"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, June 10, 2011


Disturbingly common, the term "denomination" occupies an uneasy place in ecclesiology. At long last we have what looks like it will be a serious examination of the term under the editorship of Paul M. Collins and Barry Ensign-George, eds. Denomination: Assessing an Ecclesiological Category (Ecclesiological Investigations) (T&T Clark, 2011), 192pp.

This is one of the latest volumes in the rapidly appearing, very important, and wholly welcome ''Ecclesiological Investigations" series of T&T Clark, to which I drew detailed attention earlier.

About this book, the publisher tells us:
This is an assessment of a key term in contemporary ecclesiology by representatives of all major Christian denominations. The term 'denomination' is now widely used to describe a Christian community or church. But what is a 'denomination'? In this highly creative collection of essays representatives of all major Christian traditions give an answer to this question. What does the term mean in their own tradition? And does that tradition understand itself to be a 'denomination'? If so, what is that understanding of 'denomination'; and if not, how does the tradition understand itself vis a vis those churches which do and those churches which do not understand themselves as 'denominations'? In dialogue with the argument and ideas set forth in Barry Ensign-George's essay each essay offers a response from the perspective of a particular church (tradition). Each essay also consider questions concerning the current landscape of ecumenical dialogue; ecumenical method and the goals of the ecumenical movement; also questions of Christian identity and belonging. "Ecclesiological Investigations" brings together quality research and inspiring debates in ecclesiology worldwide from a network of international scholars, research centres and projects in the field.
Of the thirteen chapters in the book, two are devoted to Eastern Christian understandings:one by K.M. George on Oriental Orthodox views and another by Elena Vishnevskaya on Byzantine Orthodox views. Peter de Mey has a Roman Catholic and ecumenical contribution as well.

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