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Author Topic: Orthodox books: suggestions?  (Read 2247 times) Average Rating: 0
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arjuna3110
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« on: June 28, 2005, 12:14:47 AM »

Dear Orthodox Readers,

Hi !  I'm trying to learn about Orthodoxy, and I would like to sollict suggestions for reading.  I have already read "The Orthodox Church" and "The Orthodox Way" by Timothy/Kallistos Ware;  "The Way of the Pilgrim"; "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church" by Vladimir Lossky; and parts of the Philokalia.  I have had good luck / blessings so far, but I would appreciate some guidance.

Who are the main names in Orthodox theology (in English) and which of their books should be read?

What are otherwise the main books for learning about Orthodox theology and spirituality ?

Also, are the following titles worth reading?  I have been hunting at Amazon.com . . .

--"Orthodox Theology: an Introduction" by Vladimir Lossky

--"Byzantine Theology" by John Meyendorff

--"St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality" by John Meyendorff

--"The Mountain of Silence" by Kyriacos C. Markides

--"Way of the Ascetics" by Tito Colliander

--"Letters to a Beginner" by Abbess Thaisia

Thank you !

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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2005, 12:26:43 AM »

I have The Orthodox Study Bible , it explains orthodox understanding of the scriptures, I hope this is helpful and sorry if it is not really what you are looking for.  Wink
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2005, 01:13:05 AM »

I just read the Mt of Silence and enjoyed it a lot. Another excellent non-theological book that you NEED to read is Father Arseny. It's the recountings of men and women and Fr. Arseny of events that occured around and because of him while he was imprisoned in the Russian Gulag.  It's maybe the most amazing testimony around a living saint Ive ever heard.
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2005, 01:36:38 AM »

Here's a recommended list from the OCA.
http://www.oca.org/OCrecommendedreadings.asp?SID=2
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2005, 02:15:30 AM »

The Life of St. Antony (or Anthony) by St. Athanasius.
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2005, 02:54:01 AM »

For a modern theologian, I'd recommend Metropolitan John Zizioulas, specificially his Book 'Being as Communion,' it's an interesting and good approach to theology focusing on the importance of Eucharistic Theology as central to the Life of the Church and equating it with Ontology. Furthermore, it's a relatively easy read (for Orthodox Theology)

If you're looking for Patristic sources, you have to read Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite's 'Mystical Theology,' all of his works are worth the time to read, but the 'Mystical Theology' is only about a dozen pages or so and fundamental to the Orthodox Apophatic approach to Theology. If you want a harder, but equally rewarding, read, there's St. Clement of Alexandria, I love all of his stuff. That's all I can really think of off the top of my head for Fundamental Theology (St. Maximos the Confessor had a few works, but I can't remember the names of the ones that fit in this category). Of course, if you want to get into Christology, Trinitarian Theology, Soteriology and all the other Specifics, then there's lost out there: I'd start with St. Athanasios, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. Basil the Great. For Moral Theology and Ethics, you can't beat St. John Chrysostom...it really depends on what exactly you want to read, there's a lot out there. If you ever find an interest in Canon Law, then I can give you a real bibliography Wink
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2005, 04:42:58 AM »

And I'd recommend anything by Elder Cleopa or Dumitru Staniloae as well as, if you're up for some pretty heavy theology, Vladimir Lossky.

James
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2005, 08:47:15 PM »

I don't know if it was already mentioned, but I think Father Michael Pomazansky's "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology" is also a great one to read.
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2005, 09:05:13 PM »

I would second Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Fr. Michael. It is probably the second best overview of Orthodox theology in the English language (behind, of course, The Orthodox Church by Bp. Kallistos). Regarding specific theological concepts, I've found the works of St. John Cassian and St. Nicholas Cabasilas (The Life in Christ) to be great for understanding concepts like synergy and free-will. I've found the works of St. Justin Popovich (Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, and The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism) to be the best books for coming to understand what the Church is and what it's purpose is.
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2005, 01:24:41 AM »

Dear Arjuna,

I would very warmly recommend to read the following:

Types of Religious Lives by St. Mat Maria Skobtsova

The Veneration of the Mother of God St. Mat Maria Skobtsova

Paul Evdokimov's Struggle with God also available under the title Ages of the Spiritual Life.

