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« on: April 21, 2008, 05:30:39 PM »


I'm looking for any/all reading material for a total newbie...I mean a real, total newbie. It's been difficult to find something in this niche because it seems a lot of Eastern Christian literature is directed to people already familiar with a Western Christian paradigm.

Basically, my parents were "raised Catholic", had bad experiences, and prevented me from going to church or learning that much about Christianity since they found it corrupt. As a result I'm really unfamiliar with this stuff...I searched for a "which bible version do I use" thread, and I was confused by the terminology/abbreviations/etc. I mean, I'm not even sure what canons are yet. :/ Sorry if it sounds dumb, but I'm starting from the bottom up. I'd just like to know:

- which Bible version to read (I don't know the historical connotations of any)
- helpful reading material for sheltered newbs.

I'd like to study a lot. I don't know if I will be able to convert yet because I feel way too flawed, but that's another story for another post. Right now I just need to figure out basics...thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2008, 05:35:25 PM »

Firstly, welcome to the forum!  I hope you have a fun and enriching experience here.  You might like to have a look around in the Convert Issues forum as there are many good threads there for those new to the faith and those inquiring into it.

As for books to start with, a popular one is The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware.  It gives a decent history of the church and the basic tenets of the faith.  (I found the history a little dry, but it was good to know anyway).  Father Ware has another book called The Orthodox Way which goes more into the beliefs of the Orthodox Church.  I found it to be more readable than the first book I mentioned.

Also helpful: For The Life of the World by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

If you need any help figuring out terminology or abbreviations, feel free to ask!  We're here to help.  Grin  Let me go check around a bit, but there are some more good books about the Orthodox Church that you'd enjoy.

(Edited to include some more books and correct a title. Smiley)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2008, 05:38:32 PM by EofK » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2008, 05:38:34 PM »

Welcome to the forum!  There is a new Orthodox Study bible that was recently released.  That would be a good book to start with since the footnotes/studynotes have been written by Orthodox Christian scholars.   Another book people like to read is "The Orthodox Church" By Bishop Kallistos.  This book can be found at the local Barnes and Nobles under the author's secular name, Timothy Ware. 

Another good way to start is to call the local Orthodox priest.  He can answer your questions and point you to study material that he uses to guide inquirers.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2008, 05:42:09 PM by username! » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2008, 07:07:07 PM »

The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way are excellent starting points, as was already mentioned.

After that, I would recommend anything by Fr. Schmemann and Fr. Meyendorff, as they were both excellent professors at St. Vladamir's Seminary (both of whom taught my priest while he was there). St. Athanasios' On the Incarnation is also good once you begin to learn about the finer points of Orthodox theology.

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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2008, 07:21:38 PM »

Welcome to the forum! I agree with the others; The Orthodox Church by Bishop Ware is a great place to start.

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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2008, 09:07:27 PM »

Well I am a newbie too.

Of all the books that I read, I would recommend these books and why?

1) The Faith We Hold by Archbishop Paul of Finland

It is concise and a short text with scripture proof as well.  It is better to start off with small books, than go to bigger books, so you can build on little by little.

2) The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware

I am more into spirituality, and Orthodox Theology is very spiritual, so this is why I would recommend this book second.

3) The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware

This expounds upon the information in the first two books, with a little history, there are things in the other books that aren't in this one.

4) The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos C. Markidies

It is a great introduction to the over all view of Orthodox Spirituality.

5) Any book by Alexander Schmenann.

6) The Bible that the some Orthodox use is the Orthodox Study Bible

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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2008, 12:42:48 PM »

When your ready:
An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith


"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Orthodoxy = 7, not 3
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2008, 07:16:58 PM »

I was in a position not altogether different from yours when I converted - I didn't even know there was a such thing as the Transfiguration until I heard about it at church.   Shocked   I too find it irritating that so much Orthodox apologetic material assumes you're either Protestant or RC.  Orthodoxy is for people who come from anything.

If you're as ignorant as I was, there was one thing I did that helped quite a bit.  Don't laugh, but I actually found it helpful to watch those evangelical networks' "Bible stories"-type programs, the ones geared for little kids.  Most of the time they contained information that was totally new to me.  Of such is the kingdom of heaven!

The Rainbow Series was also very helpful.  http://www.oca.org/OCorthfaith.asp?SID=2
« Last Edit: April 23, 2008, 07:18:48 PM by Orual » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2008, 09:01:11 PM »

Of all the books I read when I first started investigating Orthodoxy the one that I found most enlightening was The Truth of Our Faith by Elder Cleopas of Romania.  He quite effectively shows the connection between what we believe and what is found in Scripture. It can be quite an eye-opener for a "bible only" Protestant.

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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2008, 11:11:25 AM »

The Law of God - helped me and answered a LOT of questions!

Expect the best, Prepare for the worst!
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2008, 11:54:22 AM »

Very lengthy and important excerpts from Bishop Kallistos's book "Orthodox Church" can be found here:



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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2008, 12:56:37 PM »

One book that I found beneficial was:

One Flew Over The Onion Dome
by: Fr. Joseph David Hunneycutt

(The same guy who does the "Orthodixie" podcast on Ancient Faith.)

The Ancient Faith Radio website is another good resource, especially their podcasts.

An outstanding resource that I found very beneficial is:
The Internet School of Orthodox Studies (ISOS)

Especially their 2003 class:
An Introduction to Orthodox Theology

This class uses the book:
Elements of Faith (1991)
by Christos Yannaras

« Last Edit: May 09, 2008, 01:12:24 PM by howdydave » Logged


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