"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).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Conciliarism in the Church

I have discussed before the very serious and unmet challenges posed, at least in and to Western ecclesiology, by the broad phenomenon of conciliarism. I have also had some detailed things to say about the role of councils and synods in my Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity. Now a new book continues the discussion. 

Paul Valliere, author of the acclaimed study Modern Russian Theology: Bukharev, Soloviev, Bulgakov: Orthodox Theology in a New Key (Eerdmans, 2001), has recently published what looks to be a fascinating book on a topic very much in need of careful consideration and in-depth study: Conciliarism: A History of Decision-Making in the Church (Cambridge UP, 2012), 302pp.

About this book, the publisher tells us:
Conciliarism is one of the oldest and most essential means of decision-making in the history of the Christian Church. Indeed, as a leading Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann states, "Before we understand the place and the function of the council in the Church, we must, therefore, see the Church herself as a council." Paul Valliere tells the story of councils and conciliar decision-making in the Christian Church from earliest times to the present. Drawing extensively upon the scholarship on conciliarism which has appeared in the last half-century, Valliere brings a broad ecumenical perspective to the study and shows how the conciliar tradition of the Christian past can serve as a resource for resolving conflicts in the Church today. The book presents a conciliarism which involves historical legacy, but which leads us forward, not backward, and which keeps the Church's collective eyes on the prize--the eschatological kingdom of God.
I greatly look forward to reading this, discussing it on here, and interviewing the author.  

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