"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, September 13, 2010

He Who Theologizes Sings Twice?

As I've argued at length elsewhere, the Armenian theologian Vigen Guroian of the University of Virginia, is a singular voice in North American Eastern Christian circles today. He has done important work in ethics, and much else besides. He is one of the few Orthodox theologians who is very actively conversant in many "Western" cultural realities, especially in the worlds of literature and political philosophy. I know of no other Orthodox theologian who has written on the novels of Flannery O'Connor or the ghost stories of Russell Kirk--or about doing theology while tending to his flower and vegetable garden. (I reviewed his book on gardening in the Journal of Canadian Orthodox Christianity in 2006. You may read that review here.)

Guroian has a new book out:

The Melody of Faith: Theology in an Orthodox Key (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010), 174pp. + 8 color plates.

The book is written in a "musical" way in six "movements" taking its cue from a tonal poem or a musical score. It is a unique way to introduce Orthodox theology which is, of course, never intended to be purely an "academic" or abstract "intellectual" exercise, but is meant, as with Orthodox liturgy, to engage many if not all of the senses. One of the most musically gifted people I know, Brian Butcher, who defends his doctoral dissertation on Wednesday (Sept. 15) at MASI in Ottawa on the topic of the Byzantine liturgy (in particular the Theophany blessing of waters), will review this for us in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies in 2011. And when Brian's own work is published, you can be sure it will receive the notice it richly deserves, here and in Logos.

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