"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rediscovering Spiritual Riches in the East

Evangelicals coming into Orthodoxy, or being interested in her traditions, are not new, though some commentators have recently suggested that the movement is on the wane. Nevertheless, later this summer will see a new book by a major evangelical publisher that shows interest in Orthodox spirituality: James Googin, ed., Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics: A Guide for Evangelicals (IVP, July 2013), 340pp.

About this book we are told:
Ever since Richard Foster wrote Celebration of Discipline in 1978, evangelicals have hungered for a deeper and more historic spirituality. Many have come to discover the wealth of spiritual insight available in the Desert Fathers, the medieval mystics, German Pietism and other traditions. While these classics have been a source of life-changing renewal for many, still others are wary of these texts and the foreign theological traditions from which they come. The essays in this volume provide a guide for evangelicals to read the Christian spiritual classics. The contributions fall into four sections. The first three answer the big questions: why should we read the spiritual classics, what are these classics and how should we read them? The last section brings these questions together into a brief reading guide for each of the major traditions. Each essay not only explores the historical and theological context, but also expounds the appropriate hermeneutical framework and the significance for the church today. Together these essays provide a comprehensive and charitable introduction to the spiritual classics, suitable for both those who already embrace them and those who remain concerned and cautious. Whether you are a newcomer to historic spirituality or a seasoned reader looking to go deeper, you will find this volume to be a reliable resource for years to come.
Chapter 8, by James Payton Jr., is entitled "Reading Orthodox Spirituality." Payton is the author of the 2007 book, which I reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies, entitled Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition.

Chapter 10, by Michael Glerup, is entitled "The Church Fathers and Mothers."

1 comment:

  1. Wow - this publisher's blurb is fairly clearly saying that this book aims to protect Evangelicals from these texts by exposing them to them just enough and under such conditions that they will be inoculated against their full effect. Amazing. I suppose, if you see a threat attempt to domesticate it.

    “Each essay…expounds…the significance for the church today.” Notice the definite article in a context that does not refer to the churches from which these texts came.


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