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Augustine and Russian Orthodoxy: Russian Orthodox Theologians and Augustine of Hippo: a Twentieth Century Dialogue [Hardcover]

Myroslaw I. Tataryn


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Book Description

June 2000
An atmosphere of distrust exists between Orthodox Christians of the East and Christians of the West, underscoring the need for dialogue that promotes a better understanding and appreciation of each other's tradition, experience, and theology. Myroslaw Tataryn contributes to this effort with "Augustine and Russian Orthodoxy", in which he presents Orthodox perceptions of the theology of St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), one of the most significant figures in Western Christianity. Specifically, he analyzes the views of Russian Orthodox theologians working in Paris after the Bolshevik Revolution. This period was significant as it marked the violent end of the 19th century Russian religious renaissance, and the work of these Russian ŽmigrŽs in the years following WWI represents a landmark of Orthodox thinking in an atmosphere of true freedom. Understanding Augustine's reception by these Orthodox thinkers is important as it will help explain the deeper Orthodox mentality and help foster an appreciation of its distinctiveness vis-ˆ-vis Western Christianity.

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The author has utilized Russian and French sources to provide a detailed portraiture...It will be of value to ecumenists and historians concerned with the relation of eastern and western Christianity.>>>> (Religious Studies Review )

Tataryn's survey of the Paris school is balanced, thorough and extremely useful. Tataryn's book will be important for persons interested in this critical period of Orthodoxy in the West..... (St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly )

For all those interested in the history of Orthodox thought, the relationship of Western Christian and Eastern Orthodox teaching, or the development of self-consciously Orthodox perspectives, the book is warmly recommended.>>>> (James R. Payton, Jr. )

For all those interested in the history of Orthodox thought, the relationship of Western Christian and Eastern Orthodox teaching, or the development of self-consciously Orthodox perspectives, the book is warmly recommended. (James R. Payton, Jr. )

The author has utilized Russian and French sources to provide a detailed portraiture...It will be of value to ecumenists and historians concerned with the relation of eastern and western Christianity. (Religious Studies Review )

Tataryn's survey of the Paris school is balanced, thorough and extremely useful. Tataryn's book will be important for persons interested in this critical period of Orthodoxy in the West. (St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly )

About the Author

Myroslaw I. Tataryn is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed balancing of Orthodox thought. Dec 13 2004
By matt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Besides what is written in the book description, I would like to add that the author examines six main theologians of the "Paris School": Florensky, Florovsky, Fedotov, Bulgakov, Berdiaev, Zenkovsky.

Much of Augustine's theology was born out of debate and personal experiences, not dialogue. His debates and fights with Donatism, Pelagianism and Manicheanism shaped him significantly. Moreover, his own perception of sinfulness penetrates many of his pages. Combined, these factors have led him to emphasize certain points of theology that many or most Eastern fathers find excessive or just wrong. Obviously he is still one of the Church's great fathers, but not a normative father for the East.

This book demonstrates that the major point of departure for the Paris theologians from Augustine was over the notions of freedom and grace. Of course, students of Church history will not find this surprising, but what is useful about this book is that it is to my mind the only systematic treatment of Augustine by Orthodox thinkers of such standing and influence. Moreover, it demolishes the argument that the Orthodox in the 20th century were unfamiliar with Augustine's works. They nearly all read and understood him in the original Latin and were conversant with the background of his writings and opponents. They are also quite sympathetic with many of his points. Moreover, it shows that Orthodoxy is not "a monolith". Bulgakov in particular had a strong grasp of Augustine's work. Unfortunately, his sophiological speculations have made his own works suspect and thus it would be too easy for many modern scholars who favor the disparagement of Augustine to pile it on and condemn Bulgakov at the same time. If you read French or Russian, you will be able to study this aspect of Bulgakov, however. Not yet in English.

A final useful feature of this book is its appendix of Russian Orthodox thinkers/theologians of the 19th and 20th centuries, briefly outlining their life and thought.

This is a great book and I recommend it highly!

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