Academic journal article Theological Studies

Orthodox Constructions of the West

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Orthodox Constructions of the West

Article excerpt

Orthodox Constructions of the West. Edited by George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolau. Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought. New York: Fordham University, 2013. Pp. 367. $1 17.53; $31.50.

The volume offers a rich collection of articles addressing different aspects of the vexed relationship between Eastern Orthodoxy and what Demacopoulos and Papanikolau choose to call "the West," a term encompassing Western Christianity in its Catholic and Protestant versions, no less than the Western secular "Other" that emerged in the wake of the Enlightenment (2). The tensions between the Latin and the Greek churches before and after the schism of 1054, the centuries of Tourkokratia, and more recently the reality of Communist persecution in Eastern Europe have ensured that the development of Orthodox theology was shaped by its opposition to an external adversary, one that could take the protean forms of the Latin church with its theological "innovations" of Ottoman domination or, more recently, of state-sponsored atheism. Over the past two decades, not only in the mindset of many ordinary believers in post-Communist countries such as Russia and Romania (211-29) but also in the writings of contemporary Greek theologians like Christos Yannaras (161-80), "the West"--incarnated in the United States and the European Union--has become a byword for a secular, consumerist society whose values are intrinsically incompatible with Orthodoxy. …

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