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The Eastern Tradition ."..has never made a sharp distinction between mysticism and theology; between personal experience of the divine mysteries and the dogma affirmed by the Church." The term "mystical theology" denotes that which is accessible yet inaccessible; those things understood yet surpassing all knowledge. The Eastern Tradition ."..has never made a sharp distinction between mysticism and theology; between personal experience of the divine mysteries and the dogma affirmed by the Church." The term "mystical theology" denotes that which is accessible yet inaccessible; those things understood yet surpassing all knowledge.


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The Eastern Tradition ."..has never made a sharp distinction between mysticism and theology; between personal experience of the divine mysteries and the dogma affirmed by the Church." The term "mystical theology" denotes that which is accessible yet inaccessible; those things understood yet surpassing all knowledge. The Eastern Tradition ."..has never made a sharp distinction between mysticism and theology; between personal experience of the divine mysteries and the dogma affirmed by the Church." The term "mystical theology" denotes that which is accessible yet inaccessible; those things understood yet surpassing all knowledge.

30 review for The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Withun

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  2. 5 out of 5

    Marcás

    This is a book that changed my life and made me want to be a Christian after years of immersing myself in other 'Eastern' Religions, nihilism and Sufi Islam. This review should be seen in that light and in this respect is deeply personal. Lossky's Mystical Theology spoke to me after I got to know Lossky through Iconography. How did this happen? I was actually reading a book on Islamic Gnostic Mysticism, which while profoundly critical of Christianity, had a little note by either Lossky or Von Ba This is a book that changed my life and made me want to be a Christian after years of immersing myself in other 'Eastern' Religions, nihilism and Sufi Islam. This review should be seen in that light and in this respect is deeply personal. Lossky's Mystical Theology spoke to me after I got to know Lossky through Iconography. How did this happen? I was actually reading a book on Islamic Gnostic Mysticism, which while profoundly critical of Christianity, had a little note by either Lossky or Von Balthasar about Iconography. Either way, it ultimately pointed me to an article by Lossky on Icons. Reading this simple explanation of the image of God by Lossky, incredible as it sounds, there and then convinced me that Christianity was true and I've never looked back. This book built on that firm foundation and strengthened it much further. In a broad sense, one in which I believe others will agree, herein lies everything one could ask from a book on Theology- Gods majesty, the great call to Man and the importance of each person, the goodness of creation, the personal love that we are to share together and the importance of community. Although a cradle Roman Catholic, this book brought Theology to life for me like no other at the time. I particularly welcomed the different emphasis on the Transfiguration and the Holy Spirit! Other Christians could gain immeasurably from this as a call to permanent personal change. The critique of the idea of 'the dark night' was good, but could be balanced out by Merton's 'New Seeds...'. Alas, I can't do justice to this beautiful book here, but would recommend it highly for any Christian seeking a broader and deeper understanding of the Triune God, in history and beyond space-time as we know it. All of this, is put forward in a clear, eloquent and passionate witness; needless to say this will not be my last reading of Vladimir Lossky's Magnum Opus.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael O'Brien

    I encountered mention of this book in one of the other books I read on Orthodox Christianity about 2 years ago --- I think Bishop Kallistos Ware's book, "The Orthodox Way". Unlike Bishop Kallistos' book, however, this book is a very deep read ---- not an easy book to read. Unlike some 3-star ratings, this one is less one of what I view as its deficiencies so much as one of its practical interest and applicability to average readers (like me). About half of it goes very in depth on the Orthodox C I encountered mention of this book in one of the other books I read on Orthodox Christianity about 2 years ago --- I think Bishop Kallistos Ware's book, "The Orthodox Way". Unlike Bishop Kallistos' book, however, this book is a very deep read ---- not an easy book to read. Unlike some 3-star ratings, this one is less one of what I view as its deficiencies so much as one of its practical interest and applicability to average readers (like me). About half of it goes very in depth on the Orthodox Church's theology of the Trinity --- its scriptural basis, the thoughts and interpretations of the Early Church Fathers on it, and its development in response to heretical systems including gnosticism, arianism, and monophysitism. The book in several places uses Greek words in Greek script --- no transliteration ---- and seems to assume the reader has some basic knowledge of Greek. While I did find it interesting, I can't say it was a gripping read. It's probably not for everybody; however, this is almost certainly a great reference and work for Christian seminarians and clergy seeking insight in how the Orthodox Church's Christology and doctrine of the Trinity are reasoned and developed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Harry Allagree

