"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, February 22, 2021

Liturgical Dogmatics

A new book by David Fagerberg will always rocket to the top of one's must-read lists for he is one of the outstanding commentators on the great Alexander Schmemann, and also himself one of the great liturgical theologians in the Catholic world today, where he has done much to bring Eastern understandings to Western awareness. 

I have used his book, especially Theologia Prima for more than 15 years in classes, and more recently his Liturgical Asceticism as well. So I shall read his newest one with an eye to enjoyment and edification for me and my students alike when it appears in a few weeks: Liturgical Dogmatics: How Catholic Beliefs Flow from Liturgical Prayer (Ignatius Press, April 2021), 260pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us this:

God is incomprehensible, but he is not unapproachable. What cannot be fully comprehended by dogma can be approached when we liturgize God.

What knowledge cannot fasten together, love can unite. There is a movement occurring between God and his children, and this divine economy is the subject matter of dogmatics. It is also exactly the definition of liturgy that this work assumes. Liturgy is the perichoresis of the Holy Trinity kenotically extended to invite our synergistic ascent into deification.

The Trinity's circulation of love turns itself outward, and in humility the Son and Spirit work the Father&;s good pleasure for all creation, which is to invite our ascent into participation in the very life of God, which consists of glory, love, beatitude.

All chapter topics in this volume are subdivisions of this single story stretching from alpha to omega, and they all turn out to be liturgical verities. What dogma stammers to state, liturgy celebrates in mystical participation. Liturgical Dogmatics therefore examines dogma in light of liturgy. The whole sweeping, saving activity of God, as described by dogma, is the subject of this book.

I'll see if I can arrange an interview with David, as I have done on here in the past.  

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