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Moderated Forums => Free-For-All => Religious Topics => Topic started by: Andreas on June 05, 2004, 01:49:16 AM

Title: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Andreas on June 05, 2004, 01:49:16 AM
If the person you believe is the great theologian is not on the list. Just post their name. :)
Title: Re:Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Linus7 on June 09, 2004, 03:53:10 PM
St. Maximus the Confessor
Title: Re:Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Anastasios on June 09, 2004, 04:03:03 PM
St Ireneaus of Lyons.
Title: Re:Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Mercurius on June 09, 2004, 04:19:42 PM
Hard to beat St.Athanasius, really.
Title: Re:Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: TomS on June 09, 2004, 04:31:41 PM
But....you left off Billy Graham?
Title: Re:Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Mor Ephrem on June 09, 2004, 09:22:21 PM
How does one define a theologian?  I've always been attracted to the writings of Saint Ephrem more than any other Father, but while the others listed above (to my knowledge) wrote "prose", he wrote "poetry".  Does the method of teaching a particular Father utilised matter in this poll and in general?
Title: Re:Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Ben on June 09, 2004, 09:41:04 PM
Speaking of Saint Ephrem, today is his feast day in the Roman Catholic Church.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on March 27, 2012, 01:44:24 PM
Greatest theologian: St. Maximos the Confessor
Best theologian: St. Gregory of Nazianzus
Worst theologian: St. Augustine
Smartest theologian: St. Augustine
Most overrated theologian: St. Athanasius
Most unhelpful theologian: St. Vincent of Lerins
Boringest theologian: St. John of Damascus
Title: Re:Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: NicholasMyra on March 27, 2012, 02:57:16 PM
St Ireneaus of Lyons.
I agree, Father.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: JamesRottnek on March 27, 2012, 04:47:32 PM
St. Isaac of Syria, hands down.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: mike on March 27, 2012, 04:48:25 PM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on March 27, 2012, 04:49:45 PM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse


Now you're getting it!  ;D
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: KBN1 on March 27, 2012, 04:51:56 PM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse


Ha.  That reminds me that I need to renew my subscription to Monkabee Magazine.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Alpo on March 27, 2012, 04:58:52 PM
Greatest theologian: St. Maximos the Confessor
Best theologian: St. Gregory of Nazianzus<
Worst theologian: St. Augustine
Smartest theologian: St. Augustine

Care to explain briefly reasons for these nominations?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on March 27, 2012, 05:31:50 PM
Greatest theologian: St. Maximos the Confessor
Best theologian: St. Gregory of Nazianzus<
Worst theologian: St. Augustine
Smartest theologian: St. Augustine

Care to explain briefly reasons for these nominations?

Well, first let me say that I approach the topic fairly casually. I doubt many of us have studied the various theologians through the ages enough to really be able to give even a half-educated guess as to who the "greatest theologian" is. I'm pretty sure not many of us have read most of the works of the theologians who might be possible choices, let alone studied them and the larger context in which they wrote. Heck, I would wager that most people haven't even read all the works of the theologian they claim to be the greatest. So in the end these threads are more like "Who's your favorite saint?" type things. Which I think is great, and these kinds of conversations have been going on since ancient times.

But as for the ones I chose (the ones you quoted, anyway), I chose St. Maximus as the greatest because I think, from what little I've read of/about him, that he took what had been said by the Fathers before him, and elevated things a bit. Leaving Origen out of the picture, he seems to be the closest thing we have to a theological mind the caliber of St. Augustine. I chose St. Gregory the "best" because he's my favorite, and "my favorite theologian" didn't sound as level-headed and objective.  ;) After all, we're keeping up the pretence that this is somewhat serious, right?

St. Augustine was the worst theologian because of some of the mistakes he made, most of which I know nothing about. He was also the smartest from what I can tell. These things generally go together... smart people think they make fewer mistakes, but it's often the opposite: they make more mistakes, if they are truly smart, because their mind is so fertile with thought, so creative, that it goes spinning in 20 different directions. And at least some of those spins are going to end up going down the wrong path. Also, when I say that St. Augustine was the worst I am taking into account how influential he was... as with Origen, what his followers did with his theology does play a part in his reputation.  Let me also say though that pretty much any time St. Augustine is criticized on this forum I defend him, and I do not by any means wish to attack him on this thread.

