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Author Topic: Why do scholarly converts never hear about Orthodoxy?  (Read 3898 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: April 15, 2013, 01:29:54 PM »

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

You are using hard words against two highly respected Orthodox theologians of our time. Care to elaborate?

The silly East-West dichotomy, Fr. Romanides' goofy ideas about spinal fluid, and other related topics have all been discussed pretty much to death in several other threads.
I only found this short (3 post) thread.  A quick death, evidently.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10071.msg137019.html#msg137019

I see someone saying that it's a metaphor, and offering no evidence for that. Perhaps for him it is self-evidently a metaphor, because no one could take such a silly thing literally. Unfortunately human beings are often disappointing in this regard. The consistency and vehemence with which Fr. John used this supposed metaphor, across a range of contexts, IMO suggests strongly that he did not mean it as a metaphor.

Readers can judge for themselves. Some examples:

Quote
All fantasies, especially that of religion, are caused by a short circuit at the center of the human personality. It is this short circuit which is cured by the illumination of the heart by unceasing payer, as distinguished from intellectual prayer with the brain at given times. The study of this cure in St. Paul will comprise the heart of this study. We repeat that when illumination results in glorification then both men and women have been ordained prophets. This is what prophets are in both the Old and the New Testaments and this is what makes fathers of the Church. What the prophets have seen above seeing in their glorifications is Yaweh Himself both before and after His incarnation.

This short circuit, which needs curing, exists between the heart, which pumps blood, and the spinal cord, which causes the circulation of spinal fluid. All fantasies are rooted in this short circuit which is nothing more than an electrical short circuit. This malady cuts its victims off from reality at varying degrees. Because of this malady one does not always distinguish between reality and fantasies.

Source

Quote
What "illumination" of the heart cures is an electrical short circuit between the spinal fluid and the blood system. It is this short circuit which produces the fantasies by which the devil rules humans. Many such fantasies about the world and human ideas about reality have been put straight by modern science. However, many fantasies which dominate human relations are still uncontrollable and extremely dangerous, especially in the field of religion, international relations, economics and politics.

Source

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."
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« Reply #46 on: April 15, 2013, 11:28:12 PM »

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

You are using hard words against two highly respected Orthodox theologians of our time. Care to elaborate?

The silly East-West dichotomy, Fr. Romanides' goofy ideas about spinal fluid, and other related topics have all been discussed pretty much to death in several other threads.
I only found this short (3 post) thread.  A quick death, evidently.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10071.msg137019.html#msg137019

I see someone saying that it's a metaphor, and offering no evidence for that. Perhaps for him it is self-evidently a metaphor, because no one could take such a silly thing literally. Unfortunately human beings are often disappointing in this regard. The consistency and vehemence with which Fr. John used this supposed metaphor, across a range of contexts, IMO suggests strongly that he did not mean it as a metaphor.

Readers can judge for themselves. Some examples:

Quote
All fantasies, especially that of religion, are caused by a short circuit at the center of the human personality. It is this short circuit which is cured by the illumination of the heart by unceasing payer, as distinguished from intellectual prayer with the brain at given times. The study of this cure in St. Paul will comprise the heart of this study. We repeat that when illumination results in glorification then both men and women have been ordained prophets. This is what prophets are in both the Old and the New Testaments and this is what makes fathers of the Church. What the prophets have seen above seeing in their glorifications is Yaweh Himself both before and after His incarnation.

This short circuit, which needs curing, exists between the heart, which pumps blood, and the spinal cord, which causes the circulation of spinal fluid. All fantasies are rooted in this short circuit which is nothing more than an electrical short circuit. This malady cuts its victims off from reality at varying degrees. Because of this malady one does not always distinguish between reality and fantasies.

Source

Quote
What "illumination" of the heart cures is an electrical short circuit between the spinal fluid and the blood system. It is this short circuit which produces the fantasies by which the devil rules humans. Many such fantasies about the world and human ideas about reality have been put straight by modern science. However, many fantasies which dominate human relations are still uncontrollable and extremely dangerous, especially in the field of religion, international relations, economics and politics.

Source

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."

I vote for Metaphor. Fr. John Romanides wrote this in 1996. He might have this hang up about the Franks, but he was not an idiot.
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« Reply #47 on: April 16, 2013, 02:21:43 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.

What criteria defines "intellectual"?

1. Jaroslav Pelikan.

How about the conversion to Orthodoxy of experienced Roman Catholic priest-monks who were also renowned patristic scholars:

Fr. Placide (Deseille) - renowned Byzantine Catholic patristic scholar in France that chose to be received into Orthodoxy by baptism on Mt. Athos.

Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) - Swiss Catholic patristic scholar and hermit
http://www.pravmir.com/article_1220.html
thank you both. When I get more time I will look to compare the reasons of 5-10 Orthodox and 5-10 Roman Catholic converts and perhaps that might help us see why they chose one over the other. Another one that came to my mind is Klaus Kenneth. Even though his wife is Serbian, from my recollection she was not the reason for his conversion
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« Reply #48 on: April 16, 2013, 06:14:41 AM »

Isn't Kenneth a scholar of literature, rather than theology?
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« Reply #49 on: April 16, 2013, 07:52:48 AM »

All of this is rubbish. Put away the websites and pop-Orthodox articles and actually take the time to read the Fathers, East and West. The Church-as-hospital metaphor is useful and true so far as it goes; in the hands of Fr. John Romanides it becomes completely distorted into pseudoscience. It is not a legitimate distinction between East and West; there are enough real differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism without having to invent more.

You are using hard words against two highly respected Orthodox theologians of our time. Care to elaborate?

The silly East-West dichotomy, Fr. Romanides' goofy ideas about spinal fluid, and other related topics have all been discussed pretty much to death in several other threads.
I only found this short (3 post) thread.  A quick death, evidently.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10071.msg137019.html#msg137019

I see someone saying that it's a metaphor, and offering no evidence for that. Perhaps for him it is self-evidently a metaphor, because no one could take such a silly thing literally. Unfortunately human beings are often disappointing in this regard. The consistency and vehemence with which Fr. John used this supposed metaphor, across a range of contexts, IMO suggests strongly that he did not mean it as a metaphor.

Readers can judge for themselves. Some examples:

Quote
All fantasies, especially that of religion, are caused by a short circuit at the center of the human personality. It is this short circuit which is cured by the illumination of the heart by unceasing payer, as distinguished from intellectual prayer with the brain at given times. The study of this cure in St. Paul will comprise the heart of this study. We repeat that when illumination results in glorification then both men and women have been ordained prophets. This is what prophets are in both the Old and the New Testaments and this is what makes fathers of the Church. What the prophets have seen above seeing in their glorifications is Yaweh Himself both before and after His incarnation.

This short circuit, which needs curing, exists between the heart, which pumps blood, and the spinal cord, which causes the circulation of spinal fluid. All fantasies are rooted in this short circuit which is nothing more than an electrical short circuit. This malady cuts its victims off from reality at varying degrees. Because of this malady one does not always distinguish between reality and fantasies.

Source

Quote
What "illumination" of the heart cures is an electrical short circuit between the spinal fluid and the blood system. It is this short circuit which produces the fantasies by which the devil rules humans. Many such fantasies about the world and human ideas about reality have been put straight by modern science. However, many fantasies which dominate human relations are still uncontrollable and extremely dangerous, especially in the field of religion, international relations, economics and politics.

Source

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."

Yes, Fr. John Romanides did make some valuable contributions for sure, but his attempts to describe man's fallen condition and the healing of man's fallen condition in "neurobiological" terms; as well as his use of the strange term "the sickness of religion" rather than referring to the sickness of man's fallen condition; are a couple of the idiosyncrasies which detract from the value of his work.  Met Hierotheos, while certainly influenced by Fr. John Romanides, does not adopt these idiosyncrasies as far as I can tell, and is on much more solid patristic ground. 
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 07:57:12 AM by jah777 » Logged
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« Reply #50 on: April 16, 2013, 08:37:50 AM »

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."

He doesn't say "cured" but "put straight". Modern science has indeed been responsible for ridding us of any number of harmful superstitions by which the devil could have wreaked havoc in the past.

I'm not an expert on Romanides, and may well be wrong, but whenever I came accross medical references in his works I never understood them as anything other than analogies of spiritual truths - the medical analogies serving his idea of Orthodoxy as psychotherapia, or 'healing of the soul'. In Met. Hierotheos' book Orthodox Psychotherapy, where he endlessly cites Romanides, he leaves no doubt as to the fact that his medical analogies are just that, analogies.

I will second the stuff said about their rather meaningless hang-up about the Franks, though.
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« Reply #51 on: April 16, 2013, 09:12:57 AM »

Note the reference to "modern science" having cured many problems caused by this "short circuit."

He doesn't say "cured" but "put straight". Modern science has indeed been responsible for ridding us of any number of harmful superstitions by which the devil could have wreaked havoc in the past.

It has dispelled some superstitions (while erecting its own fetishes in their place). It certainly has ruled out, for instance, the cosmology outlined by St. Gregory Palamas in the opening section of his 150 Chapters, where he says among other things that the earth and the ocean are two eccentric spheres, but I trust no one will accuse the great hesychast father of a "neurobiological sickness" in this regard, even if he didn't get it quite right.

But if Fr. John simply meant that modern science has cleared away some bad ideas, then fair enough. Perhaps he was using a metaphor after all- in that case though it really doesn't elucidate his point any more than if he had simply used the traditional terminology about the mind and the heart.

He is catering to a need in some quarters to explain spirituality in terms of modern scientific terms. Presumably Orthodox spirituality will be more palatable to us if we can express in terms similar to what a doctor might say when he's prescribing us treatment and medicine. Like the "Orthodoxy is not a religion" schtick, this is a gimmick that he has in common with a lot of New Age hucksters. Not that Fr. John is a huckster or a New Ager, but there is a danger commonality with them in his method.

