich

The Socialist Phenomenon

By Igor Shafarevich

Reviewed by John Sanidopoulos

I first read about this book some years ago in the Harvard lecture of Alexander Solzhenitsyn titled A World Split Apart, where he says:

It is almost universally recognized that the West shows all the world a way to successful economic development, even though in the past years it has been strongly disturbed by chaotic inflation. However, many people living in the West are dissatisfied with their own society. They despise it or accuse it of not being up to the level of maturity attained by mankind. A number of such critics turn to socialism, which is a false and dangerous current.

I hope that no one present will suspect me of offering my personal criticism of the Western system to present socialism as an alternative. Having experienced applied socialism in a country where the alternative has been realized, I certainly will not speak for it. The well-known Soviet mathematician Shafarevich, a member of the Soviet Academy of Science, has written a brilliant book under the title Socialism; it is a profound analysis showing that socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death. Shafarevich's book was published in France almost two years ago and so far no one has been found to refute it. It will shortly be published in English in the United States.

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.