Of course this gets back to the original point. How much of the theologians so far mentioned in this thread have I read? In most cases not a whole lot. That I can't read Greek/Latin/etc. doesn't help.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on March 27, 2012, 05:53:12 PM
I cannot say if he is the greatest (I am not a theologian) but Father Alexander Schmemann of blessed memory is the one that the most readable, challenging (in a good way) and uplifting of them all.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: minasoliman on March 27, 2012, 07:44:28 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: akimori makoto on March 27, 2012, 08:59:58 PM
St John, the Evangelist and Theologian.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on March 27, 2012, 09:01:19 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)

So you guys also think Popes are infallible?  :o
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: minasoliman on March 27, 2012, 09:08:02 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)

So you guys also think Popes are infallible?  :o
hahahaha!
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: witega on March 27, 2012, 09:30:14 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)

So you guys also think Popes are infallible?  :o

Anyone, even the Pope, is infallible when speaking the truth. (-Bp. Tikhon of LA, paraphrased from memory).
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on March 27, 2012, 09:35:26 PM
Anyone, even the Pope, is infallible when speaking the truth. (-Bp. Tikhon of LA, paraphrased from memory).

I suppose that depends on how you define the term infallible, though I don't think it much matters as a theological idea anyway 8)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Iconodule on March 27, 2012, 10:18:25 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)

So you guys also think Popes are infallible?  :o

Anyone, even the Pope, is infallible when speaking the truth. (-Bp. Tikhon of LA, paraphrased from memory).

I'm a vegetarian, except when I eat meat.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: podkarpatska on March 28, 2012, 10:44:45 AM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse


Was he a cave dwelling, pole sitting recluse?

Seriously, this question reminds me of George W. Bush's answer in the 2000 presidential debates as to his favorite philosopher. His answer was Jesus.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: podkarpatska on March 28, 2012, 10:45:53 AM
Anyone, even the Pope, is infallible when speaking the truth. (-Bp. Tikhon of LA, paraphrased from memory).

I suppose that depends on how you define the term infallible, though I don't think it much matters as a theological idea anyway 8)

How could 'truth' be in error? I seem to recall a President who got in trouble trying to overdefine the term 'is'.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on March 28, 2012, 10:57:37 AM
Anyone, even the Pope, is infallible when speaking the truth. (-Bp. Tikhon of LA, paraphrased from memory).

I suppose that depends on how you define the term infallible, though I don't think it much matters as a theological idea anyway 8)

How could 'truth' be in error? I seem to recall a President who got in trouble trying to overdefine the term 'is'.

If you are defining infallibility according a moment to moment examination of the truthfulness of what is being said, then I would agree with witega. Someone can speak the truth and thus speak infallibly in that moment. However, if you are speaking more generally of the person, and claiming that they are "incapable of error" or some such thing then I would disagree. They are most certainly still capable of error, even if they spoke the truth. That they didn't err in that moment isn't due to some innate gift given to them (even if sitting on a fancy throne), some mystical inability to make an error. So with this second definition only things like the theanthropic body of Christ, not individual humans, could be said to be infallible (though I have issues with that as well)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: KBN1 on March 28, 2012, 11:26:45 AM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse


Was he a cave dwelling, pole sitting recluse?

Seriously, this question reminds me of George W. Bush's answer in the 2000 presidential debates as to his favorite philosopher. His answer was Jesus.

He lives in a single-wide mobile home and drinks cheap vodka.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: podkarpatska on March 28, 2012, 11:29:09 AM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse


Was he a cave dwelling, pole sitting recluse?

Seriously, this question reminds me of George W. Bush's answer in the 2000 presidential debates as to his favorite philosopher. His answer was Jesus.

He lives in a single-wide mobile home and drinks cheap vodka.

Are you confusing him with that Hyperdox fellow?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: podkarpatska on March 28, 2012, 11:37:48 AM
Anyone, even the Pope, is infallible when speaking the truth. (-Bp. Tikhon of LA, paraphrased from memory).

I suppose that depends on how you define the term infallible, though I don't think it much matters as a theological idea anyway 8)

How could 'truth' be in error? I seem to recall a President who got in trouble trying to overdefine the term 'is'.

If you are defining infallibility according a moment to moment examination of the truthfulness of what is being said, then I would agree with witega. Someone can speak the truth and thus speak infallibly in that moment. However, if you are speaking more generally of the person, and claiming that they are "incapable of error" or some such thing then I would disagree. They are most certainly still capable of error, even if they spoke the truth. That they didn't err in that moment isn't due to some innate gift given to them (even if sitting on a fancy throne), some mystical inability to make an error. So with this second definition only things like the theanthropic body of Christ, not individual humans, could be said to be infallible (though I have issues with that as well)

I think that the word 'infallible' is a hot-button word for those of us Christians not in union with the Pope of Rome. (Actually it is a 'hot-button' term for many Roman Catholics as well and a term which the Church of Rome still has great difficulty in providing a consistent, rational explanation of what it means in relation to the 'ex cathedra' pronouncements of any one Pope. Topic for another day...)

I would agree that no one, even the most illustrious of the Doctors and teachers of the Church could be said to be 'infallible' in all matters regarding the Faith upon which he may have opined in life.(Frankly, some of St. John Chrysostom's writings  regarding Jews come to mind as an example.) However, their teachings which serve the basis for the Glorification of any of the great Doctors and teachers of the Faith are inerrant- and  they represent a part of the infallible (i.e. without error) body of collective teachings of our Church. (In other words, not all of the teachings of any particular Saint are necessarily 'correct.' It is hard to get one's hands around this concept, I have been trying for years..... St. Augustine of Hippo and the his role in the Eastern hagiography is but another example.)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: orthonorm on March 28, 2012, 11:39:13 AM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse


Was he a cave dwelling, pole sitting recluse?

