"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).

Friday, August 27, 2021

John Zizioulas on The Meaning of Being Human

In Eastern Christian studies, a new work by John Zizioulas has to count as a major event. He has commanded wide respect and authority across Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions for decades now. Some years back, I did an informal survey of university and seminary classes in ecclesiology where his first and still most famous book Being as Communion was assigned. It was an impressively high number in schools of all three aforementioned traditions. His ecumenical reach is very impressive and very much to the good. 

He has recently released a new book: The Meaning of Being Human (Sebastian Press, 2021), 100pp. About this book the publisher tells us this:

In this book Metropolitan of Pergamon is dealing with the most contemporary, the most urgent, the most existential issues facing the Church today. The core of author’s argument is that personhood as an ekstatic and hypostatic mode of existence is not subject to any predetermination or necessity. The book provides a perfect opportunity to look retrospectively at Metropolitan John Zizioulas’ profound theological vision. It serves both as a significant illustration of his vitality in preserving the continuance of his thought, and of his enduring faithfulness to the constants which permeate his entire theological legacy. The restoration of personhood in Christ leads inevitably to the community of the Church which, in its turn, offers impersonal nature the possibility of being “referred” to God in its integrity through the personhood of man. This makes the Church eucharistic in its very nature, and man God by participation in God. The Church’s eucharistic identity has led Zizioulas to rethink theology as a whole on the basis of ecclesial experience as a reflection of Trinitarian life.

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