"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, March 11, 2013

On this Most August of Anniversaries

It was two years ago this month that the world held its breath until Amazon delivered into its hands the first copies of my Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity from the University of Notre Dame Press. If you have been in a coma, on the moon, or dead, you would have a legitimate excuse for not having read it in the last two years, but in case it slipped your notice, it is still happily in print.

It may be worth revisiting the book in view of the number of churches who have new patriarchs: the Greek patriarch of Alexandria was recently installed; the Coptic Church elected a new pope-patriarch last year; and the Ethiopian Church has just elected its new patriarch. One of the things my book does is to examine in more detail than anyone else did the powers of patriarchs, the processes for choosing them, and related matters--including the patriarch of Rome, whose office is of course currently vacant.

The book has been praised by all the right sorts of people in the best sorts of journals--Theological Studies, Religion in Eastern Europe, America, Catholic World Report, One in Christ, Journal of Ecumenical Studies.

And the rest? Here I'm reminded of an anecdote told about Evelyn Waugh when asked about a slashing review of his Brideshead Revisited in the 1940s by the enormously self-regarding critic Edmund Wilson of New Yorker fame. Waugh, with a mischievous glint in his eye rather archly and ironically sniffed to his interlocutor "Isn't he an American?" (thus suggesting that Wilson could be safely ignored as a colonial hick). Waugh knew full well who Wilson was for Wilson had previously praised Waugh as a first-rate comic genius, but Wilson found Brideshead unbearable because it had the vulgar temerity to mention God, for which Wilson savaged Waugh. Waugh later got his revenge when Wilson contacted him saying he was coming to London and asking Waugh to show him around. Waugh initially agreed but then, as he confided to his magnificent Diaries, he never showed up: "chucked appointment to show London to some insignificant Yank." Quite.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...