Seriously, this question reminds me of George W. Bush's answer in the 2000 presidential debates as to his favorite philosopher. His answer was Jesus.

He lives in a single-wide mobile home and drinks cheap vodka.

I love this language phenomenon.

Once you had trailers and double-wides.
Double-wides became so popular that the previously normative word for a non double-wide trailer had to gain a modifier.

I remember when there were tacos.

Then tacos and soft tacos.

Now, soft tacos and hard / crispy / crunchy tacos, if you can find the latter.


Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: KBN1 on March 28, 2012, 12:01:52 PM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse


Was he a cave dwelling, pole sitting recluse?

Seriously, this question reminds me of George W. Bush's answer in the 2000 presidential debates as to his favorite philosopher. His answer was Jesus.

He lives in a single-wide mobile home and drinks cheap vodka.

Are you confusing him with that Hyperdox fellow?

Nope.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: mike on March 28, 2012, 03:48:49 PM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse


Was he a cave dwelling, pole sitting recluse?

Seriously, this question reminds me of George W. Bush's answer in the 2000 presidential debates as to his favorite philosopher. His answer was Jesus.

He lives in a single-wide mobile home and drinks cheap vodka.

Are you confusing him with that Hyperdox fellow?

www.orthograph.me/

Try there.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: JamesRottnek on March 28, 2012, 04:02:09 PM
Curmudgeophan the Recluse


Was he a cave dwelling, pole sitting recluse?

Seriously, this question reminds me of George W. Bush's answer in the 2000 presidential debates as to his favorite philosopher. His answer was Jesus.

He lives in a single-wide mobile home and drinks cheap vodka.

Are you confusing him with that Hyperdox fellow?

www.orthograph.me/

Try there.

I do believe I've met the man behind that; he's fairly nice.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: minasoliman on March 28, 2012, 10:09:28 PM
Anyone, even the Pope, is infallible when speaking the truth. (-Bp. Tikhon of LA, paraphrased from memory).

I suppose that depends on how you define the term infallible, though I don't think it much matters as a theological idea anyway 8)

How could 'truth' be in error? I seem to recall a President who got in trouble trying to overdefine the term 'is'.

If you are defining infallibility according a moment to moment examination of the truthfulness of what is being said, then I would agree with witega. Someone can speak the truth and thus speak infallibly in that moment. However, if you are speaking more generally of the person, and claiming that they are "incapable of error" or some such thing then I would disagree. They are most certainly still capable of error, even if they spoke the truth. That they didn't err in that moment isn't due to some innate gift given to them (even if sitting on a fancy throne), some mystical inability to make an error. So with this second definition only things like the theanthropic body of Christ, not individual humans, could be said to be infallible (though I have issues with that as well)

My choice of the word stems from the fact that his writings seem to stand at such high regard, practically almost no one questions his theology.  His writings alone seem to suffice at any given issue if found in them.  In fact, almost like the Bible if you think about it.  We also say that the authors of the Bible might have not been infallible in ALL things, but certainly their writings kept in the Bible are infallible.

And plus, I did say "most" infallible...so I'm implying there are degrees of infallibility ;)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: JamesR on March 28, 2012, 10:10:18 PM
Most Influental: St. Athanasius, he developed Theosis and the foundation of the Trinity, hard to beat that.
Most Overrated: St. John Chrysostom, he gave good sermons and had a good message, but wasn't much of a theologian as far as I know.
Most Intelligent: St. Augustine; truly a man of wit and academic intelligence; however, despite his intelligence, he did still make way too many screw-ups. Although, it is fair to say that he corrected many of his former errors later in life in his 'Retractions' book.
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?
Greatest All-Around: St. Gregory the Theologian, his works touched upon almost every topic in a fair and reasonable way.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Aindriú on March 28, 2012, 10:36:49 PM
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?

Yeah
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Ioannis Climacus on March 29, 2012, 12:53:28 AM
Properly understood, a theologian is someone who has seen the uncreated energies of God. Who among these is the greatest? I honestly have no clue. But as far as whose writings I have benefited from the most, it would be a tie between St. John Climacus and Elder Joseph the Hesychast.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: theo philosopher on March 29, 2012, 01:04:24 AM
The greatest? What do we mean by greatest? Do we mean most influential? Then St. Augustine, as he is the primary influence on the West...yet he was off on quite a few things. Do we mean the most accurate?