    If the contents of Vladimir Lossky's "essay", as he calls it, were actual food, I think I'd be suffering from gout by now…it is so, so rich! Lossky remains absolutely and precisely focussed on the mystical theology of the Eastern Church as it has come down through the great writers, monks & mystics of the Eastern tradition. He is extremely fair, in my humble opinion, when he points out & explains the differences on certain theological teachings between the Eastern & Roman Catholic/Western Church If the contents of Vladimir Lossky's "essay", as he calls it, were actual food, I think I'd be suffering from gout by now…it is so, so rich! Lossky remains absolutely and precisely focussed on the mystical theology of the Eastern Church as it has come down through the great writers, monks & mystics of the Eastern tradition. He is extremely fair, in my humble opinion, when he points out & explains the differences on certain theological teachings between the Eastern & Roman Catholic/Western Churches, without denigrating the latter. Though I have great respect for great Western theologians such as St. Augustine & St. Thomas Aquinas, under whose teachings primarily I was schooled, in fact, I find myself much more attuned to Eastern theology & spirituality than to the Western at this stage of my life. Lossky's explanation of basic catholic (small "c"), i.e., universal, theological subjects (the Holy Trinity, creation, Jesus/the Son of God, the Holy Spirit, the Church, the stages of the mystical way, the fullness of the reign of God), is one of the clearest, most comprehensive, & inspiring presentations I've ever read. Bear in mind, that this was first published at Paris in 1944! Had I had the opportunity to read this during my early seminary days, I'm quite sure it would have left a lasting impression & had significant on many areas of my life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scriptor Ignotus

    In the Orthodox tradition, theology is inseparable from mysticism. The theologian is not one who seeks to conceive of God in any purely cognitive fashion, but rather one who unifies himself, heart and soul, with that divine infinitude which is inscrutable beyond being. God is not to be comprehended, but to be experienced as a mystery that defies comprehension, secluded in His interior nature from creation in a shroud of non-being, and yet pervading, sustaining, and illuminating created being thr In the Orthodox tradition, theology is inseparable from mysticism. The theologian is not one who seeks to conceive of God in any purely cognitive fashion, but rather one who unifies himself, heart and soul, with that divine infinitude which is inscrutable beyond being. God is not to be comprehended, but to be experienced as a mystery that defies comprehension, secluded in His interior nature from creation in a shroud of non-being, and yet pervading, sustaining, and illuminating created being through the effulgence of His uncreated energies. Over two thousand years, the Orthodox Church has bestowed the appellation of “Theologian” on three people: St. John the Apostle, St. Gregory Nazianzus, and St. Simeon the New Theologian. All three engaged the divine mystery in an ecstatic and poetical mode; the East has treated ascetics and hymnographers with all the reverence that the West affords to the vast and elaborate corpus of Aquinas. In its radical apophaticism, Orthodoxy subordinates the “wisdom” of philosophy to the “foolishness” of revelation. Though the early Church interfaced extensively with Neoplatonism, it distinguished itself sharply from Greek thought by defending the incomprehensibility of God and the gratuitous nature of creation ex nihilo from the incursion of purely gnostic thought-schemes that did violence to the Trinitarian mystery by substituting an idolatrous theoretical apparatus in its place. The ecstasy of Plotinus entailed the contemplation of the One, a primordial unity of being that is antecedent to the multiplicity of the phenomenal world and thus ungraspable by it, while Christian mysticism, represented by Dionysius the Areopagite, entailed the rejection of being itself to foster the integration of the soul into the non-being of God. The nature of God, as revealed in scripture and tradition, is expressed by the Church in the antinomy of the Holy Trinity: God is one in essence, and is also three hypostases who are distinct from one another but share the fullness of that essence. There is one God, and Three Who are God. The Father is the fount of divinity, begetting the Son and giving forth the Holy Spirit in an eternal movement of love. The Eastern tradition likens the Son and Spirit to “appendages” of the Father; they work in tandem in the economy of salvation in the created order. While the West rejects the “monarchy” of the Father and professes that the Spirit proceeds ontologically from both the Father and the Son, the East maintains a distinction between the ontological nature of the Trinity and its economic manifestation in the created world through God’s uncreated energies. In the interior nature of the Trinity—in eternity—the Son and Spirit proceed from the Father alone, but in God’s temporal interaction with creation Christ and the Spirit have a symbiotic relationship: Christ imparts the Spirit to the members of His mystical body, while the Spirit draws each person to a fuller contemplation of the Son. The Orthodox argue that by “anchoring” the Godhead in the shared essence rather than in the Father, Western theology creeps away from a properly theistic understanding of God and toward a philosophical monism akin to Neoplatonism. The dispute over the essence/energies distinction is itself an outgrowth of the filioque controversy: a more impersonal, “philosophized” God may be thought of, in Platonic or Aristotelian fashion, as a “first cause” that is inseparable from that which it causes, and thus the distinction between the eternal essence of God and the manifestation of His energies in creation is broken down. Without this distinction, either divine grace in the created world becomes a “creature”, something subordinate to the Trinity, and thus our divinization through grace becomes impossible, or else our divinization would bring us into the eternal nature of God, in which case there would have to be as many divine hypostases as there are saints. Palamism preserves the possibility of true theosis, the prime object of Christian life, as well as the concept of a personal God who created being from nothingness. God’s creation of the cosmos was an act of will, not of necessity. Creation may just as well have never existed, but God chose to “make space” for something truly separate from His eternality. As beings created ex nihilo, the nothingness that underlies our own existence is every bit as mysterious and profound as the nothingness of God in apophatic theology. The telos of man is to freely reconcile the created with the uncreated through his own divinization and to return creation to the Father in a willful eucharistic act. In Adam our nature was turned away from the divine and subordinated to the unnatural conditions of sin and death, but in the kenosis of Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection, human nature has been redeemed and transfigured. The Son unites human nature in His mystical body, while the Spirit distinguishes in personhood, differentiating the subjective experiences of all who enter into communion with the Church. We are united in Christ through the renunciation of our fallen nature, and yet the saints do not all meld together into some amorphous blob. It is precisely in refusing to exist for ourselves, to follow our most base, thoughtless, and self-serving inclinations, that our personhood most fully expresses itself. Thus in renouncing ourselves and entering the Church we become simultaneously united in nature and distinguished in personhood, representing in the created order the paradoxical distinction-within-unity characteristic of God Himself. As the Father finds His image in the Son, and the Son in the Spirit, the Spirit finds its image in the saints, who represent so many hypostases of the One Church.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clarissa