This raises a further question: the "Franco-Latin" Christian tradition AKA "Augustinianism" which he says polluted the West, chained it to the neurobiological sickness of religion. However, he also notes how modern science has cured us of many fantasies brought on by the "short circuit" (something Orthodox spirituality is supposed to have a unique ability to do). Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies. So how can modern science be a cure, and how can Fr. John so thoroughly appropriate its concepts to express Orthodox Christian spirituality?
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« Reply #52 on: April 16, 2013, 10:46:45 AM »

Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies.

That's a popular misconception.
Western science is in fact based on overcoming theoretical philosophy and referring to experimental empiricism instead.
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« Reply #53 on: April 16, 2013, 10:57:03 AM »

Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies.

That's a popular misconception.
Western science is in fact based on overcoming theoretical philosophy and referring to experimental empiricism instead.

What's the misconception? Are you denying that Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, etc. were part of the "Franco-Latin" Christian tradition? Whether their new methods were in continuation or in rupture with that tradition, they were still coming out of it.

Furthermore, experimental empiricism was in fact a fairly logical outgrowth of the Aristotelian metaphysics that dominated Latin Christianity. The current scientific methodology, however revolutionary it seemed in the face of the ossified Aristotelian doctrines of the middle ages, was really a reworking/ revision of Aristotelian principles in many ways.

And it is still very far away from Orthodox principles of natural contemplation (see Sts. Maximus, Gregory of Sinai, Nikitas Stithatos, etc.)
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« Reply #54 on: April 16, 2013, 11:21:41 AM »

He is catering to a need in some quarters to explain spirituality in terms of modern scientific terms. Presumably Orthodox spirituality will be more palatable to us if we can express in terms similar to what a doctor might say when he's prescribing us treatment and medicine. Like the "Orthodoxy is not a religion" schtick, this is a gimmick that he has in common with a lot of New Age hucksters. Not that Fr. John is a huckster or a New Ager, but there is a danger commonality with them in his method.

Here I largely agree with you, though he's hardly alone in this. I think it's not so much about appealing to the scientifically minded as it is about showing Orthodoxy to be something radically different from the other Christian confession with which people may be familiar - an approach which might seem unpalatable to many from said confessions, but quite a useful one in a post-Christian society where people have an inbuilt sense of having rejected and moved beyond the "Christianity" of their grandparents without actually having any knowledge of what it is.

Quote
Well, where does modern science come from? Not Mount Athos- it comes from Western philosophers who were very much steeped in "Augustinian" Christianity and all its attendant maladies. So how can modern science be a cure, and how can Fr. John so thoroughly appropriate its concepts to express Orthodox Christian spirituality?

Well, he is saying modern science has resolved some things, but also that it leaves a lot to be desired, leaving unresolved "many fantasies which dominate human relations are still uncontrollable and extremely dangerous", so I wouldn't take his words as a wholesale endorsement of modern science. There is also the element of impiricism in modern science which removes it, at least to a degree, from the philosophical and cultural context from which it may originally have arisen.

As for the appropriation of concepts, one of the major themes in his work is the notion of Orthodoxy as the healing of a malady, which he feels is forgotten or undermined. It seems quite appropriate for him to borrow common medical jargon, whatever its source, in order for him to emphasise that point. In older works you have references to blood letting, potions, and whatnot. Fr. Romanides is simply bringing those analogies in line with the modern day equivalents.
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« Reply #55 on: April 16, 2013, 12:15:57 PM »

Isn't Kenneth a scholar of literature, rather than theology?
Not sure but in this comparison I don't we should limit it to only theologians just to see if the reasons differ from the theologians.
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« Reply #56 on: April 16, 2013, 07:55:40 PM »

I think I read somewhere that Dr Scott Hahn did look into Orthodoxy, but found it to lack the unity he found in Rome.

Clark Carlton addresses this particular case in his book "The Truth," in the chapter "A Note for Evangelicals Considering Rome" which you can read online here.

There are also some threads about it. I don't want to rehash them, but there's one thing that I rarely see mentioned.

Carlton (and many other people, possibly following his lead) quote Hahn beginning with the word "So", but I think you get a clearer picture if you start with the sentence before "So":

Quote
...
I still hoped to find that one fatal flaw that would keep me from "swimming the Tiber", as we say, or from "pope-ing".

So I started looking into Orthodoxy.
...

Of course you have to read more than that small quote to get a full sense of it, but basically what I'm getting out of that beginning is that he only bothered looking into Eastern Orthodoxy once his original assumption -- that Protestantism is better than Catholicism -- was shown to be false.

I'm guessing that is true of a great many protestants.
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« Reply #57 on: April 17, 2013, 03:49:01 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.

What criteria defines "intellectual"?

1. Jaroslav Pelikan.

How about the conversion to Orthodoxy of experienced Roman Catholic priest-monks who were also renowned patristic scholars:

Fr. Placide (Deseille) - renowned Byzantine Catholic patristic scholar in France that chose to be received into Orthodoxy by baptism on Mt. Athos.

Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) - Swiss Catholic patristic scholar and hermit
http://www.pravmir.com/article_1220.html

We should add Father Vladimir Guettée:

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Vladimir_Guett%C3%A9e

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« Reply #58 on: April 17, 2013, 09:44:12 AM »

Could someone provide a list of 10 to 20intelectual inthe West who converted to Orthodoxy not through marriage or because of their heritage. List can be bigger if possible and could include deceased individuals. Their reasons for converting might shed some more light on this.

What criteria defines "intellectual"?

1. Jaroslav Pelikan.

How about the conversion to Orthodoxy of experienced Roman Catholic priest-monks who were also renowned patristic scholars:

Fr. Placide (Deseille) - renowned Byzantine Catholic patristic scholar in France that chose to be received into Orthodoxy by baptism on Mt. Athos.

Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) - Swiss Catholic patristic scholar and hermit
http://www.pravmir.com/article_1220.html

We should add Father Vladimir Guettée:

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Vladimir_Guett%C3%A9e



And...

Bishop Paul de Ballester, the former Franciscan monk (http://www.saintnicodemos.org/articles/exodus.php)

Fr. Pataci, the former Jesuit priest (http://www.oodegr.com/english/biblia/isouitis1/perieh.htm)

These are all scholarly Roman Catholics who converted to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #59 on: April 17, 2013, 10:40:09 AM »

Not to mention...

Fr. Seraphim (Rose)

Hiermonk Alexis (Trader), spiritual father of Karakallou Monastery on the Holy Mountain and author of "Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy: A Meeting of Minds"
http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Christian-Wisdom-Cognitive-Therapy/dp/1433121565
http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/03/following-is-first-in-series-of-four.html

Fr. Theophanes (Constantine), Athonite monk and author of the tremendous work entitled "The Psychological Basis for Mental Prayer in the Heart":
http://timiosprodromos4.blogspot.com/2006/01/description-of-work.html
Volume 1 Table of contents: http://timiosprodromos.blogspot.com/2006/01/volume-i-table-of-contents.html

Met Kallistos Ware:
http://www.spu.edu/depts/uc/response/winter2k9/features/orthodox-church.asp

And, of course, thousands of others.
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« Reply #60 on: April 17, 2013, 01:04:34 PM »

I'm just throwing this out there, but is it possible that the Western tendency to view "our" story as that of the whole world could, in a way, prohibit one from embracing a narrative that presupposes the one we tell ourselves is wrong? What I mean is, saying the one true Church is that of the Orthodox East means "our" story isn't the "true" story that God is telling in history. "We" left the picture somewhere around 1054.

Mind you, I'm not saying this is "how things really are" but, when one is considering conversion, one has to ultimately embrace the narrative any prospective Church is telling. Since "the West" views its own story as "the story of world history" with any major events elsewhere in the world only looked at in light of its effect on "our" story, maybe some just can't abandon that narrative in favor of one that says the actual history of Christ's Body on earth happened in the "East"?
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« Reply #61 on: April 17, 2013, 01:08:48 PM »

On the other side, I think that most, if not all, scholarly converts to Orthodoxy considered RCism first.
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« Reply #62 on: April 17, 2013, 02:34:25 PM »

Quote
Btw, he mentions up front two very scholarly converts: Bishop Kallistos Ware and Jaroslav Pelikan of blessed memory.  The latter really shook the Lutherans when he left, being one of their major theologians/historians.


Jaroslav Pelikan's grandfather was an Orthodox priest.  Pelikan spoke in Toronto at the University of Toronto during the Lent before he officially converted and he mentioned the connection he had with his mother's family who were Orthodox and also that his mother always told him she named him after Yaroslav the Wise.  Pelikan I believe from he said thought of it as coming home to his mother's religious tradition.  I don't know why this shcoked the Lutherans because if you read his books before his conversion he was moving in an Orthodox direction.
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« Reply #63 on: April 17, 2013, 03:29:11 PM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.
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« Reply #64 on: April 17, 2013, 06:41:45 PM »

Jaroslav Pelikan's grandfather was an Orthodox priest.  Pelikan spoke in Toronto at the University of Toronto during the Lent before he officially converted and he mentioned the connection he had with his mother's family who were Orthodox and also that his mother always told him she named him after Yaroslav the Wise.  Pelikan I believe from he said thought of it as coming home to his mother's religious tradition.  I don't know why this shcoked the Lutherans because if you read his books before his conversion he was moving in an Orthodox direction.
That is very interesting. As a Pelikan fan, I thank you for sharing that tidbit.

I have long enjoyed speculating and investigating what leads some scholarly, well-read converts to Roman Catholicism while others choose Orthodoxy. The following is a list of the things I have noticed in reading about converts that seems to explain why they choose one over the other:

1. Marriage and family ties. The first example that comes to mind is Peter Kreeft, whose wife is Catholic. This likely influenced his decision, and Pelikan may have chosen Orthodoxy in part because of his roots.

2. Conviction of Thomism or Catholic philosophical tradition. If you are a Thomist like Edward Feser, Francis Beckwith, or a virtue ethicist like Alasdair MacIntyre I can see how you would prefer the RCC to the EOC. In general the Roman tradition seems to appeal more to those with an intellectual, rationalist bent; people who like having an organized explanation of doctrines, whereas Orthodoxy has more of an appeal to those more comfortable in mystery or those with a more mystical/ spiritual bent. A disclaimer: this is all an obvious oversimplification since Orthodoxy has its rationalists and Roman Catholicism has its mystics.