I guess I'll just take it subjectively. I would make the argument that St. John of Damascus stands as the greatest because he put in writing what had been handed down to that point. Rather than relying on himself, he pointed to the theologians who came before him. In many ways, his writings are so full of content that I don't think one should be able to go into any type of ministry without first having read his works (hyperbole intended).

But then there are Sts. Athanasius, Basil the Great, and so many others.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: KBN1 on March 29, 2012, 01:31:07 AM
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?

Yeah

I'm curious as well.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: JamesR on March 29, 2012, 04:00:02 PM
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?

Yeah

I'm curious as well.

He tried to reduce God into a lousy deistic entity that could be entirely interpreted by the mere human mind even though God is much bigger than that and there are many things about him we will never be able to understand with our minds. Thomas Aquinas did not worship God but worshipped a philosophical idol of God inside of his mind.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Alpo on March 29, 2012, 04:25:07 PM
I'm tempted to answer St. Augus...errr...Fr. Seraphim Rose since I learned my basic attitude towars theology and theologians from him. I don't really know or care what he wrote about Creationism or Toll Houses or other controversial topics but I like his simplicity.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: JamesRottnek on March 29, 2012, 04:37:04 PM
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?

Yeah

I'm curious as well.

He tried to reduce God into a lousy deistic entity that could be entirely interpreted by the mere human mind even though God is much bigger than that and there are many things about him we will never be able to understand with our minds. Thomas Aquinas did not worship God but worshipped a philosophical idol of God inside of his mind.

Quite the judgmental young man we are.  Thomas Aquinas quit writing his treatise after seeing the uncreated light.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Alpo on March 29, 2012, 04:40:45 PM
Quite the judgmental young man we are.  Thomas Aquinas quit writing his treatise after seeing the uncreated light.

While I agree about that being judgemental how can you know it was the Uncreated Light? He certainly had some sort of religious experience but what makes you think it was the Uncreated Light in the Orthodox sense?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on March 29, 2012, 04:44:00 PM
I would make the argument that St. John of Damascus stands as the greatest because he put in writing what had been handed down to that point.

I called him boring, but I will admit that I do like some of the passages found in the Exact Exposition..., such as what he says about materality in book one, or the Scriptures in book four. Good times.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Gorazd on March 29, 2012, 04:48:32 PM
EO: Fr. Alexander Schmemann
OO: Fr. Matta al Maskeen
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: JamesR on March 29, 2012, 05:21:15 PM
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?

Yeah

I'm curious as well.

He tried to reduce God into a lousy deistic entity that could be entirely interpreted by the mere human mind even though God is much bigger than that and there are many things about him we will never be able to understand with our minds. Thomas Aquinas did not worship God but worshipped a philosophical idol of God inside of his mind.

Quite the judgmental young man we are.  Thomas Aquinas quit writing his treatise after seeing the uncreated light.

Whether or not he saw the uncreated light is unconfirmed. However, I guess I was being too judgmental.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: KBN1 on March 29, 2012, 05:26:46 PM
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?

Yeah

I'm curious as well.

He tried to reduce God into a lousy deistic entity that could be entirely interpreted by the mere human mind even though God is much bigger than that and there are many things about him we will never be able to understand with our minds. Thomas Aquinas did not worship God but worshipped a philosophical idol of God inside of his mind.

Have you read his Summa Theologica?  It is an honest question so please don't read anything into it.  I haven't tackled the Summa.  Maybe I will.

A side question to those of you who know a bit about Thomas Aquinas:  Where should a guy start who isn't ready to take on 3000+ pages?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: JamesR on March 29, 2012, 05:29:30 PM
Have you read his Summa Theologica?  It is an honest question so please don't read anything into it.  I haven't tackled the Summa.  Maybe I will.

Yes and no. I read one of those selected-writings from the Summa Theologica books. I think penguin was the publisher. It was back when I was a Protestant going through this apologetics craze. I guess I was being too judgmental, but, it seems like from what I read, Thomas Aquinas was more of a philosopher than an actual theologian.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: theo philosopher on March 31, 2012, 02:40:58 AM
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?

Yeah

I'm curious as well.

He tried to reduce God into a lousy deistic entity that could be entirely interpreted by the mere human mind even though God is much bigger than that and there are many things about him we will never be able to understand with our minds. Thomas Aquinas did not worship God but worshipped a philosophical idol of God inside of his mind.

Have you read his Summa Theologica?  It is an honest question so please don't read anything into it.  I haven't tackled the Summa.  Maybe I will.

A side question to those of you who know a bit about Thomas Aquinas:  Where should a guy start who isn't ready to take on 3000+ pages?

Kreeft's "Summa of the Summa," or Kreeft's "An Even Shorter Summa of the Summa."
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: KBN1 on March 31, 2012, 10:38:14 PM
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?

Yeah

I'm curious as well.

He tried to reduce God into a lousy deistic entity that could be entirely interpreted by the mere human mind even though God is much bigger than that and there are many things about him we will never be able to understand with our minds. Thomas Aquinas did not worship God but worshipped a philosophical idol of God inside of his mind.