    This is a beautiful and inspiring book, that focuses on contemplation as opposed to doctrine or morality. Vladimir Lossky's words have wisdom and depth of understanding. I would advise it to anyone interested in getting to know eastern spirituality. This is a beautiful and inspiring book, that focuses on contemplation as opposed to doctrine or morality. Vladimir Lossky's words have wisdom and depth of understanding. I would advise it to anyone interested in getting to know eastern spirituality.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashraf Bashir

    One of the "must read"; to understand Orthodoxy ! One of the "must read"; to understand Orthodoxy !

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    For those of us who are theological descendants of a Western tradition that goes back through Augustine, we often missed the wisdom and insight of the Easter Church. The way the Eastern Church, for example, approaches the Trinity is different. They start with the persons and move to unity rather than the other way around. In terms of salvation, the East has emphasized the doctrine known as theosis, the participation in the divine that draws us into God's person. For those who wish to know someth For those of us who are theological descendants of a Western tradition that goes back through Augustine, we often missed the wisdom and insight of the Easter Church. The way the Eastern Church, for example, approaches the Trinity is different. They start with the persons and move to unity rather than the other way around. In terms of salvation, the East has emphasized the doctrine known as theosis, the participation in the divine that draws us into God's person. For those who wish to know something of this tradition, I would recommend this book by Vladimir Lossky. It was written long ago (Lossky died in 1958), but there is wisdom to be found here.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Volkert