3. Ease of access, or "this one is good enough"-ism. Roman Catholicism is much more prevalent in the West, and there is a false idea that Eastern Orthodoxy is basically the same thing so it doesn't make a difference; however I know quite a few Roman Catholic converts who chose Rome with a pretty substantial knowledge of Orthodoxy.

4. Anti-Roman Catholic bias. At the local Antiochian parish people are constantly talking about how wrong and corrupt the Roman Catholics are. They like to teach you about Orthodoxy by pointing out all the ways in which it is better than Roman Catholicism.
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« Reply #65 on: April 17, 2013, 07:27:42 PM »

4. Anti-Roman Catholic bias. At the local Antiochian parish people are constantly talking about how wrong and corrupt the Roman Catholics are. They like to teach you about Orthodoxy by pointing out all the ways in which it is better than Roman Catholicism.
I've noticed this type of attitude too (probably more so since I'm True Orthodox).  Outside of internet forums it really gets on my nerves.
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« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2013, 03:34:24 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.

Clearly not all of them, no. Guettee was French, for instance.

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« Reply #67 on: April 18, 2013, 03:41:05 AM »

Before we move on, what is a "scholarly convert"?
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« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2013, 05:02:20 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.

Clearly not all of them, no. Guettee was French, for instance.

James

Yes, Father Guettée of glorious memory was even of strong augustinian tendancy. He has written enormous volumes on History of the Church in France, wich he died before finishing it.
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« Reply #69 on: April 18, 2013, 07:52:06 AM »

Quote
Btw, he mentions up front two very scholarly converts: Bishop Kallistos Ware and Jaroslav Pelikan of blessed memory.  The latter really shook the Lutherans when he left, being one of their major theologians/historians.


Jaroslav Pelikan's grandfather was an Orthodox priest.  Pelikan spoke in Toronto at the University of Toronto during the Lent before he officially converted and he mentioned the connection he had with his mother's family who were Orthodox and also that his mother always told him she named him after Yaroslav the Wise.  Pelikan I believe from he said thought of it as coming home to his mother's religious tradition.  I don't know why this shcoked the Lutherans because if you read his books before his conversion he was moving in an Orthodox direction.
Because of where he came from: he had a hand in editing the English translation of the Book of Concord, the Lutheran Symbolic book. His father was a Slovak Lutheran minister of Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church (which still exists: it is rather close to my neighborhood), and his grandfather a "bishop" of the Slovak Lutheran Church in America.

A Slovak Orthodox Priest in the days of the Habsburgs, that in itself is interesting.
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« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2013, 07:59:11 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.
Why more so than an Englishman, e.g. the former Timothy Ware, who had no Eastern background and was a W.A.S.P. from way back.

Just a side note: in my own case, my Eastern heritage had nothing to do my conversion, having been a Lutheran in the Middle East.
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« Reply #71 on: April 18, 2013, 08:04:05 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.

No.  Of those mentioned, Fr. Placide, Fr. Theophanes, and Fr. Gabriel were Eastern Rite before their conversion but they were Latin Rite Catholics prior to that.  In other words, they all made a good effort to be Orthodox under the Pope, but eventually recognized that they were still outside of the Church.
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« Reply #72 on: April 18, 2013, 09:37:47 AM »

Because of where he came from: he had a hand in editing the English translation of the Book of Concord, the Lutheran Symbolic book.

He was also the editor of Luther's complete works in English.

When I was visiting the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, there was a Polish gentleman named Jaroslav there. A young Serbian theology student kept calling him Jaroslav Pelikan (admiratively). He took offence, because - he said - it took Pelikan so long to convert: he had all the information he needed, so he should have made up his mind a lot sooner!  Smiley   
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« Reply #73 on: April 18, 2013, 09:58:42 AM »

Before we move on, what is a "scholarly convert"?

I stopped moving. I am pretty sure the most recent posts represent a side topic.

My interpretation is that we are on a hunting expeditions looking for people who are knowledgeable about world history and religion that converted to Roman Catholicism. Then we are supposed to psychoanalyze them. That is the fun part. For example we need to find a Byzantine scholar that was originally an Animist that later became a Roman Catholic.
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« Reply #74 on: April 18, 2013, 02:04:39 PM »

I think many just label themselves as "scholarly" with out actually being so.

I had a recent run in with a guy who claimed to have studied the Bible, and early Christianity, extensively. Yet he had never heard of the Orthodox Church, he gave me the impression that he was of the mind that the Church became corrupted around the time of Constantine (he never said that out right), and his only fall back to certain things -  like praying for the dead or infant baptism - was, "That's not biblical!"

I asked him what Bible he was using and he proceeded to list off a number of different versions he had (i.e. NASB, KJV, NIV etc.). Then I tried to tell him about the LXX and how that is what was widely used in Jesus' time and he flat out told me that only the Apocrypha had been translated into Greek and that the "proper" canon was always in Hebrew (hence you couldn't trust the Maccabees, Sirach, Tobit, etc).