Have you read his Summa Theologica?  It is an honest question so please don't read anything into it.  I haven't tackled the Summa.  Maybe I will.

A side question to those of you who know a bit about Thomas Aquinas:  Where should a guy start who isn't ready to take on 3000+ pages?

Kreeft's "Summa of the Summa," or Kreeft's "An Even Shorter Summa of the Summa."

Thank you.  539 pages seems managable.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Shiny on July 01, 2012, 01:46:43 AM
Vladimir Lossky
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Shiny on July 01, 2012, 01:54:07 AM
Quick question how Orthodox is Summa Theologica, even though its written by a Roman Catholic?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Papist on July 01, 2012, 12:32:40 PM
Worst: Arius or Thomas Aquinas, do I even need to mention why?

Yeah

I'm curious as well.


He tried to reduce God into a lousy deistic entity that could be entirely interpreted by the mere human mind even though God is much bigger than that and there are many things about him we will never be able to understand with our minds. Thomas Aquinas did not worship God but worshipped a philosophical idol of God inside of his mind.
"For by it's immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa conta gentiles, book 1, chapter 14
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Melodist on July 01, 2012, 02:25:30 PM
If the person you believe is the great theologian is not on the list. Just post their name. :)

This is how we got our feast day for the three hierarchs.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: JamesRottnek on July 01, 2012, 03:10:57 PM
Once again, I say St. Isaac of Nineveh.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Kerdy on July 01, 2012, 03:16:06 PM
I don't know enough to provide a clear answer, but does there have to be a greatest?  Couldn't it just be most personally influential?  So far, for me, its Fr. Alexander Schmemman (spelling?).

Proper title added.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Severian on July 18, 2012, 01:16:25 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)
It's almost true, though. Has this great Saint ever taught something that was rejected by the Church?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on July 18, 2012, 01:20:03 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)
It's almost true, though. Has this great Saint ever taught something that was rejected by the Church?

He rejected Esther from his biblical canon ;)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Severian on July 18, 2012, 01:23:58 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)
It's almost true, though. Has this great Saint ever taught something that was rejected by the Church?

He rejected Esther from his biblical canon ;)
That's true. Did he ever teach any doctrinal errors, however?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Alpo on July 18, 2012, 01:27:44 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)
It's almost true, though. Has this great Saint ever taught something that was rejected by the Church?

He rejected Esther from his biblical canon ;)
That's true. Did he ever teach any theological errors, however?

Erring on biblical canon is not a theological error?  ???
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Severian on July 18, 2012, 01:37:02 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)
It's almost true, though. Has this great Saint ever taught something that was rejected by the Church?

He rejected Esther from his biblical canon ;)
That's true. Did he ever teach any theological errors, however?

Erring on biblical canon is not a theological error?  ???
Perhaps doctrinal would have been a better word to use. In any case, there are variances in Biblical canons even within the OO Communions and (AFAIK) EO Communions. The book of Enoch is canonical in the Ethiopian Church, but not in the Coptic Church. The Coptic canon is closer to that of RC's, whereas the Armenian canon is more like the Byzantine one.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: minasoliman on July 19, 2012, 10:21:14 PM

Most overrated infallible theologian: St. Athanasius

;)
It's almost true, though. Has this great Saint ever taught something that was rejected by the Church?

He rejected Esther from his biblical canon ;)
That's true. Did he ever teach any theological errors, however?

Erring on biblical canon is not a theological error?  ???
No, that's not a theological error.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on July 19, 2012, 10:26:20 PM
I agree that specific scriptural canons are theologoumena when considered across the entirety of Christianity (and even within Orthodoxies), albeit a very important one that can't be ignored. But I wasn't asked to give a theological or doctrinal or dogmatic or [insert another term] mistake. The question was: "Has this great Saint ever taught something that was rejected by the Church?"  And the answer is yes, his scriptural canon was rejected by all Christian churches that I know of.  :angel:
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Severian on July 19, 2012, 10:29:48 PM
^Haha, good point! Did he ever teach a doctrinal, dogmatic, or theological error, however?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on July 19, 2012, 10:33:43 PM
^Haha, good point! Did he ever teach a doctrinal, dogmatic, or theological error, however.

It's been a while since I read most of his writings (on CCEL), but I don't recall reading/hearing about any such error :)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Shiny on July 19, 2012, 10:34:33 PM
How reliable is stuff like CCEL?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on July 19, 2012, 10:37:01 PM
How reliable is stuff like CCEL?

Well, it's a Protestant site with Protestant source material (notes, introductions, etc.), but it's better than nothing. The past few years I've used newadvent's Church Fathers section just because it's easier to navigate and link to, but they don't have nearly as many notes or indexes. Unless you mean the translations, then I'm not sure. I have run into things that I wasn't sure about, like the phrase "semi-orthodox" in an oration of St. Gregory the Theologian.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Shiny on July 19, 2012, 10:44:36 PM
I ask that question because I wonder if Protestant theology would somehow distort the original text or the translation philosophy is to be more in line with Protestantism.

