"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, January 16, 2015

The Orthodox Family in Eastern Europe and Elsewhere

North American Christians have been obsessing over "family values" for a long time, and often making rather a hash of them, not realizing--as Stanley Hauerwas pointed out more than twenty years ago--that the gospel is rather hard on "family values," calling sons and daughters to be prepared to sacrifice even parents and children in order to follow Christ. But the state of the family in the Orthodox world, especially post-communist Eastern Europe, has not been nearly as well studied until now. Nicu Dumitrascu has edited an impressive new collection, Christian Family and Contemporary Society (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015), 304pp.
About this book we are told that it: 
...integrates a broad spectrum of geographical, denominational, and interdisciplinary perspectives, and analyses the relationship between family and religion in its various contexts, both historical and contemporary.

Divided into four key parts, the contributors address first the biblical and patristic background of the family construct, while the second part reveals denominational and ecumenical perspectives on marriage and the family. The third part sketches a sociological profile of the family in some European countries and addresses pastoral and sacramental issues connected with it. The final part places the Christian family in the context of contemporary society.
There is an introduction from the Orthodox scholar John McGuckin, who writes:
The book represents cutting edge theological scholarship in a pastoral dimension of great urgency for Eastern Europe and the Orthodox world in general. It will have a wide zone of interest for theologians, pastors, sociologists and all interested in the state of family life, especially considered in a religious environment. Mostly, it will serve to be of importance and interest in theological schools, churches, pastoral care programs, and seminary environments.
The publisher gives us the following detailed table of contents:


1. The Synoptic Gospels and Family
Daniel Ayuch, University of Balamand, Lebanon
2. Pauline guidelines on Christian families in Greco-Roman social environment
Mato Zovkic, Sarajevo Theological Seminary, Bosnia-Herzegovina
3. The Christian family according to the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Church
Elena Giannakopoulou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
4. Glimpses into the Cappadocian Fourth-Century Family by Gregory the theologian
Pablo Argarate, University of Graz, Austria
5. The Christian Family and its problems in the light of St Basil's canons - a pastoral approach, Viorel Sava, Al.Ioan Cuza University of Iasi , Romania


6. The Plan of God for Marriage and the Family. A Roman-Catholic Perspective, Jose R. Villar, Universidad de Navarra, Spain
7. Marriage in the Catholic Church and the problems of interdenominational families, Przemyslaw Kantyka, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland
8. Marriage and the Family between Tradition/traditions and contemporary life in Orthodox Spirituality
Nicu Dumitrascu, University of Oradea, Romania
9. Catholic and Lutheran Theology of Marriage. Differences and Resemblances
Piotr Kopiec, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland
10. Mixed Marriages in the Antiochian Orthodox Church: An Educational Approach to a Pastoral Challenge
Bassam Nassif, University of Balamand, Lebanon


11. The French Family in All Conditions: From the Best to the Worst
Michel Cozic, Centre Lenain de Tillemont, France
12. Families for Objects of Pastoral Care to Builders of Ecclesial Community?
Thomas Knieps - Port le Roi , KU Leuven, The Netherlands
13. Families in Finland between Idealism and Practice
Gunnar af Hällström, Abo Akademi University, Finland
14. The Theology of the Sacrament of Wedding in the Orthodox Church
Marian Vîlciu, Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania


15. Discipline and Love - Biblical Roots of Modern Christian Parenting
María Ágústsdóttir, University of Iceland, Iceland
16. This is Our Family - Protestant Perspective
Margriet Gosker, The Netherlands
17. Orthodox Christian Family in the Present Day - Day Society
Stefan Florea, Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania
18. New Challenges in Religious Education of Generation Z (the youngest children)
Dana Hanesová, Matej Bel University, Slovakia
Index -

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