Synopses & Reviews
For over a thousand years, Eastern Christendom had as its center the second capital of the Roman Empire-Constantinople, the New Rome,or Byzantium. The geographical division between the Eastern and Western Churches was only one manifestation of deeper rifts, characterized by a long history of conflicts, suspicions, and misunderstandings. Although the art, monasticism, and spirituality of Byzantium have come to be recognized as inspirational and influential in the shaping of Eastern European civilization, and of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as well, the West has been in the main ignorant of the historical evolution and the doctrinal significance of Byzantine theology.Here, for the first time in English, is presented a synthesis of Byzantine Christian thought. The reader is guided through its complexities to an understanding of Byzantium: its view of man and his destiny of deification; its ability to transcend the Western captivity; its survival under quite adverse historical circumstances. In the end, he may well find himself receptive to the basic positions of Byzantine thought, which have attained, in this time of need for the reintegration of Christianity itself, a surprising, contemporary relevance.
". . . a must for libraries at colleges or universities with programs in the history of Christian thought."
The aim of this book is to describe the categories of theological thought as they were shaped in the framework of Byzantine Christian civilization, its philosophy of life, its liturgy, and its art, and as they persist in contemporary Eastern Orthodoxy. The central theme, or intuition, of Byzantine theology is that man's nature is not a static, 'closed, ' autonomous entity, but a dynamic reality, determined in its very existence by its relationship to God.
About the Author
John Meyendorff, Professor Byzantine and Eastern European History at Fordham University, is an Orthodox priest, a holder of the D. es L. (Sorbonne), and the author of several books on Orthodoxy.