Nontheless I too think it's a very good site with alot of information.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: minasoliman on July 19, 2012, 10:50:19 PM
I agree that specific scriptural canons are theologoumena when considered across the entirety of Christianity (and even within Orthodoxies), albeit a very important one that can't be ignored. But I wasn't asked to give a theological or doctrinal or dogmatic or [insert another term] mistake. The question was: "Has this great Saint ever taught something that was rejected by the Church?"  And the answer is yes, his scriptural canon was rejected by all Christian churches that I know of.  :angel:
Actually if anything, Esther wasn't rejected completely, but was considered pious reading, recommended by the Fathers for those "wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness".
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Shiny on July 19, 2012, 11:01:09 PM
If I can add nothing to this discussion of St. Athansius' it would be I've had a few atheists confess that his On the Incarnation made them rethink about Christianity. It also made an impression on me when I was inquring into Orthodoxy and made me fall in love with the saint.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Severian on July 19, 2012, 11:11:24 PM
In which letter was it that he set forth the Biblical canon (excluding Esther)?

EDIT: Thank you Asteriktos.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on July 19, 2012, 11:18:11 PM
Letter 39 (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204.xxv.iii.iii.xxv.html) (from 367)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: RobS on July 24, 2018, 02:38:05 PM
I sometimes wonder if St. John of Damascus was ever a true theologian.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: LivenotoneviL on July 24, 2018, 02:41:38 PM
I think Saint Cyril of Alexandria is up there, from reading his commentary on the Gospel of John.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Tzimis on July 24, 2018, 03:39:54 PM
St. Maximos the confessor. He confessed. Read him if you want to gaze into the mysteries of god.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Dominika on July 24, 2018, 03:50:28 PM
I sometimes wonder if St. John of Damascus was ever a true theologian.

Why?  :o
He's my beloved (theologian) one.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Iconodule on July 24, 2018, 04:16:17 PM
I sometimes wonder if St. John of Damascus was ever a true theologian.

Why?  :o
He's my beloved (theologian) one.

Yeah, pretty odd thing to wonder about the author of the Paschal Canon.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Jetavan on July 24, 2018, 04:38:09 PM
Origenes Adamantius
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: biro on July 24, 2018, 09:20:26 PM
St. John The.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: LivenotoneviL on July 24, 2018, 09:33:57 PM
St. John The.

+1

No theological work has been as inspiring to the Saints as this one.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Tzimis on July 24, 2018, 10:53:26 PM
Greeks couldn't decide so they made a feast day for the three Hierarchs. January 30.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: biro on July 24, 2018, 10:55:14 PM
Very good. :)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: RaphaCam on July 25, 2018, 12:19:24 AM
WPM and pasadi97
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Asteriktos on July 25, 2018, 02:12:59 AM
WPM and pasadi97

"And the Lord said unto pasadi97, 'See, I have made thee a god to oc.net: and WPM thy brother shall be thy prophet." (Ex. 7:1)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: hecma925 on July 25, 2018, 08:52:17 AM
WPM and pasadi97

"And the Lord said unto pasadi97, 'See, I have made thee a god to oc.net: and WPM thy brother shall be thy prophet." (Ex. 7:1)

And GOD saw that the wickedness of OCnet was great in the local area, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

(OC Gen. 6:5)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: RobS on July 25, 2018, 02:26:36 PM
I sometimes wonder if St. John of Damascus was ever a true theologian.

Why?  :o
He's my beloved (theologian) one.
Actually I've been thinking a lot about what makes a theologian...well a theologian? The more I read, the less I'm clear on that. Even the Church has given the title to only 3 saints.

St. John is my patron saint, after all, but even in his Fount...it's much more summary than it is theology. Or maybe my understanding of theology is too narrow. I dunno, I'm not dogmatic about any of my opinions...
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Dominika on July 26, 2018, 07:04:15 AM
I sometimes wonder if St. John of Damascus was ever a true theologian.

Why?  :o
He's my beloved (theologian) one.
Actually I've been thinking a lot about what makes a theologian...well a theologian? The more I read, the less I'm clear on that. Even the Church has given the title to only 3 saints.

