"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).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Orthodox Church

The Romanian Orthodox priest-theologian John McGuckin, who teaches at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary, both in New York, has produced an outstanding introduction to Orthodoxy in his

The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture (Blackwell, 2008, xv+457pp.).

John Binns of Cambridge wrote a long and appreciative view of this book in Logos in 2009: http://www.ustpaul.ca/sheptytsky/logos/logos_abstracts5012-09.htm

This is an extremely useful and comprehensive tome, full of the first-class scholarship for which McGuckin is well known. It appeared in 2008 in hardback, and the publisher tells me it is coming out in paperback in November 2010 at a much more affordable price. For those who have only limited funds and limited or no background in Orthodoxy, I would recommend starting off with David Bell's book, discussed in an earlier entry. But for those who want more advanced material, McGuckin's book is definitely the way to go. Blackwell, in fact, has now published 3 of the leading introductory survey texts to Eastern Christianity with McGuckin's book, and then two earlier works: the Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity (1999) and the Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity (2007). Early next year, under McGuckin's editorship, Blackwell will publish a 2-volume Encyclopedia of Eastern Christianity. Given McGuckin's erudition and scholarly care, there is no doubt the Encyclopedia will be a major (if expensive) work that will receive sustained attention in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies.


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