"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, March 21, 2014

LOGOS: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies: Spring 2014 Issue

Further to my note last week, I'm delighted to be able to give details of the spring issue of Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. It contains fascinating articles in areas we have not published before, especially Coptic-Muslim relations and Orthodox understandings of human rights. But permit me to point out in particular two of the long review essays noted below, which I think are in themselves worth the price of a subscription if, through some unimaginable oversight, you have not yet managed to subscribe.

We seem to be at a point, at least in anglophone scholarship, of a burgeoning number of studies on Sergius Bulgakov now that most of his opera has been translated into English. Logos has published several in the last three years, and we have several more currently out for review, which may be accepted for publication in the autumn of this year and spring of next year. In this upcoming issue we begin, among the juried articles, with Stefan Barbu's essay “Orthodox Ecclesiology in Sophianic Key.”

This is followed by a fascinating article by Jason Welle, OFM, “The Status of Monks in Egypt under Early Mamlūk Rule: The Case of Ibn Taymiyya.” The article contains not only original research and analysis, but also annotated translation of Ibn Taymiyya’s Fatwā on the Status of Monks.

Finally, a longer version of a presentation I originally heard in part in 2012 at St. Vladimir's Seminary and the annual meeting of the Orthodox Theological Society of America: Christopher Brenna, “The Transfiguration of Rights: A Proposal for Orthodoxy’s Appropriation of Rights Language.” This article breaks new ground, as the whole discussion of rights in Orthodoxy is a very recent and in some ways still inchoate phenomenon.

Among the shorter pieces we are running are three, beginning with a recent presentation of Michael Plekon at a conference in Strasbourg on "Saints Without Borders." Fr. Michael's paper is entitled “Mother Maria Skobtsova: Making a Saint in the Eastern Church Today.”

Bishop Hlib Lonchyna has a short piece on Ukrainian Catholic Identity in Britain Today, ending with some thoughts on the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church's recent 10-year plan for parish revitalization.

Richard Armstrong helpfully reviews the literature and brings us up to date on "Cyril of Jerusalem (c.313-387): an Ecclesiastical Career in Review."

Finally, last fall, Josiah Trenham gave a lecture in Ottawa at the Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, "St. John Chrysostom for the 21st Century."

Book Reviews:

Review Essays:
This section contains three of the most impressive (and longest) review essays we have ever run. Robert Slesinski spends a great deal of time analyzing Dominic Rubin's Holy Russia, Sacred Israel: Jewish-Christian Encounters in Russian Religious Thought. Slesinski very carefully examines the evidence in Rubin's text, and compares it in many cases to the Russian originals, some of which Slesinski re-translates, showing how and where Rubin's analysis is correct, and where, in a few places, it overlooks other evidence or offers perhaps too harsh an interpretation. The essay is a model of how to do careful scholarship on explosive topics (anti-Semitism, Russian nationalism): serenely, objectively, charitably.

ii) Another outstanding model of scholarly engagement comes in a very lengthy review essay authored by Christiaan Kappes, J. Isaac Coff, and T. Alexander Giltner treating the place of Palamas in the history of philosophy and East-West encounters, especially in the hands of David Bradshaw, not only in his 2007 book Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom but more recently in his essay in the collection Divine Essence and Divine Energies: Ecumenical Reflections on the Presence of God in Eastern Orthodoxy. Kappes et al review the entire latter book, but concentrate on Bradshaw as well as John Milbank, showing the good points in their work but also showing how and where they overlook a good deal, are unjustly tendentious in places, and fail in others to make necessary distinctions or to trace out lineages that would upset their preformed ideas of intellectual history. The essay is not easy to summarize, but here are a few choice ideas to whet your appetite:   
  • contra the usual interpretation, Thomas, Bonaventure, and Scotus, far from being horrid old Western "rationalists" in contradistinction to the supposed "mystics" of the East, are in fact deeply grounded in Greek patristic thought;
  • the role of Augustine in shaping the Palamite tradition is very considerable, but completely ignored in Divine Essence and Divine Energies;
  • Mark of Ephesus, far from being the trumpet of anti-Latin theology, is heavily indebted to Augustine and the Scholastics;
  • Franciscans like Bonaventure and Scotus "accessed important early Eastern sources, particularly through the Carolingian thinker and translator Eriugena, and, moreover, greatly utilized them....One may legitimately wonder how such a cornucopia of sources and incredible parallels have been bypassed";
  • in the end, we are still awaiting a full, impartial intellectual geneology of Palamas and Palamite thought that will, inter alia, take account of the fact that "Palamas gave Augustine's opera in Greek an authoritative 'nihil obstat' for Byzantines" and thus "ushered into Byzantium a synthetic project of harmonizing Latin authors (especially Augustine and Aquinas) with Byzantine theology and Orthodoxy." Yet little of this remains understood, even by scholars, never mind Orthodox bloggers ranting about the pernicious effects of Aquinas and Augustine and Anselm and other figures they have never read, least of all in the original.

iii) Slesinski’s Review Essay on Bulgakov. Reviewing the "major trilogy" of Bulgakov's works which has recently appeared in English over the last decade, that is, the works The Lamb of God, The Bride of the Lamb and The Comforter, Slesinski in fact teases out of these three works their underlying theology of the "first hypostasis," God the Father. Far from ignoring the Father in works ostensibly devoted to Christ, Christ's Church, and the Holy Spirit, Bulgakov in fact has woven throughout all three volumes the theme of the "monarchy of the Father."

Regular Reviews:

Having recently read, and commented elsewhere on, this book, let me second our reviewer's judgment that this is a very substantial, deeply challenging, and very important book. If you have any interest in the topics of icons and iconoclasm, and more generally the relation between theology and art not only in the ancient period, but also today, you will want to get a copy of this book, the expense notwithstanding.

c) Radu Bordeianu reviews Boris Bobrinskoy’s The Mystery of the Church: A Course in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology

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...