The Path to Salvation by St. Theophan the Recluse

These Truths we hold by A Monk from the St. Tikhon's Monastery

The Orthodox Church Fr. Sergius Bulgakov

The Jesus Prayer Fr. Lev Gillet (a Monk of the Eastern Church)

Particularly helpful for developing your spiritual way in Christ is reading St. Theophan's book linked to above. It is practically oriented to assist one in living in and with Jesus Christ our Savior. Also very practical is the book by Fr. Lev Gillet.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2005, 01:38:42 AM by S_N_Bulgakov » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2005, 01:47:50 AM »

Excerpts from above mentioned book by Fr. M. Pomazansky Orthodox Dogmatic Theology

Byzantine Theology Fr. John Meyendorff

The Eastern Orthodox Church by Ernst Benz edited by Bishop Alexander (Mileant).
« Last Edit: July 22, 2005, 01:48:29 AM by S_N_Bulgakov » Logged

For scripture says, God is seated where He is known  (Pr 11 :16) ; and thus the pure nous is said to be a throne of God.

[Evagrios the Solitary, Peri Logismoi 41
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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2005, 03:11:32 PM »

I highly recommend For the life of the World by Fr. Alexander Schmemann.ÂÂ  Also, depending on how academic you would like to be, Fr. John Behr is a good antidote to Metropolitan Zizioulas, however, let me say that this is not light reading and perhaps might wait until another time.ÂÂ  Also, I would caution you about some of the ascetic literature.ÂÂ  It is of great transformative power, but should probably be read under the guidance of a spiritual father.ÂÂ  Otherwise one of 2 things tend to happen - either legalism sets in or one despairs excessively over one's sins and gives up the struggle.ÂÂ  Give yourself a chance to live the liturgical cycle, probably the best way to understand what it is to be Orthodox.

Best Wishes! Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2005, 08:05:51 AM »

Another excellent non-theological book that you NEED to read is Father Arseny. It's the recountings of men and women and Fr. Arseny of events that occured around and because of him while he was imprisoned in the Russian Gulag.  It's maybe the most amazing testimony around a living saint Ive ever heard.

I read Fr. Arseny earlier this summer.  It helped me put many things into perspective about my own life.  Not so much about the Gulat (What they went through was so much worse than us...), but what an Orthodox Christian life should be: Love, compassion, caring, Eucharist, Confession, tears, etc.  Fr. Arsenyi and his children show us that it's difficult, but that it is ever so worth it. 

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« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2005, 08:41:35 AM »

Arjuna:

A good person to ask is your priest or an Orthodox Priest, if you know one. Are you a catechumen? If so, your spiritual father will help you and can even tailor your reading for where you are spiritually. Nonetheless, all book recommendations listed by others are great; however, some appears to be heavy reading if you are new to the faith.  Hope this helps.
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Nick
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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2005, 03:46:55 PM »

Some awesome Orthodox books I've read:

Way of The Ascetics
Way of a Pilgrim
 ***Must Read ---The Life of St. Seraphim of Sarov - by Lazarus Moore - the best biography of this saint ever!!!
***Must Read --- The Undistorted Image - life and teachings of St. Silouan
Monastic Wisdom
The Spiritual Life and How To be Attuned to it
The life of Elder Cleopa
Philokalia
The Spiritual Meadow
Desert Wisdom
***Must Read --- Saint of Our Century (St. Nektarios)
Life of St. John Maximovitch
Counsels from The Holy Mountain - Elder Ephraim
From Glory to Glory - St. Gregory of Nyssa
The Life of St. Herman of Alaska
Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos Vol. I and II
***Must Read --- The Ladder of Divine Ascent
***Must Read --- The Lives of The Saints Collection - indispensable part of any Orthodox library
***Must Read ---Explanation of the Gospels - by Blessed Theophylact

These are some I've read - definitely read St. Seraphim, St. Nektarios, St. Silouan, The Ladder, you won't be disappointed

nick
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