    While this title appears on many recommended lists of books on Eastern Orthodoxy, it would not be easy reading for someone uninitiated to mystical Christian writings (from either the east or the west). It also helps to have at least a passing knowledge of Greek as many of the terms appear in Greek. Lossky spends over half the book laying a foundation on the Eastern understanding of apophaticism (describing God by what He is not), asceticism, the Holy Trinity, uncreated energies of the Godhead, im While this title appears on many recommended lists of books on Eastern Orthodoxy, it would not be easy reading for someone uninitiated to mystical Christian writings (from either the east or the west). It also helps to have at least a passing knowledge of Greek as many of the terms appear in Greek. Lossky spends over half the book laying a foundation on the Eastern understanding of apophaticism (describing God by what He is not), asceticism, the Holy Trinity, uncreated energies of the Godhead, image and likeness, the "economy of the Son" and the "economy of the Holy Spirit," before discussing the goal of Christian mysticism which is theosis or union with God, the Divine Light. To me, the heart of the book is in the chapter on "The Way of Union," but it would be meaningless without the preceding chapters. Lossky quotes profusely from the great mystical theologians of the Eastern Church, from various epochs and geographic locations to display the inherent unity of thought on mysticism in the Eastern tradition. Readers who need an introductory work before tackling Lossky might want to try "The Illumined Heart" by Frederica Matthewes-Green, "Beginning to Pray" by Anthony Bloom or "The Art of Prayer" by Igumen Chariton of Valamo.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marcelle

    This is a great book that brings the day-to-day living of Christianity to new heights - heights that have been marginalized or lost in the Western world, even within Christianity itself.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brian Cubbage

    Lossky's work is a useful, impassioned overview of Eastern Orthodox theology and spirituality and what makes it different from Roman Catholic and Western spirituality. I liked it, and found it interesting, but I found its rhetorical style off-putting. I am not sure what it was about writers in 20th-century France that led them to write everything like a passive-aggressive polemic, but whatever it was, it detracted from the book for me. It's clear that Lossky wants to "work on" the reader, and I Lossky's work is a useful, impassioned overview of Eastern Orthodox theology and spirituality and what makes it different from Roman Catholic and Western spirituality. I liked it, and found it interesting, but I found its rhetorical style off-putting. I am not sure what it was about writers in 20th-century France that led them to write everything like a passive-aggressive polemic, but whatever it was, it detracted from the book for me. It's clear that Lossky wants to "work on" the reader, and I guess that's fine; however, I would prefer not to get worked on like this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    A Rewarding Dive into Darkness and Light How does one encapsulate the mystical aspect of the Church in one volume? We generally hear in our day that this is impossible, that any synthesis of Orthodoxy must be relative to the author and taken as a single perspective. In this book, Vladimir Lossky challenges the common assumption that mystical theology can be compartmentalized; rather, he insists that all dogma is intertwined with mystical thought and that the two are entirely inseparable. We are tr A Rewarding Dive into Darkness and Light How does one encapsulate the mystical aspect of the Church in one volume? We generally hear in our day that this is impossible, that any synthesis of Orthodoxy must be relative to the author and taken as a single perspective. In this book, Vladimir Lossky challenges the common assumption that mystical theology can be compartmentalized; rather, he insists that all dogma is intertwined with mystical thought and that the two are entirely inseparable. We are treated to a great deal of rumination. The apophatic "way of negation" maintains a respectful distance from God's essence while the divine energies are approachable through the transformation of human nature. There are myriad images given for this, prominent among them the quasi-visible operations of the Spirit as the light of Tabor and the prayer in stillness which issues from the mind freed from passions as it approaches the throne of the ineffable Godhead. The Church is presented as the body of Christ not only in the function of its members but also in its wills and two-natured reality. The central theme is union with God (theosis) achieved through repentance and progressive conformance to God's likeness, granted and sustained in cooperation with the actions of the Three persons and the participation in the divine nature by means of uncreated grace. While ostensibly an introduction, I would advise against reading this as a beginner. It is a very thorough assessment on a few topics and not all are properly introduced; prior knowledge is needed of councils, history, and doctrines (i.e. the procession of the Holy Spirit). There are frequent Greek terms in use and many are left untranslated. If you are looking for refined understandings of ousia and hypostases then this may well be the book for you. This had been sitting on my reading list for some time and comes recommended by Orthodox theologians up to the present day. Reading his most famous work, it quickly becomes apparent that Lossky was one of the foremost minds on religion in the 20th century. While dense, his words carry a precision and focus that is well-suited to expressing the difficult and often technical nature of Trinitarian theology.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brian Wilcox