I did get him to agree that the Bible wasn't even put together until after 300 years after Christ, but he couldn't get a grasp on Tradition because it wasn't in the Bible  Huh For example he couldn't accept that Ignatius and Polycarp were disciples of the Apostles because it wasn't in the Bible...



This seems, to me at least, to be the kind of "scholarly" person who would ultimately end up becoming Roman Catholic. It is the only other choice that they know because it is the only other choice they have ever been told there is (meaning either Protestant or RCC). So once they start delving in to the early history of the Church (and wanting to make a change or willing to be open to change) and they see were Saint Soandso said this, or x belief of the early Church fits what they think is the Roman Catholic Church (St. Ignatius on Bishops, perhaps). So they end up in the RCC because they found similarities in their studies and just stopped there exclaiming, "Eureka! I found the Church (because it was the only other option that I know of)."


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« Reply #75 on: April 18, 2013, 04:08:57 PM »

Yes, Father Guettée of glorious memory was even of strong augustinian tendancy. He has written enormous volumes on History of the Church in France, wich he died before finishing it.

I thought you guys only did that with eggs.
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« Reply #76 on: April 19, 2013, 01:23:25 AM »

Let's just define scholarly according to dictionary
1. a learned or erudite person, especially one who has profound knowledge of a particular subject.

When we look up their reasons for choosing Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism it might be interesting...also I would like to add that I agree with many comments already mentioned.
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« Reply #77 on: April 20, 2013, 07:00:47 AM »

Because of where he came from: he had a hand in editing the English translation of the Book of Concord, the Lutheran Symbolic book.

He was also the editor of Luther's complete works in English.

When I was visiting the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, there was a Polish gentleman named Jaroslav there. A young Serbian theology student kept calling him Jaroslav Pelikan (admiratively). He took offence, because - he said - it took Pelikan so long to convert: he had all the information he needed, so he should have made up his mind a lot sooner!  Smiley   

That's one perspective. Another is that he wasn't strong enough to hold out any longer.

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« Reply #78 on: April 20, 2013, 04:30:28 PM »

What I meant was "Why do scholarly Catholic converts never hear about Orthodoxy?"

I have no doubts that there are many well-read Orthodox converts.


Have in mind that I believe that Orthodox Christianity is "the Way" the only true succession of Apostolic teachings...Here I am presenting "both side" with hope to seeing reasons of the mentioned individuals can provide an answer to the OP. Bolding is done by me.

Here is one example of chosing Roman Catholicism:
Cardinal John Henry Newman
http://credo.stormloader.com/Ecumenic/newmaneo.htm

In his remarkable volume "Newman to Converts: An Existential Ecclesiology", Real View Books, 2001, Fr. Stanley Jaki has provided key excerpts from Newman’s voluminous private correspondence where one finds the Oratorian, answering the queries of many troubled Anglicans. (Pages from this volume follow unless otherwise indicated). Some sought to find justification for their Branch Theory of the Church by an appeal to the not insignificant numbers of Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians or were tempted to join the separated Eastern Orthodox communion as the "true Church". Whatever their numbers, Newman replied to one correspondent, they were not universal, and thus like the ancient Donatists confined to North Africa, were not Catholic.

The Church was the Kingdom of God on earth, and a unique visible polity ruled by the successors of the Apostles. "If the Church be a visible kingdom, where is such a kingdom, visible and yet spiritual, all over the earth except the Catholic Church?" (p. 238) The Catholic Church was "a body, and next a body in many lands... at once one and Catholic." (p.238) Moreover, the relative stagnancy of the separated Eastern Churches suffering under oppression was a factor that could not be avoided: "The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is a polity, which implies political life, activity, history, progress, development, warfare, etc. All this the Roman Church has- the Greek has not- and the more it is known, the less it is seen to have." Moreover, the enslaved Church under the Czars had fallen victim to "the Erastian heresy", and the absence of a center of unity among the Easterners negated the visible unity demanded of the Mystical Body of Christ in the world : "What centre is there in the Greek Church? What real intercommunion between Russia and Syria? A sympathy, nothing else." (pp. 215-216)

Fr. Jaki relates how to the same correspondent "Newman recalled his own path to conversion: ‘I was converted by the manifest and intimate identity of the modern Roman Catholic Church with the Antenicene and Nicene Church- to which I thought the present Greek Church absurdly contrary." (p. 222)


Here areexamples of chosing Orthodox Christianity:



Fr. Gabriel Bunge
http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2011/01/26/a-catholic-hermit-converted-to-orthodoxy/#axzz1IkCaBp00

Q: Why did you decide to adopt it? One can love Orthodoxy with all one’s heart and stay within the traditional Catholicism. There are many such examples in the West.
A: Yes, many people who are drawn to Orthodoxy stay within the Catholic Church. And this is normal. In the majority of Western cathedrals there are Orthodox icons. In Italy, there are professional schools of icon painting taught by Russian specialists and others. More and more believers in Europe are interested today in Byzantine hymns. Even the traditionalists of the Catholic Church have been discovering Byzantine singing. Of course they do not use them during the divine service in the church, but outside of the church, for example, at concerts. Orthodox literature gets translated into all European languages, and the books are published in the major Catholic publishing houses. In short, in the West they really have not lost the taste for all authentic, Christian, that the Eastern tradition has preserved. But, alas, it changes nothing in real life of people and society on the whole. The interest in Orthodoxy is more cultural. And those wretched people like me who have a spiritual interest in Orthodoxy, are left in the minority. We are like weirdos; we are seldom understood.

