Author Topic: Books for Converts  (Read 3349 times)

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Offline militantsparrow

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Books for Converts
« on: October 11, 2009, 05:32:05 PM »
I recently read The Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Kallistos. I really enjoyed it.

Because I am on a journey for the Truth and because I wanted to hear both sides, I decided to follow up my reading of Metropolitan Kallistos' book with a Catholic equivalent. I chose Triumph by H. W. Crocker III. Unfortunately, I can't even get through it. Even though it is meant to be a pro-Catholic book, I find it hard to stomach.

At any rate, I want to read another book on the ancient Church from the Eastern Orthodox point of view.

Would you be so kind as to recommend a book for me to read next?

Grazie
« Last Edit: October 11, 2009, 05:40:56 PM by militantsparrow »
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Online scamandrius

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2009, 05:54:59 PM »
Welcome to the forum, militantsparrow.

THere have been many threads already devoted to convert reading lists. May I suggest a search through the site?

However, it seems you are looking for something more historical than doctrinal truths?  I would suggest that you find a copy of Jarsolav Pelikan's second volume of the Christian Tradition entitled The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700). It will get into a lot of the issues that teh early church wrestled with particularly in the east.  The late Dr. Pelikan was a convert to Orthodoxy from Lutheranism and a great scholar.  It is dense reading, but well worth the effort.

Look forward to hearing more from you.
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Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2009, 08:10:26 PM »
If you're looking for more on the theological side of things, there is always The Orthodox Way by Met. Kallistos. And for something else that is a condensed version of Church history, you could look into The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy by Alexander Schmemann. I would also second the suggestion of scamandrius regarding The Christian Tradition by Jaroslav Pelikan (especially the first two volumes).

Offline militantsparrow

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2009, 08:18:30 PM »
THere have been many threads already devoted to convert reading lists. May I suggest a search through the site?

However, it seems you are looking for something more historical than doctrinal truths? 

scamandrius,
Thank you. Yes, I have searched through the forums and have found lots of suggestions, but its like being a kid in a candy store. So I was hoping to refine my results a little by asking for some specifically historical books as you gleaned.

I will definitely put The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) on my wish list. Thank you.
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline militantsparrow

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2009, 08:21:55 PM »
If you're looking for more on the theological side of things, there is always The Orthodox Way by Met. Kallistos. And for something else that is a condensed version of Church history, you could look into The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy by Alexander Schmemann. I would also second the suggestion of scamandrius regarding The Christian Tradition by Jaroslav Pelikan (especially the first two volumes).

Asteriktos,
Thank you. Met. Kallistos' The Orthodox Way sounds like a good next step since I'm already familiar with his writing and enjoy it. I'll be putting The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy on my wish list as well.
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline wynd

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2009, 10:30:27 PM »
If you're looking for more on the theological side of things, there is always The Orthodox Way by Met. Kallistos.

I agree. People always seem to leave this one out.

Offline Tobit

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2009, 11:22:44 PM »
Ten books to choose from that I think might help you.

  • The Lives of the Saints
  • The Lives of the Saints
  • The Lives of the Saints
  • The Lives of the Saints
  • The Lives of the Saints
  • The Lives of the Saints
  • The Lives of the Saints
  • The Lives of the Saints
  • The Lives of the Saints
  • The Lives of the Saints

I think that should about do it.  ;D

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2009, 11:33:48 PM »
If you're looking for more on the theological side of things, there is always The Orthodox Way by Met. Kallistos. And for something else that is a condensed version of Church history, you could look into The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy by Alexander Schmemann. I would also second the suggestion of scamandrius regarding The Christian Tradition by Jaroslav Pelikan (especially the first two volumes).

I'd agree with you and Scamandrius, although I don't know about all y'all, but I thought it was pretty scholarly (read: dry).  No offense to all y'all scholarly types.  ;)
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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 11:38:06 PM »
The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, by Lossky.
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2009, 11:49:19 PM »
If you want a very straightforward, enlightening and easy to read catechism, I recommend "The Faith" by Clark Carlton.

Offline Paisius

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2009, 10:24:05 AM »
I recently read The Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Kallistos. I really enjoyed it.

Because I am on a journey for the Truth and because I wanted to hear both sides, I decided to follow up my reading of Metropolitan Kallistos' book with a Catholic equivalent. I chose Triumph by H. W. Crocker III. Unfortunately, I can't even get through it. Even though it is meant to be a pro-Catholic book, I find it hard to stomach.

At any rate, I want to read another book on the ancient Church from the Eastern Orthodox point of view.

Would you be so kind as to recommend a book for me to read next?

Grazie


I recommend The Truth of our Faith by Elder Cleopas of Romania.



Yours in Christ
Joe
« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 10:25:16 AM by Paisius »

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2009, 11:16:42 AM »
At any rate, I want to read another book on the ancient Church from the Eastern Orthodox point of view.

First, let me reiterate what others have said: The Orthodox Way by Ware is definitely the next book you should read. No doubt that you will enjoy it and benefit from it (spiritually, as well as intellectually).

Nothing beats primary sources, though. The first ancient Christian sources I ever read (and, in my mind, still the best) were:

  • 1. The collected works of the so-called Apostolic Fathers (e.g. St. Ignatius, Clement of Rome, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Didache, etc.) and
  • 2. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (trans. Benedicta Ward).