    When a United Methodist pastor, my Bishop, knowing my strong mystical leanings, encouraged me to find inspiration in Eastern Orthodoxy. My recall is this was the first resource I read, and immediately found a depth in this, and other Orthodox writings, that I had not found in Western sects of Christianity. This immediately appeared to me as a classic, and pointing to a depth that left an indelible impression on me. As far as spiritual faith, beyond rational religion, to me the Eastern Church is When a United Methodist pastor, my Bishop, knowing my strong mystical leanings, encouraged me to find inspiration in Eastern Orthodoxy. My recall is this was the first resource I read, and immediately found a depth in this, and other Orthodox writings, that I had not found in Western sects of Christianity. This immediately appeared to me as a classic, and pointing to a depth that left an indelible impression on me. As far as spiritual faith, beyond rational religion, to me the Eastern Church is the most indepth-spiritually within the Christian communion. This is a remarkable read, speaking to a union of mind and heart.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This was my first book that was all about Orthodox theology. Who knew that I would anything about Christianity that would ever make any sense to me? Certainly not the me from even 1 year ago, let alone 10. I have a great respect for the Orthodox Church that I can only see continuing to grow from here on out, not just based on theology, but also on history. The book is somewhat dense and will require careful reading, especially considering the heavy subject matter.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

    Dense, difficult, and occasionally overwhelming, Lossky's Mystical Theology is one of the twentieth century's most important works of Eastern Orthodox theology. Lossky, in line with other twentienth-century Orthodox, probably overstates the difference between East and West in both theological method and doctrine. Still, he captures the organic quality of Orthodoxy--the interconnectedness of dogma, ritual, and mysticism--as well as any other writer who has tackled this subject. Dense, difficult, and occasionally overwhelming, Lossky's Mystical Theology is one of the twentieth century's most important works of Eastern Orthodox theology. Lossky, in line with other twentienth-century Orthodox, probably overstates the difference between East and West in both theological method and doctrine. Still, he captures the organic quality of Orthodoxy--the interconnectedness of dogma, ritual, and mysticism--as well as any other writer who has tackled this subject.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    A beautiful monograph on Eastern Christianity. Drawing on ancient and contemporary sources, Lossky outlines Orthodox dogma - not as a collection of dry doctrines, but as a spirituality whose high goal is union with God.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book drew my life further into the hesychastic fashion of life. I'm making no pretense that I am well developed in this. The point is that I am deeply interested. This book drew my life further into the hesychastic fashion of life. I'm making no pretense that I am well developed in this. The point is that I am deeply interested.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adam DeVille, Ph.D.

    Was a major text in its day, but much of it has not stood the test of time. E.g., his section on ecclesiology and the filioque is today acknowledged at a lot of bollocks.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    there's nothing i can add to the reviews of others about this book. it's dense and challenging, but if you're interested in Orthodoxy, this is a must read! there's nothing i can add to the reviews of others about this book. it's dense and challenging, but if you're interested in Orthodoxy, this is a must read!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elliot Lee