Q: As a theologian, you have often spoken on the problem of West and East’s separation. Can we say that your conversion to Orthodoxy is the result of your meditation on this topic?
A: When I was in Greece and started turning towards Eastern Christianity, I began to perceive the schism between the East and the West very painfully. It stopped being an abstract theory or a plot in a Church history book, but rather something that was directly affecting my spiritual life. This is why the conversion to Orthodoxy started looking like a very logical step. In youth, I sincerely hoped that the union of the Western and the Eastern Christianity was possible. I was waiting for it to happen with all my heart. And I had some reasons to believe in it...But as I was growing older and learning some things deeper, I stopped believing in the possibility of the reconciliation of two Churches in terms of the divine services and institutional unity. What was I to do? I could only go on searching for this unity on my own, individually, restoring it in one separate soul, mine. I could not do more. I just followed my conscience, and came to Orthodoxy.

Fr Placide Deseille
http://avowofconversation.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/placide-deseille-on-twentieth-century-catholicism/

While the rapid disintegration of twentieth century Catholicism was troubling, Father Placide came to realise that it had deeper roots and was part of a certain logic of Catholicism itself.
This led me to reflect on the religious history of the West, and especially on the profound changes that one can identify in all areas between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. In this period one sees changes in the institutions of the Church (notably the understanding of the papacy in the Gregorian reform), the sacramental rites (abandoning baptism by emersion, communion under two species, the deprecative formula for absolution etc.), doctrine (introduction of the Filioque in the Symbol, development of the scholastic method in theology). At the same time one saw the appearance of a new religious art that was naturalistic and broke with the canons of traditional Christian art that were elaborated during the course of the patristic period.


ps. There is no need to wait for me...Please post examples as you please and hopefully there will be some consistency in reasoning of choosing one over the other...
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« Reply #79 on: April 20, 2013, 08:16:29 PM »

What I meant was "Why do scholarly Catholic converts never hear about Orthodoxy?"

I have no doubts that there are many well-read Orthodox converts.


Have in mind that I believe that Orthodox Christianity is "the Way" the only true succession of Apostolic teachings...Here I am presenting "both side" with hope to seeing reasons of the mentioned individuals can provide an answer to the OP. Bolding is done by me.

Here is one example of chosing Roman Catholicism:
Cardinal John Henry Newman
http://credo.stormloader.com/Ecumenic/newmaneo.htm

In his remarkable volume "Newman to Converts: An Existential Ecclesiology", Real View Books, 2001, Fr. Stanley Jaki has provided key excerpts from Newman’s voluminous private correspondence where one finds the Oratorian, answering the queries of many troubled Anglicans. (Pages from this volume follow unless otherwise indicated). Some sought to find justification for their Branch Theory of the Church by an appeal to the not insignificant numbers of Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians or were tempted to join the separated Eastern Orthodox communion as the "true Church". Whatever their numbers, Newman replied to one correspondent, they were not universal, and thus like the ancient Donatists confined to North Africa, were not Catholic.

The Church was the Kingdom of God on earth, and a unique visible polity ruled by the successors of the Apostles. "If the Church be a visible kingdom, where is such a kingdom, visible and yet spiritual, all over the earth except the Catholic Church?" (p. 238) The Catholic Church was "a body, and next a body in many lands... at once one and Catholic." (p.238) Moreover, the relative stagnancy of the separated Eastern Churches suffering under oppression was a factor that could not be avoided: "The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is a polity, which implies political life, activity, history, progress, development, warfare, etc. All this the Roman Church has- the Greek has not- and the more it is known, the less it is seen to have." Moreover, the enslaved Church under the Czars had fallen victim to "the Erastian heresy", and the absence of a center of unity among the Easterners negated the visible unity demanded of the Mystical Body of Christ in the world : "What centre is there in the Greek Church? What real intercommunion between Russia and Syria? A sympathy, nothing else." (pp. 215-216)

ps. There is no need to wait for me...Please post examples as you please and hopefully there will be some consistency in reasoning of choosing one over the other...
It seems vestigial Scholastic polemics-of the sort that makes Protestants defend the filioque-bubbled up in Newman and blinded him to the truth of the matter.

I wonder what he would have to say after Vatican II, when we have seen what havock a relative lack of "stagnancy" can do.

Given the heavy involvement of Russia and her Church in Syria, leading to war with Britain in the Crimea, his ignorance is inexcusable.

