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Orthodox Constructions of the West

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    Posted: 08 Jul 2010 at 21:30
I've been looking forward to this gathering for quite some time; it's the Second International Conference of the Orthodoxy in America Series, entitled Orthodox Constructions of the West.
 
Here is a list of the speakers and lectures that were heard:
 
It already took place in late June, and there are some summaries from some folks who attended:
 
 
 
Just like the First Conference (Orthodox Readings of Augustine), the papers will be published in book form. I am glad to hear this, seeing as how I was unable to attend.
 
In any case, the lecture that I was most eager to hear was Dr. Tia Kolbaba's paper, The Tenth Century: Orthodox Constructions of the West in the Golden Age of Byzantium
 
The funny thing is, I actually passed on reading Kolbaba's Inventing Latin Heretics: Byzantines and the Filioque in the Ninth Century, which I am now finding probably wasn't a wise decision. She has some interesting arguments, one of which entails Photius not being responsible for the Mystagogy which is now ascribed to his pen.
 
Other interesting arguments that were made in her presentation were how, in the 11th Century, the Byzantine Empire increasingly began to see the Orthodox Church as being a Greek or Byzantine organization. But, surprisingly, this didn't come out of any focused hatred for the West, but rather came out of conflict with doctrinal and liturgical controversies with their eastern neighbor, the Armenians. The Armenians did indeed share many similarities with the West generally.
 
Anyhow, this post is just to alert some of our theologically-minded, or those Byzantine- and Russian-interested forumers that this book (when it is published) is probably one that they may want to read. It looks like there's some fresh insights.
 
-arch.buff
 
 


Edited by arch.buff - 08 Jul 2010 at 21:33
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Akolouthos View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2010 at 15:46
That sounds very interesting. Do you happen to have any information about where to find the actual publication? I suppose the lecture I'd be most interested in would be the first Kolbaba paper you mentioned (The Tenth Century: Orthodox Constructions of the West in the Golden Age of Byzantium), as some of the co-identification between Orthodoxy and "Hellenism" is, over a century after the condemnation of ethnophiletism, still plaguing parts of the Church today in various forms. I would also be interested in reading Plested's Light from the West: Byzantine Reading's of Aquinas in light of Manoussakis' lecture, The Heresy of Anti-Papism (which I would assume, from the titles, deals with a later version of a related problem). There is certainly a tendency toward refusing to consider the implications of the rationalism that developed in the West, and reconcile them with traditional patristic thought. When it comes to examinations of the Godhead, I think this is perfectly fine; it has had disastrous effects on the history of Orthodox ethics. Take, for example, the issue of artificial birth control that was dealt with recently on this forum:

Question:
What do we think about artificial birth control?
Answer: Well, it depends on who you ask, as the issue wasn't prevalently dealt with in the same way by all the fathers.
Question: Would we be willing to accept Western arguments against it?
Answer: No.
Question: Why?
Answer: Because they are Western arguments.
Question: Why should this matter?
Answer: Because that is not our tradition.
Question: Well, what would we view as an authority on the subject?
Answer: The consensus patrum.
Question: But didn't you just say it doesn't address the subject clearly?
Answer: Yes.
Question: Well then why wouldn't we accept Western rational arguments on the subject?
Answer: Because they are Western arguments... ----->

At this point Aquinas would protest: "But this cannot go on to infinity!", at which point anyone who's been paying attention to Orthodox ethics over the course of the past century would reply that it bloody well can. Until people get over the notion of something being wrong, simply because it is "Romish" (okay, I'm stealing that one from the Anglicans), Wink a great deal of productive work will remain undone in the more practical disciplines related to theology, and I think that the fathers, who dealt directly with the ethical issues of their own time, would probably agree. That said, I think a more static theology better serves the consensus patrum and the tradition of the council fathers in the fields that deal directly with the Godhead (Christological, Trinitarian, and discussions of essence/energy distinctions). Here, I do think that the systematized rationalism that developed in the West has been a problem. Still, as you can probably guess from the Plato/Aristotle thread, I think that the East would do well to take a more sympathetic approach to Augustine on this count. Granted the emanation/creation distinction can be a bit muddled when his corpus is taken as a whole, but if one is willing to work out what he actually thought, rather than what some of the possible, negative consequences of that thought might be, a great deal could be better understood ontologically. Some in the East, I think, like to read him in the context of later patristic thought, and criticize him on those grounds. When you place him in his actual historical context, however, it is much easier to be sympathetic.

Anyway, I rambled on a bit. Really all I intended to ask was where I could go to get the book, which I would assume is greatly overpriced. LOL Thanks for posting this, arch.buff.

-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 09 Jul 2010 at 15:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2010 at 20:05
Hello, Ako.
 
Oh, make no mistake, it certainly will be overpriced!LOL Unfortunately, it's probably still a bit early to tell when the book will make it's appearance, but I believe St. Vladimir's Seminary Press (http://www.svspress.com/) is going to publish it. Don't quote me on that -- they published the First Conference, Orthodox Readings of Augustine -- but I was told by some that attended the conference that they were told the papers would be published. I'll definitely announce it's arrival in this thread when I find out some more information.
 
Thanks for our thoughtful response. I sincerely hope that there are many more of your co-religionists that share your same views. If one wants to find heresy in any of the fathers, one can most definitely find it. But that's not what we as Christians -- of two respected traditions -- are really all about. The East needs the West, and the West needs the East. Schism, especially satisfied schism, is a sin in it's own class.
 
-arch.buff
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2010 at 19:16
Originally posted by arch.buff arch.buff wrote:

Hello, Ako.
 
Oh, make no mistake, it certainly will be overpriced!LOL Unfortunately, it's probably still a bit early to tell when the book will make it's appearance, but I believe St. Vladimir's Seminary Press (http://www.svspress.com/) is going to publish it. Don't quote me on that -- they published the First Conference, Orthodox Readings of Augustine -- but I was told by some that attended the conference that they were told the papers would be published. I'll definitely announce it's arrival in this thread when I find out some more information.
 
I'd definitely appreciate it; I've been looking for something to waste money on lately. Come to think of it, I should probably be looking for money to waste first. LOL
 
Quote
Thanks for our thoughtful response. I sincerely hope that there are many more of your co-religionists that share your same views. If one wants to find heresy in any of the fathers, one can most definitely find it. But that's not what we as Christians -- of two respected traditions -- are really all about. The East needs the West, and the West needs the East. Schism, especially satisfied schism, is a sin in it's own class.
 
-arch.buff
 
I think most theologians do. We do have our own little Scott Hahn contingent, although they generally spend more time obsessing endlessly about the calendar dispute and the fact that people are trying to dialogue with the Monophysites/Miaphysites than trying to usurp the magesterial prerogatives of the bishops. There are always fundamentalists in any faith; the problem is that most -- though they tend to be brighter than they are given credit for -- don't pay much attention to fundamentals. Disagreements certainly need to be made clear and recognized, but when we start defining yourself "against" something, we generally forget what you are supposed to be for. It's akin to what must have happened to people like Ann Coulter and Michael Moore, who have embraced a caricature of what their ideology is that was set forth by their political opponents (Oh yeah? You think we believe this? Well we'll believe it ever more ridiculously and angrily!).
 
-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 18 Jul 2010 at 19:16
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