"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, January 19, 2015

New Voices in Greek Orthodoxy

The Greek Church today, like most Christian bodies, seems to be riven between a reactionary and retrograde crowd (led by bishops who wrote that silly letter last spring to the pope, which I discussed here) on the one hand, and, on the other, led also by those willing to recognize that the world today has changed and the Church has to figure out how to respond to that without retreating into a patristic fundamentalism and other pathologies. In witness of this changed situation, I recently reviewed elsewhere a fascinating collection, Innovation in the Orthodox Christian Tradition?: The Question of Change in Greek Orthodox Thought and Practice, which looks at Greek Orthodox Christians in Greece itself but also in North America and Australia and how, at various points in their history, they have negotiated very significant changes.

Now another book looks at change of that longstanding problem to afflict all Eastern Christians, viz., nationalism: Trine Stauning Wilert, New Voices in Greek Orthodox Thought: Untying the Bond between Nation and Religion: Difference Is Everything (Ashgate, 2014), 197pp.

About this book we are told:
New Voices in Greek Orthodox Thought brings to the light and discusses a strand in contemporary Greek public debate that is often overlooked, namely progressive religious actors of a western orientation. International - and Greek - media tend to focus on the extreme views and to categorise positions in the public debate along well known dichotomies such as traditionalists vs. modernsers. Demonstrating that in late modernity, parallel to rising nationalisms, there is a shift towards religious communities becoming the central axis for cultural organization and progressive thinking, the book presents Greece as a case study based on empirical field data from contemporary theology and religious education, and makes a unique contribution to ongoing debates about the public role of religion in contemporary Europe.

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