"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, April 8, 2020

Orthodox Liturgy Phenomenologically Understood

I wonder if the author this book, released late last year, has suddenly realized she may need to write a second volume, devoted to the phenomenology of Orthodox liturgy during a pandemic? I have been watching with great interest the diverse approaches taken to the question of whether to have liturgies in Orthodox temples with a "skeleton crew" as some have done; whether to cancel outright; whether to have everybody broadcast liturgy live on Facebook (etc.); or whether, as the Ecumenical Throne has recently decreed, to have only one broadcasted liturgy per diocese.

In any event, this looks to be an important new study by Christina M. Gschwandtner, Welcoming Finitude: Toward a Phenomenology of Orthodox Liturgy (Fordham UP, 2019), 352pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us this:
What does it mean to experience and engage in religious ritual? How does liturgy structure time and space? How do our bodies move within liturgy, and what impact does it have on our senses? How does the experience of ritual affect us and shape our emotions or dispositions? How is liturgy experienced as a communal event, and how does it form the identity of those who participate in it? Welcoming Finitude explores these broader questions about religious experience by focusing on the manifestation of liturgical experience in the Eastern Christian tradition. Drawing on the methodological tools of contemporary phenomenology and on insights from liturgical theology, the book constitutes a philosophical exploration of Orthodox liturgical experience.

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