St. John is my patron saint, after all, but even in his Fount...it's much more summary than it is theology. Or maybe my understanding of theology is too narrow. I dunno, I'm not dogmatic about any of my opinions...
Quite funny, but on one of Coptic sites I've seen "theologian" being attributed to st. John Damascene.
Anyway, the Fountain of Knowledge is quite specific thing: the first part just gives and describes the tools for deduction, the second part is rejection of wrong deductions and the third part is explaing right deduction ;)

Every Christian should be a theologian, see (that's an English translation from Arabic) this text written by metropolitan Paul of Aleppo: Who is the theologian? (https://paulyazigienglish.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/who-is-the-theologian/)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Ainnir on July 26, 2018, 07:42:52 AM
Every Christian should be a theologian, see (that's an English translation from Arabic) this text written by metropolitan Paul of Aleppo: Who is the theologian? (https://paulyazigienglish.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/who-is-the-theologian/)

Great article!
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: WPM on July 26, 2018, 09:53:24 AM
Thomas Aquinas helpful for understanding Catholics
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion
Post by: Alpha60 on August 02, 2018, 07:44:49 AM
There are three persons formally venerated Theologians within the EO church, from what I understand, two of whom are also venerated in the OO communion: St. John the Apostle, and St. Gregory Nazianzus.   I see no reason for the Oriental church to not venerate St. Symeon the New.  These individuals are specifically venerated as theologians due to having left a written record detailing direct personal contact with God, but obviously these three people are not by any means the only theologians; I believe fervently in the adage “he who prays is a theologian”, and to the extent I am not a theologian, for example, it is due to sloth and irresponsibility in my personal prayer life.  All of the saints are in this respect theologians.

Now if we use a Western definition and describe a theologian as a scholar of the Christian religion, I can easily list my favorite “scholars of theology” as I prefer to call them in that context, if they are Orthodox, and then for comparative purposes, my favorite “scholars of religion” among the heterodox.  The scholars of theology could also be called church fathers, and some of the scholars of religion can also be called heresiarchs.   There are also a few edge cases, where I believe we wrongly anathematized someone.

My favorite Orthodox scholars of religion/Church Fathers:

1. St. Athanasius
2. St. Irenaeus of Lyons and St. (Psuedo) Dionysius the Aeropagite
3. St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. John Chrysostom (tie)
4. St. Epiphanius of Salamis and St. Maximos the Confessor (tie)
5. St. Jacob of Sarugh and St. Ephrem the Syrian (tie)
6. St. Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian (tie)
7. St. Severus and St. Hippolytus (tie)
8. St. Gregory of Nyssa and John of Damascus (tie)
9. St. Ambrose of Milan and St. Gregory Diologos (tie)
10. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov and St. Cyril of Jerusalem (tie)
11. Sts. Macarius and Nicodemus of Athos
12. St. Nikitas Stithatos, St. Gregory of Palamas and St. Symeon the New (tie)
13. St. Gregorios bar Hebraeus
14. Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
15. St. Dionysius bar Salibi

Honorable Mentions: St. Augustine, St. Justin Martyr, St. Peter Fullo, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Photius the Great, St. Mark of Ephesus, St. Pope Cyril IV

Edge cases:
Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia
Jan Hus**

My favorite philosophers and scholars of religion (not canonical members of the Orthodox Church)

1. Dom Gregory Dix
2. Fr. Percy Dearmer
3. John Wesley*
4. John Hunter
5. Cardinal Ximenes and Carlos Borromeos (tie)
6. Thomas Aquinas
7. Soren Kierkegaard
8. Plato
9.  Maimonides
10.  Martin Luther
11.  Archbishop Cranmer
12. Eusebius of Caesarea
13.  John Calvin
14. Valentinian
15.  Zoroaster


Honorble mentions: Laozi, George Fox,  Certain assorted Sufi mystics connected with the Alevi, Bektasi and Mevlevi orders

* Actually he may have been a member; this depends on how one interprets his irregular ordination to the episcopate by Bishop Erasmus of Arcadia in 1763).
** I recall reading the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is glorifying him; if so, splendid news

Finally, among living Orthodox scholars of theology:

1. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
2. Fr. Lazarus el-Antony and Fr. John Behr (tie)
3. Fr. Peter Farrington and Archpriest Andrew S. Damick (tie)

And among living non-Orthodox scholars:

1. Pope Benedict XVI
2. Fr. Peter Owen Jones
3. Archbishop Rowan Williams (retired)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: hecma925 on August 02, 2018, 10:32:46 AM
Why would the Church glorify Jan Hus?
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Iconodule on August 02, 2018, 10:44:00 AM
Why would the Church glorify Jan Hus?

Metropolitan Christopher of Prague, for one, expressed the opinion  (http://pravoslavie.ru/49048.html)that Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague were martyrs for the Orthodox faith. He also claims that the Churches of Greece and Cyprus agree with him on this. I have not seen anything else corroborating this.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Dominika on August 02, 2018, 10:53:27 AM
Why would the Church glorify Jan Hus?

Metropolitan Christopher of Prague, for one, expressed the opinion  (http://pravoslavie.ru/49048.html)that Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague were martyrs for the Orthodox faith. He also claims that the Churches of Greece and Cyprus agree with him on this. I have not seen anything else corroborating this.

