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Author Topic: Non-Orthodox Lossky?  (Read 848 times) Average Rating: 0
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Heorhij
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« on: October 06, 2008, 02:02:00 PM »

Dear knowledgeable people,

Since the days of my short catechumenate (December 2006- February 2007) and to this day, Vladimir Lossky has been one of my most favorite Orthodox writers. Because I grew up in the former USSR and can read Russian without any difficulty, I read his two books, "Dogmatic Theology" and "An Outline of the Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church" in their original Russian, using their texts online at http://www.wco.ru/biblio/. Both books were a great pleasure to read, and I would never ever suspect that something could possibly be wrong with them.

However, recently, I heard from one priest that Lossky was "not quite Orthodox." The priest is not Orthodox himself but a Ukrainian Eastern Rite Catholic, so I thought, maybe he got a wrong information from somewhere. Yet, when I looked up the article about Lossky in OrthodoxWicki, and clicked on some links there, I found, for example, these nice but still chilling, in a sense, words of Protopresbyter Fr. Alexander Schmemann:

"Having received an excellent philosophical training, Vladimir Lossky was at home in the world of contemporary philosophy with all its problems and methods. But he was equally at home in the thought and the spirituality of the Fathers, deeply rooted in all the living sources of Orthodox theological tradition. Hence the creative, the living spirit in his own theological work. He did not simply "quote" the Fathers and tradition, his loyalty to them was not that of a blind conservative . . . In one of the forthcoming issues of our "Quarterly", Professor Verkhovsky will discuss in detail Vladimir Lossky’s contribution to contemporary Orthodox theology (cf. the review of his book on the "Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church" in the book review section.) Let me say here, that on various issues of our troubled and confused Church life many of us were often in disagreement with Vladimir Lossky, but these disagreements have never had any effect on our friendship and the respect we had for his sincerity and his truly Christian Spirit. No disagreement however sharp, no discussion, however heated, would become "personal" with him, for he was not looking for personal "recognition"."  (http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/lossky.html)

Could you please clarify for me, what were these disagreements? In what sense could professor Vladimir Lossky be "not quite Orthodox?"

Thank you all so much in advance,

George
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2008, 04:32:19 PM »

Heorhij,

I cannot comment directly on your question as to whether Prof. Lossky was "not quite Orthodox."  I, myself, have read his Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church and have found it a most illuminating, though difficult, work.  But, consider a few things:

1)  Orthodox Wiki (like any other Wiki sight) can be modified by anyone, from the most informed to the least informed.  I'd expand my range of sources to consult.

2)  There are many people, especially in Russia, who have regarded Fr. Schmemann as "not quite Orthodox" and have even burned some of his books!  So, consider the source there.

I have great respect for both men and their books have been a great joy to read and to illumine me in the faith of the fathers.   There will, I gather, always be objectors to one person or another.  History is filled with men calling others "not quite this" or whatever.  Consider that St. Isaac the Syrian was almost Nestorian and that St. Gregory of Nyssa wrongfully taught and believed that there would be a universal resurrection and salvation at the end which would include Satan.  Even the late Fr. Seraphim (Rose) is no stranger to endless criticisms and attacks about his Orthodoxy. 

I'm sure you already know all of this; I would just ask that you pause and reflect on the dangers of asking such a question.  Just my $.02.  I'm sure I am owed a refund.
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2008, 04:47:55 PM »

^  In addition to what Scamandrius said above, disagreement between various theologians over issues on which the Church has not spoken dogmatically does not make one or the other party "not quite Orthodox".  Where there's room for well-informed theological opinions, there's room also for disagreeing theological opinions.
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Heorhij
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2008, 04:50:22 PM »

Scamandrius, thank you for this comment! I would be happy to send you a check for your $0.02, if you let me know the address.Smiley (But you earned a lot more than that, brother!)

I know, I myself would never join any crowd that finds some "dissenting" view on this thing or other in an Orthodox theologian and says, "look, how could he write this, - maybe he is not as Orthodox as he wants us to believe."  I recall reqading somewhere that "a PERFECT Orthodox is an oxymoron." Smiley

Still, I'd be grateful if someone could point for me, what could have been these "sharp disagreements" between prof. V. Lossky and other Orthodox writers of his time.
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2008, 10:03:27 PM »

I'd be grateful if someone could point for me, what could have been these "sharp disagreements" between prof. V. Lossky and other Orthodox writers of his time.

No takers???
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