With two of Met. Kallistos' books under you'll belt, you'll absolutely love reading some primary sources.

If you are looking for something written by a Catholic, you should check out The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God by Robert Wilken. Truly a great book, on the level of both of Met. Kallistos'. Of course, everything Wilken writes could just as easily been written by an Orthodox, so I wouldn't say there's anything unusually Roman about it (aside, perhaps, from his love of Augustine).
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Offline militantsparrow

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2009, 07:37:54 PM »
Thank you everyone. I have about six of your recommendations on hold at the library. But by all means, if you have more suggestions, please feel free to make them. I'll need something to read after I'm done with this.

"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline Pilgrim

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2009, 07:43:56 PM »
Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth help us to walk the way of Life, which is Christ Jesus.

St. Cyril, St. Leo, and St. Severus pray that the Church may be united and one, Eastern and Oriental.St. Issac the Syrian, pray that Assyria would return to the Holy Church. St. Gregory, pray for Rom

Offline militantsparrow

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2009, 04:45:58 PM »
I wanted to let everyone know that I just finished The Orthodox Way. I thought it was outstanding. Thank you for the recommendation.
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline Fr. David

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2009, 07:58:37 PM »
I love that book.  Also, if you're coming from a Roman Catholic background, I'd recommend Two Paths by Michael Whelton.
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2009, 09:40:09 PM »
I wanted to let everyone know that I just finished The Orthodox Way. I thought it was outstanding. Thank you for the recommendation.

It's even better the second time!  ;)

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2009, 10:32:33 PM »
The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, by Lossky.

Not for newbie converts.  That's pretty advanced (though admittedly very good) for beginners.  Best to soak up the faith for awhile and then tackle this tome.
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Offline militantsparrow

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2009, 11:44:24 PM »
I love that book.  Also, if you're coming from a Roman Catholic background, I'd recommend Two Paths by Michael Whelton.

Thank you. I'll add the Path to my list.

I just started reading The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy.
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline militantsparrow

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2009, 11:46:37 PM »
I wanted to let everyone know that I just finished The Orthodox Way. I thought it was outstanding. Thank you for the recommendation.

It's even better the second time!  ;)

I bet it is. :) Theres so much depth to his writing.
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline militantsparrow

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2009, 04:57:36 PM »
You know how it is on a cold winter night and you climb in bed under the covers and you sort of shiver off the cold for a minute. The longer you stay under the covers the more comfortable you feel. That’s kind of how these books are making me feel.

The RC books I’ve read have had a tendency to feel very analytical and cold. The EO books however feel very warm and inviting. They seem to touch my heart more so than my mind. I guess they probably all can’t be this good, but I’ve read a string of great ones so far.
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2009, 08:08:06 PM »
Yes, I know the feeling.

Offline Sakeneko

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2009, 10:15:27 PM »
You've read the first two I'd have recommended to most people, Sparrow. :-)  I'd like to recommend Fr. Alexander Schmemann's work next.  He's written a number of wonderful books: theological, historical, and devotional.  One that inquirers often find helpful and worthwhile is "For the Life of the World".  I'll second whoever recommended "The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy", which is an excellent introduction to the history of the Eastern Christian church.   I've reread his devotional book, "Great Lent," several times during Great Lent.  A bit further into your search, when you're ready for something truly wonderful on many levels, you should read Schmemann's very best work, "The Eucharist."  When you're ready for something with real philosophical and intellectual meat, try Christos Yannaras' "The Freedom of Morality."  It will stretch your brain, but is IMHO an excellent book for many seekers to read nonetheless.

I'll second Scamandrius's comment on Fr. Vladimir Lossky's "Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church" unless you have a fairly extensive theological background and taste for meaty works with philosophical, as well as theological, depth.  It's a *wonderful* book, don't get me wrong, but it's also tough going for most people who are new to Orthodox Christianity. 

Offline militantsparrow

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Re: Books for Converts
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2009, 10:24:29 PM »
You've read the first two I'd have recommended to most people, Sparrow. :-)  I'd like to recommend Fr. Alexander Schmemann's work next.  He's written a number of wonderful books: theological, historical, and devotional.  One that inquirers often find helpful and worthwhile is "For the Life of the World".  I'll second whoever recommended "The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy", which is an excellent introduction to the history of the Eastern Christian church.   I've reread his devotional book, "Great Lent," several times during Great Lent.  A bit further into your search, when you're ready for something truly wonderful on many levels, you should read Schmemann's very best work, "The Eucharist."  When you're ready for something with real philosophical and intellectual meat, try Christos Yannaras' "The Freedom of Morality."  It will stretch your brain, but is IMHO an excellent book for many seekers to read nonetheless.

I'll second Scamandrius's comment on Fr. Vladimir Lossky's "Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church" unless you have a fairly extensive theological background and taste for meaty works with philosophical, as well as theological, depth.  It's a *wonderful* book, don't get me wrong, but it's also tough going for most people who are new to Orthodox Christianity. 

Thank you for the suggestions Sakeneko. I will add them to my list. I'm really enjoying The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy. It's a great foil to Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church: A 2,000-Year History.
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3