Dive into the teachings of four of the twentieth century’s most distinguished Greek theologians. These contemporary Greek writers interact with the texts and ideas of the earliest Greek fathers, contributing to the Orthodox tradition with distinct and exciting voices. Study Panayiotis Nellas’ influential work on patristic anthropology, Deification in Christ. Examine Gregory of Palamas’ teaching on deification with Georgios I. Mantzaridis’ application of the great Byzantine saint’s theology to Orthodox life. These and other studies make up a valuable collection of modern Orthodox scholarship.
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Gathers four studies from the twentieth century’s most distinguished Greek theologians
Includes two influential studies on patristic anthropology and the theology of deification
Surveys complex issues in Orthodox theology and patristics
In this extraordinary study, Panayiotis Nellas examines certain central themes of patristic anthropology synthetically, throughout the whole range of patristic literature. He then treats the same themes in an individual father’s work and in a service from the Orthodox liturgy. He cites a number of patristic passages at length and provides references and notes which incorporate the findings of modern scholarship. This approach not only provides an excellent introduction to patristic anthropology, but also clearly demonstrates the internal consistency and coherence of the Orthodox understanding of man and his relation to God and the world.
Few if any works have opened up for me more lines of inquiry than Deification in Christ and few have helped me better to appreciate the patristic approach to the nature and destiny of man.
Focusing on the “new man” in Christ, this study sets forth the theological and anthropological basis for the doctrine of deification as expounded by St. Gregory Palamas (1296-1359), the greatest theologian of the later Byzantine period. Georgios I. Mantzaridis explains that for Palamas and the Fathers, the term “spiritual” does not denote an abstraction, but characterizes the new man, born through the regenerative grace of the Holy Spirit. As the man is called rational who is endowed with reason, so the man who is enriched by the grace of the Holy Spirit is described as spiritual. This grace constitutes the chief aspect of the existence of the spiritual man, and it bestows on him true life.
By exploring the sacramental, ecclesiological, and moral implications of deification in Palamas’ works, Mantzaridis relates this essential theological concept in a concrete way to the life of each person in the Church.
Georgios I. Mantzaridis is professor of theology at the University of Thessaloniki.
This major Orthodox contribution to the study of ethics focuses on hypostasis, or “person,” not only as presented in the theology of the Greek Fathers, but also as it is experienced in the worship, ascetical life, and art of the Orthodox Church. In this perspective, morality is seen not as “an objective measure for evaluating character and behavior, but the dynamic response of personal freedom to the existential truth and authenticity of man.” Christos Yannaras states that “freedom carries with it the ultimate possibility of taking precisely this risk: that man should deny his own existential truth and authenticity, and alienate and distort his existence, his being.” What we call the morality of man is the way he relates to this adventure of his freedom. Morality reveals what man is in principle, as the image of God, but also what he becomes through the adventure of his freedom: a being transformed, “in the likeness of God.”
Christos Yannaras is professor of philosophy at the Pantion University in Athens.
Theology, as seen by Archimandrite Vasileios, is by its very essence liturgical; it is not a philosophy or a system but the expression of the church’s mystical life. Vasileios argues that “The first Christians lived their theology totally and with the whole of their bodies, just as they are baptized with the whole of their body and soul into the new life. . . Thus their liturgical gatherings were an initiation into the mystery of theology . . . the mystery of theology was celebrated in their lives, and they attained to the knowledge which is eternal life.”
[Hymn of Entry] offers nothing less than a fresh vision of theology, the church and the world, a vision that is both original and yet genuinely traditional. The quality that characterizes this remarkable book is above all a sense of wholeness. The unity of the divine and human in the incarnate Christ, the unity of heaven and earth in the Divine Liturgy, the unity between theology and spirituality, between theology and life—such are the author’s master-themes.