    Only a handful of books have been so important in my life. People say I am provocative when I talk or write (politely implying that I may exaggerate from time to time), but in my mind, I am trying to be precise: This book had a cataclysmic effect of bulldozing what's come before, only to re-introduce in a new form something that I have been searching for all my life. In this book I encountered the presence of what I've been looking for, a mystery serving as a signpost to further mysteries. I hav Only a handful of books have been so important in my life. People say I am provocative when I talk or write (politely implying that I may exaggerate from time to time), but in my mind, I am trying to be precise: This book had a cataclysmic effect of bulldozing what's come before, only to re-introduce in a new form something that I have been searching for all my life. In this book I encountered the presence of what I've been looking for, a mystery serving as a signpost to further mysteries. I have this deep sense that Eastern Orthodoxy is for me, a basic hunger that's been satisfied, a sense that I finally belong. I began my journey in a Fundamentalist Christian home, equating spirituality with things like not drinking, not listening to secular music, not cussing, and caring intensely about whether carbon dating is trustworthy, etc. There was an implicit formula to this, and every insider knew it. From Fundamentalism to Evangelicalism, Evangelicalism to a more broad Anglicanism, and now to EO. What pattern has exemplified my journey? That of believing wholeheartedly what I confess, trying to see everything in the world in and through it, and finding them inadequate in some sense. This was how my hunger was formed: seeking and not finding; seeking and not finding; seeking and not finding; so imagine my joy when I sought and found! People who know of my troubled history with Christianity ask me how I remained a Christian despite all that's happened. The truth is, I didn't? "Christianity" is such a nebulous term. It does not tell you much of anything. We have to ask, "Which Christianity? Whose Jesus?" I've rejected so many versions of Christianity as inadequate. Now, I want to go back and qualify what I mean here: I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in general. What I am reacting to is Fundamentalism and its daughter (neo-)Evangelicalism, or those forms of the Christian religion that 1. I grew up in and 2. are marred by a deep compromise with Modernism. I am not saying that if you are Evangelical, I believe that you are misguided. People are often better than their beliefs, and I know many perfectly amazing Evangelicals. I talk about these things as systems, as entities that influence people in innumerable, subtle ways. My question is: What causal relationship does a religious system stand in relation to the individual and the community's spiritual flourishing? In EO as it was meant to be, I think there is a sense that someone would flourish *because* of EO; In Fundamentalism/Evangelicalism as they were meant to be, there's a sense in which someone can flourish only in virtue of *overcoming* Fundamentalism/Evangelicalism. If this seems preposterous, I am going to advance an argument: Imagine the Fundamentalist Christian who grew up believing (as most of us did) that faith mainly concerns the post-mortem places we will be sent to: a place of eternal bliss or corresponding torment and that the function of belief is mainly to ensure that we end up in one place and not another. This isn’t the kind of thing you can believe alone. It becomes believable, it is believed, because of a whole gamut of stories and beliefs on offer that make this particular belief plausible. In other words, we have to go beyond mere beliefs to consider the conditions for belief. A few discrete mistakes and arbitrary errors cannot explain the colossal mistake that is Fundamentalism. We must refer to a whole cluster of beliefs, a systematic derangement of all our senses, or, better yet, total depravity. So let's say (as it has) these cartoonish beliefs are now widely questioned by the Fundamentalists/Evangelicals. But what about all the ills that led us there in the first place? Are we going to assume that cancer has been cured because the sores have subsided? Compare, then, the EO understanding of salvation as deification, or a partaking in the triune life of God in the place of the Son. EO has insisted that this, and nothing less than this, can be the full account of Christian salvation. To be fair, this formulation in itself may point to some practical limits of EO. Who understands these claims? And how would we expect the laypeople to understand it (but we've already stated that people are better than their beliefs)? But putting that aside for a while, the fact remains that if you understand what EO is getting at, what the truths they proclaim amount to, the chances are you will be arrested by it for life. You won't be able to ever get over it emotionally. I remember the moment when I finally "got" what EO is proclaiming. I've experienced something that I'd never before experienced in life: What seemed like a supernatural understanding of God's peace that penetrated the deepest depths of my being, and JOY! I've been crushingly depressed for most of my life, and deep and persistent joy evaded me. But here was an encounter with Christianity all over again as life-changing and life-demanding joy! It pains me to see people holding onto banal, cruel, and parochial understandings of Christianity thinking that they've got it. Most likely what we have is a very partial understanding of Christianity, which may be true in itself, but without its broader framework (and notice how not rationalistic EO is, but also how cohesive!). So many misunderstandings enabled by what we do understand. Christianity aims at nothing less than a radical configuration of your being, a total restructuring of your beliefs, desires, intentions, and imagination. It aims to leave nothing behind. The early Christian formulation and creeds are not to be understood as irrelevant and archaic. They make possible an understanding of Christianity that brings about these changes: the understanding of a truly peaceable God who generates a peaceable people. A lot of spiritual writers talk about the necessity of surrender. They say something like, "Give up everything you have and they will all be given back to you, reconfigured!" This is a deep truth. I was stuck, monstrously stuck. Life demanded that I give up these "truths" and one by one I did. What I was given back were the very things I had given up, now reconfigured and illumined by one thing's infinite connections to other things. I know of no worthier thing than this. You have me. I am forever yours.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dio Mavroyannis

    I have been looking for a theological text on orthodox Christianity that is both technical and inspiring. Admittedly I have not looked at too many books, but I think my search ends here. I wanted a book for reference on religious topics and this is the one that goes more into the depth of the arguments. This is the closest i've come to finding a text that constructs theology in clear logical manner. I feel like I can try to construct syllogisms out of this... now that I think of it, there is one I have been looking for a theological text on orthodox Christianity that is both technical and inspiring. Admittedly I have not looked at too many books, but I think my search ends here. I wanted a book for reference on religious topics and this is the one that goes more into the depth of the arguments. This is the closest i've come to finding a text that constructs theology in clear logical manner. I feel like I can try to construct syllogisms out of this... now that I think of it, there is one thing that could have greatly improved this book, presenting the arguments in syllogisms.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Possibly the best book I've ever read outside of Holy Scripture. Lossky takes you on a "lightspeed" journey through the Theology of the Eastern Churches. His main focuses in the book are on deification, apophatic theology, preserving antinomy (both/and approach), and mystical theology (that is a theology that can be experienced). Any deeper review would do it injustice. This work has corrected much of my thinking. Seriously, stop what you're doing and read this book now! Possibly the best book I've ever read outside of Holy Scripture. Lossky takes you on a "lightspeed" journey through the Theology of the Eastern Churches. His main focuses in the book are on deification, apophatic theology, preserving antinomy (both/and approach), and mystical theology (that is a theology that can be experienced). Any deeper review would do it injustice. This work has corrected much of my thinking. Seriously, stop what you're doing and read this book now!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Stoffregen