Not to mention, I seem to remember the Apostles suffering under oppression.
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« Reply #80 on: April 20, 2013, 09:39:20 PM »

Eastern Christianity has Christ as its center of unity.

Now the danger with the Western approach, which advocates having a single "universal" bishop, is that the so-called supreme bishop - as the focus of unity - can alter anything within the Church on his own initiative (e.g., he could have a committee of "experts" create a whole new liturgy and then impose that monstrosity upon the whole Church by force of "law").
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« Reply #81 on: April 20, 2013, 11:00:55 PM »

Eastern Christianity has Christ as its center of unity.

Now the danger with the Western approach, which advocates having a single "universal" bishop, is that the so-called supreme bishop - as the focus of unity - can alter anything within the Church on his own initiative (e.g., he could have a committee of "experts" create a whole new liturgy and then impose that monstrosity upon the whole Church by force of "law").

I see what you did there...
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« Reply #82 on: April 20, 2013, 11:46:59 PM »

Eastern Christianity has Christ as its center of unity.

Now the danger with the Western approach, which advocates having a single "universal" bishop, is that the so-called supreme bishop - as the focus of unity - can alter anything within the Church on his own initiative (e.g., he could have a committee of "experts" create a whole new liturgy and then impose that monstrosity upon the whole Church by force of "law").

I see what you did there...

LOL!
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« Reply #83 on: April 20, 2013, 11:57:33 PM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.
Why more so than an Englishman, e.g. the former Timothy Ware, who had no Eastern background and was a W.A.S.P. from way back.

Just a side note: in my own case, my Eastern heritage had nothing to do my conversion, having been a Lutheran in the Middle East.

Because an English Protestant may still harbor anti-Catholic prejudice either overtly or culturally.

As for you, I'd (objectively) still wonder if having a historical connection would add some amount influence and/or pride to going east.

In my opinion, in order to display a scholarly convert who converted purely for being convinced of the Truth, it would be more impressive to find someone who converted out of a strongly cultural Catholic heritage.
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« Reply #84 on: April 21, 2013, 03:40:34 AM »

Are not all these scholarly converts either from an eastern heritage and/or byz cath at the time of their conversions?

It would be more impressive for an Italian scholar to change his mind.
Why more so than an Englishman, e.g. the former Timothy Ware, who had no Eastern background and was a W.A.S.P. from way back.

Just a side note: in my own case, my Eastern heritage had nothing to do my conversion, having been a Lutheran in the Middle East.

Because an English Protestant may still harbor anti-Catholic prejudice either overtly or culturally.
often claimed, but I rarely seen proven.  Not many Orthodox around who fit the "Chick pamphlet with incense and icons" bill.  And Met. Kallistos certainly doesn't-unless you have evidence to the contrary.

but if you can come up with an example, do inform us.

One might say that our English Protestant would swim the Tiber because he might still harbor some sense of Western superiority (Lord knows that is not in short supply in  Rome) either overtly or culturally.

As for you, I'd (objectively) still wonder if having a historical connection would add some amount influence and/or pride to going east.
I didn't "go East." I was East.  But if I was West, what makes you think it should?

Objectively, I just followed the historical connection to the Truth.  No doubts to nag that way.

In my opinion, in order to display a scholarly convert who converted purely for being convinced of the Truth, it would be more impressive to find someone who converted out of a strongly cultural Catholic heritage.
Ah yes, the best motive: to "impress" someone.

What about Archbishop Nathaniel Pop?  He converted out of a "strongly cultural Catholic heritage." Or does the Romanian "sui juris" church not count?
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« Reply #85 on: April 21, 2013, 05:57:21 AM »

I didn't "go East." I was East.

That sounds like something you should tell your fellow Orthodox, since many of them believe that one can't really be Eastern unless one is Orthodox.
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« Reply #86 on: April 21, 2013, 06:02:52 AM »

Eastern Christianity has Christ as its center of unity.

Now the danger with the Western approach, which advocates having a single "universal" bishop, is that the so-called supreme bishop - as the focus of unity - can alter anything within the Church on his own initiative (e.g., he could have a committee of "experts" create a whole new liturgy and then impose that monstrosity upon the whole Church by force of "law").

One might say that our English Protestant would swim the Tiber because he might still harbor some sense of Western superiority (Lord knows that is not in short supply in  Rome) either overtly or culturally.

Can you name a protestant group (English or otherwise) that advocates having a single "universal" bishop?
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« Reply #87 on: April 21, 2013, 06:42:25 AM »


Can you name a protestant group (English or otherwise) that advocates having a single "universal" bishop?

The Anglo-Papalists?
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« Reply #88 on: April 21, 2013, 07:28:26 AM »

I didn't "go East." I was East.

That sounds like something you should tell your fellow Orthodox, since many of them believe that one can't really be Eastern unless one is Orthodox.

We do not think one has to be Orthodox to be easterner. Proof is nestorians and so on were easterners but not Orthodox.
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« Reply #89 on: April 21, 2013, 07:43:46 AM »

Can you name a protestant group (English or otherwise) that advocates having a single "universal" bishop?

The Anglo-Papalists?

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