Also one of Polish Orthodox proffesors says that Jan Hus was persecuted for coming back to the Moravian Orthodox tradition.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion
Post by: Alpha60 on August 02, 2018, 11:56:31 AM
Why would the Church glorify Jan Hus?

Metropolitan Christopher of Prague, for one, expressed the opinion  (http://pravoslavie.ru/49048.html)that Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague were martyrs for the Orthodox faith. He also claims that the Churches of Greece and Cyprus agree with him on this. I have not seen anything else corroborating this.

Also one of Polish Orthodox proffesors says that Jan Hus was persecuted for coming back to the Moravian Orthodox tradition.

Indeed so.  Jan Hus, like many Czechs, was incensed by the imposition of the Latin Rite and denying the chalice to the laity.  This prompted the formation of several churches which I see as attempts by the Czechs to restore what they had previously, including the Moravians and the Utraquists (who used the Latin Rite but allowed the laity to partake of the chalice).  I can find no theological fault with the Utraquists.

In the case of the Moravians, they were so severely persecuted and chased across central Europe that relatively few remained when they settled in Saxony on the estate of Count Zinzendorf.  By that time, they were tired and bedraggled, with little left in the way of clergy or a clear understanding of their faith; their plight was arguably worse than that of the Assyrian Church of the East in the early 20th century.  While living in the safety of Zizendorf’s lands, they came naturally to look up to him as a holy man, a divine agent who had saved their lives, and as a result Zinzendorf’s various Pietist theological errors took root, and the Moravian theology took on a disagreeable Pietist Protestant bent.

I recently watched a video of one of their recent Sunday services, and it looked like a standard Lutheran, Anglican or Methodist service; I saw nothing offensive, and at the very least the Moravians are not iconoclasts or Calvinists.  They have a strong Eucharistic focus and retain some Orthodox customs like the Agape.  I believe ecumenical reconciliation with the Moravians is possible and potentially in the future of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church.

That church, meanwhile, I think it should be stressed, is the true heir to Jan Hus and the Utraquists; it restores everything they were missing.  It has evolved beyond a church catering largely to the ethnic minority of Rusyns into a proper national Orthodox church, which I believe will grow to fill the gap left by the withering and decrepit Roman Catholic church in that region, and which unlike the Carpathian Greek Catholic Church, is not limited to a specific ethnolinguistic group (e.g. Rusyns), but rather embraces the whole lot of Czechs, Bohemians, Carpathians, Moravians and Slovaks.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Justin Kolodziej on August 02, 2018, 12:01:45 PM
Is he still actually Metropolitan of Prague? I've seen some strange stuff online within the Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia trying to figure out if Jan Hus was actually venerated there, so I gave up. (I care because I'm part Slovak)
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Iconodule on August 02, 2018, 12:59:33 PM
Is he still actually Metropolitan of Prague? I've seen some strange stuff online within the Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia trying to figure out if Jan Hus was actually venerated there, so I gave up. (I care because I'm part Slovak)

No, he is no longer a ruling bishop. If what he and Dominika's prof say is a common opinion, I imagine Jan Hus is quietly venerated even if not officially glorified.

There was a real drive among at least some Hussites to unite with Orthodoxy, and their envoy to Constantinople converted. Unfortunately war and other events made further talks impracticable.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Iconodule on August 02, 2018, 01:24:05 PM
An interesting article in Czech (https://www.studiatheologica.eu/pdfs/sth/2015/04/17.pdf) summarizes Orthodox attitudes to Jan Hus over the centuries. At first he seems to have been mostly relegated to the Protestant camp and condemned accordingly- this is easy to understand since the Hussite movement had been thoroughly appropriated by the Protestants and the Catholics were all too willing to concede it. In the 19th century a new attitude emerged, with many Orthodox scholars of a pan-Slavic bent arguing for Jan Hus' orthodoxy. In the early 20th century some Czech Orthodox applied, twice, to the Russian Holy Synod to canonize Hus; the Synod refused to make a ruling either way. However the Church in Prague began to serve a panakhida for Hus and continues to do so every July 5.
Title: Re: Greatest Theologian in your opinion?
Post by: Alpha60 on August 07, 2018, 12:48:53 PM
An interesting article in Czech (https://www.studiatheologica.eu/pdfs/sth/2015/04/17.pdf) summarizes Orthodox attitudes to Jan Hus over the centuries. At first he seems to have been mostly relegated to the Protestant camp and condemned accordingly- this is easy to understand since the Hussite movement had been thoroughly appropriated by the Protestants and the Catholics were all too willing to concede it. In the 19th century a new attitude emerged, with many Orthodox scholars of a pan-Slavic bent arguing for Jan Hus' orthodoxy. In the early 20th century some Czech Orthodox applied, twice, to the Russian Holy Synod to canonize Hus; the Synod refused to make a ruling either way. However the Church in Prague began to serve a panakhida for Hus and continues to do so every July 5.

Very interesting indeed.