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Author Topic: Orthodox Theological Classics  (Read 1350 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: August 11, 2009, 03:03:04 AM »

I was looking for a book of John of Damascus's An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, which I was unable to find, and I got to wondering about the 'classic' theological works.  Can you all please provide me with a list of the essentials, such as On the Incarnation and the like, complete with links to books for purchase?
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2009, 03:58:12 AM »

I just copy-pasted John Cassian's On the Incarnation from New Advent:

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3509.htm

It isn't necessarily "a classic", or that popular, but I was pleased to find a Western perspective on the Nestorian controversy given that most of the other figures who wrote about it were Eastern Christian.
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2009, 04:38:08 AM »

Here's a link to an online version:

http://www.orthodox.net/fathers/exacti.html#BOOK_I_CHAPTER_I
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2009, 09:17:02 AM »

If English is your primary language, probably the easiest way to go about building your Patristic library is to work your way through St. Vladimir's Popular Patristic series: http://www.svspress.com/index.php?cPath=43_8_16

You'll get good introductions, notes and readable translations of many of the seminal authors, including selections that deal with dogmatics (especially Christology), iconography, liturgics, sacraments, asceticism, social outreach, prayer and mysticism.

If you don't mind sending your money to the Big Daddy of Protestant/Christian book sellers, then buy them here at a discount: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content?page=1192577&sp=85684

Personally, I would also snag a copy of the Apostolic Fathers (those from the early second century) and read those first. I recommend The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations by Michael W. Holmes, since it has the most up-to-date manuscripts and translation, but there are many other volumes available, including some that are in the public domain, so you could read them online for free (for example, http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html, where you can also read old translations of many important Patristic works that aren't in the SVS series).

After reading the Apostolic Fathers, I'd work through some of the most important entries in the SVS series in this order (kind of influenced by chronology, but mixing it up occasionally for the sake of thematic variety):

On the Apostolic Preaching: St Irenaeus of Lyons 
On the Apostolic Tradition: St. Hippolytus
On the Christian Sacraments: St Cyril of Jerusalem
On the Incarnation: St. Athanasius the Great
On the Holy Spirit: St Basil the Great
On Ascetical Life: St Isaac of Nineveh
On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations: St Gregory the Theologian
On the Unity of Christ: St Cyril of Alexandria
On Wealth and Poverty: St John Chrysostom
On The Divine Liturgy: St Germanus of Constantinople
Three Treatises on the Divine Images: St. John of Damascus
On Marriage and Family Life: St John Chrysostom
On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ: St. Maximos the Confessor
On the Mystical Life, Vols. I, II & III: St. Symeon the New Theologian

Mix it up even more if you want, and, of course, move on to the various other entries in the series thereafter. There are probably about 12 others in addition to the ones listed above.
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2009, 10:11:57 AM »

I just copy-pasted John Cassian's On the Incarnation from New Advent:

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3509.htm

It isn't necessarily "a classic", or that popular, but I was pleased to find a Western perspective on the Nestorian controversy given that most of the other figures who wrote about it were Eastern Christian.

How is John Cassian Western?  He was Romanian.
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2009, 11:38:44 AM »

When it gets reprinted, The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian is a must. It has been out of print for some time and used copies can goes for over a thousand bucks but Holy Transfiguration Monastery says that the second edition will be available at the end of the year, God willing.
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2009, 04:37:41 PM »

If English is your primary language, probably the easiest way to go about building your Patristic library is to work your way through St. Vladimir's Popular Patristic series: http://www.svspress.com/index.php?cPath=43_8_16

Is their any way to figure out the actual numbering in the series?  Is it cataloged anywhere?
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2009, 05:18:18 PM »

"How is John Cassian Western?  He was Romanian."

My understanding was that he predominantly lived and worked in the West, though he came from the East.
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2009, 06:12:27 PM »

I would take a different view of what constitutes a classic theological classic: classic as not as ancient but most influential. In this vein, the following 20th Century theologians should be considered: Georges Florovsky, Father Alexander Schmemann, Jaroslav Pelikan, Father John Meyendorf, Father Seraphim Rose, Vladimir Lossky, Father Thomas Hopko, Father John Romanides, Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom), Metropoltan Kallistos (Ware), Archimandrite Justin Popović, Father Alexander Men, Father Pavel Florensky, Metropolitan John (Zizioulas), Father Sergei Bulgakov, and Father Dumitru Stăniloae. This collection is as great a group of theologians as any--at any age or church. We are indeed blessed.
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