    Lossky is a bit more advanced than Ware. He is not quite as easy to understand (though this may be due in part to the fact that he did not originally write in English and this is a translation). However, Lossky goes a bit further than Ware, and touches on other parts of doctrine. His chapters on Divine Darkness, and on The Two Aspects of the Church were particularly intersting.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adel Nizamutdinov

    Golden stuff

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    I…

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Peters

    Lossky has penned a nearly systematic exposition of the Eastern Tradition without betraying the spirit of that Tradition.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    My only criticism is about how long it took for me to understand (and value) the connection between the first three chapters (apophaticism, divine darkness, Trinity) and later chapters about uncreated energies, the economy of the home, and Christian unity. It's definitely NOT obvious in itself at first glance. A LOT of deep probing into one's own philosophy about the nature of reality will be necessary to glean the most of this massive book. This book is very deep, and often boring. However, it My only criticism is about how long it took for me to understand (and value) the connection between the first three chapters (apophaticism, divine darkness, Trinity) and later chapters about uncreated energies, the economy of the home, and Christian unity. It's definitely NOT obvious in itself at first glance. A LOT of deep probing into one's own philosophy about the nature of reality will be necessary to glean the most of this massive book. This book is very deep, and often boring. However, it is deeply profound once certain puzzle pieces fit together. For me, to use one example, the chapter about uncreated energies was immensely difficult and satisfying at the same time. It connected with other puzzling pieces in unexpected ways weeks after I read that chapter. I could easily give this book a 3 or even a 2 for how boring it often was. However, it really deserves a 4 or 5 once the ideas inside the book are absorbed. That, of course, assumes some open-mindedness about Orthodoxy's relevance in discussing philosophy and metaphysics the first place.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Widell

    "The mystical theology of the Eastern Church is always trinitarian. The knowledge of God is always for the Eastern Church a knowledge of the Trinity, the mystic union - a unity of life with the three divine Persons. Eastern apophaticism jealously safeguards the antinomy of the trinitarian dogma, the mysterious identify of the Three-in-One; resists the Western formula of the procession ab utroque." (p. 240) "Created being, considered in itself, will always be an implenitude: considered in the Hol "The mystical theology of the Eastern Church is always trinitarian. The knowledge of God is always for the Eastern Church a knowledge of the Trinity, the mystic union - a unity of life with the three divine Persons. Eastern apophaticism jealously safeguards the antinomy of the trinitarian dogma, the mysterious identify of the Three-in-One; resists the Western formula of the procession ab utroque." (p. 240) "Created being, considered in itself, will always be an implenitude: considered in the Holy Spirit it will appear as the fullness of the deified creature." (p. 241)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laurence

    Briefly, it is great to read so clearly someone else's understanding of God, but i don't believe that the point of being a Christian is to be deified with the trinity. There is so much more to life, and the flow of energy is all the wrong way round. Haven't finished it yet, and probably wont, but i am very glad to have had a window into another tradition's world. Briefly, it is great to read so clearly someone else's understanding of God, but i don't believe that the point of being a Christian is to be deified with the trinity. There is so much more to life, and the flow of energy is all the wrong way round. Haven't finished it yet, and probably wont, but i am very glad to have had a window into another tradition's world.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Fr. Thomas Sandberg

    Keep in mind that this book was written as an introduction for the non-Orthodox (mainly the heterodox). Other than that, listen to this http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/... and follow along with the transcript because it and the audio differ. Keep in mind that this book was written as an introduction for the non-Orthodox (mainly the heterodox). Other than that, listen to this http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/... and follow along with the transcript because it and the audio differ.

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