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By A. Edward Siecienski / Oxford University Press / 2010
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The Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy is the first complete history of the Filioque written in English in more than a century. Beginning with the biblical texts and ending with recent agreements on the place and meaning of the Filioque, this book traces the history of the doctrine and the controversy that has surrounded it. From the Greek and Latin fathers, the ninth-century debates, the Councils of Lyons and Ferrara-Florence, to the twentieth- and twenty-first century-theologians and dialogues that have come closer than ever to solving this thorny problem, Edward Siecienski explores the strange and fascinating history behind one of the greatest ecumenical rifts in Christendom.
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The tragic schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Christianity has for more than a millennium centered on the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity, whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father, or from the Father and the Son (Filioque), and in particular on the Western addition of the phrase “filioque” to the creed. It is a long and tangled controversy which is traced in all its twists and turns with admirable clarity by Edward Siecienski in this fine book. Siecienski explores the past and looks to the future. One of his more astonishing revelations is that it is one of the earliest attempts at an irenical approach to the question by the seventh-century monk and theologian, St. Maximus the Confessor—that holds out the best hopes in the present for a final resolution of this controversy.
—Andrew Louth, emeritus professor of patristic and Byzantine studies, Durham University
At last we have the history of the Filioque controversy from beginning to end, free of confessional bias, engaging with both the theology and the historical context. An admirable presentation of the blend of Trinitarian theology, ecclesiastical rivalry, and historical events that sustained (and sometimes still sustain) the controversy, Siecienski’s book should be required reading for interested historians, theologians, and ecumenists. I have wanted this book for a long time and am thrilled to have it on my desk at last.
—Tia Kolbaba, associate professor of Byzantine studies, Rutgers University
Siecienski excavates the intricacies of the Filioque controversy with magisterial ability in this excellent study. He is equally adept in telling us why the argument arose, and why it still matters. This is a book that is bound to become an authoritative classic on the subject.
—John A. McGuckin, professor of Byzantine Christian studies, Columbia University
Because of the clarity and brevity of its methodology and textual analysis, The Filioque is destined to become a classic on the subject for decades to come.
—Bradley Nassif, professor of biblical and theological studies, North Park University
Edward Siecienski has written a valuable history of the doctrinal controversy of the Filioque, the Western addition to the Creed of Constantinople I (381) meaning that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Siecienski says that his book “is, first and foremost, a theological work” (vii). He gives not merely a review of the evidence from one of the longest and most complicated disputes in Christian history, but an explicit theological interpretation that will illuminate and challenge a spectrum of interested readers.
A. Edward Siecienski is assistant professor of religion and Pappas Professor of Byzantine Culture and Religion at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.